Spy agencies in the US and the UK have developed ways to gather data from smartphone apps and use these techniques routinely, but they are struggling to make sense of their vast haul of data.
According to a report published jointly on Monday by The Guardian, The New York Times, and ProPublica, based on previously undisclosed documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the US National Security Agency and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters have been working together to access mobile app data at least since 2007.
"Since then, the agencies have traded recipes for grabbing location and planning data when a target uses Google Maps, and for vacuuming up address books, buddy lists, phone logs and the geographic data embedded in photos when someone sends a post to the mobile versions of Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and other services," the report says.
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