Edward Snowden‘s leaked documents continue to make startling revelations. Washington Post has now published a piece about one of these documents, unveiling how NSA tracks the cell phone location data of countless users worldwide.
Normally, all the agency would need to locate the position of individual users is gain access to the popular location-tracking apps. However, many users tend to uninstall or deactivate location-sharing features which makes NSA’s task harder, but only barely.
The agency collects nearly 5 billion phone records each day. Based on the information collected by cellphone towers, the agency is able to pin down the exact location of an individual user. This can be done even when the user doesn’t make a call or send a text message. The tower automatically picks up the location of a cellphone if it is within its range and this information is then made available to NSA.
The agency, as in the past, tried to play down the issue at hand by citing how it doesn’t indiscriminately spy. However, the 5 billion phone records that it collects each day tend to speak otherwise. The agency further says that it mostly monitors foreigners but the report in Washington Post reveals how millions of Americans ‘incidentally’ become a part of this monitoring operation meant for others.
The worst part of these latest revelations is that it shows how telecom companies and related contractors are fully compliant with NSA in sharing all kinds of user data. Things would be pretty much the same in an ideally Orwellian state, one can’t help notice.