The NSA spying scandal is far from over, as new reports emerged that the U.S. intelligence gathering agency has cracked security codes protecting all major smartphones.
German weekly Der Spiegel reported that both the National Intelligence Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have set up special teams to spy on smartphone users, as part of their efforts to obtain info on any potential security threats.
The German publication quoted internal documents of both agencies, which revealed that special so far, their efforts focused on cracking the protective measures on BlackBerry, Android and iPhone devices.
Special teams were set up for each type of device and they collected information such as contacts, lists of calls, text messaging traffic, location and others. But the documents obtained by Der Spiegel do not contain any indication of mass surveillance of smartphone users. They hint that the techniques were only used to spy on specific individuals, according to the German magazine.
The documents also show how the intelligence agencies lost access to BlackBerry smartphones in May 2009, after the Canadian manufacturers began using another data compression method. But that problem was eventually solved by the GCHQ.
Der Spiegel did not explain how it obtained the secret documents. It should be noted however that one of the authors of the article is U.S. filmmaker Laura Poitras, who has close contacts with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Poitras has published several NSA related articles in the Der Spiegel over the past few weeks.
The revelations came amid growing discontent in Germany over the country’s cooperation on intelligence matters with the United States. Thousands of people staged a protest in Berlin on Saturday against the NSA’s surveillance of Internet users.