'BADASS' surveillance program let British, Canadian governments spy on smartphones

More information about government surveillance has come to light, and it seems that the British and Canadian governments apparently used special software filters to acquire sensitive smartphone user data from the servers of a number of advertising and analytics companies. The program, called BADASS, gathered unencrypted data sent to the companies from iPhones and other devices. The data collected by these companies can give whoever is looking at it a lot of information about individual users.

From The Intercept:

Programmers frequently embed code from a handful of such companies into their smartphone apps because it helps them answer a variety of questions: How often does a particular user open the app, and at what time of day? Where does the user live? Where does the user work? Where is the user right now? What's the phone's unique identifier? What version of Android or iOS is the device running? What's the user's IP address? Answers to those questions guide app upgrades and help target advertisements, benefits that help explain why tracking users is not only routine in the tech industry but also considered a best practice.

You can read the full story at The Intercept.

Source: The Intercept

Joseph Keller is the former Editor in Chief of iMore. An Apple user for almost 20 years, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac.

1 Comment
  • Some of this can be mitigated by using the privacy settings in a rational way. For instance lots and lots of apps that use location as part of their deal, tend to want access to GPS 24/7 when they don't really need it. These apps typically have a setting to access GPS, "only when in use," but most are too lazy to bother with toggling the setting or don't want to think about it.