Journalism in the Public Interest


Podcast: What Your Smartphone Might Be Telling the NSA About You


(Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Last week, documents unveiled by ProPublica, the New York Times and the Guardian showed that the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, are not only capable of accessing your metadata but also capturing information sent by applications on your smartphone.

These “leaky apps” – which include Google Maps, Facebook and Angry Birds – are valuable tools in the NSA’s arsenal. They can reveal a smartphone user’s gender, income, location, political leanings and even whether that person is a “swinger,” according to secret British intelligence documents.

ProPublica’s Jeff Larson joins the podcast this week to explain how the NSA and GCHQ are accessing your personal data and how worried consumers should be about their privacy.

You can listen to this podcast on iTunes and Stitcher. For more on this investigation, read the full story – Spy Agencies Probe Angry Birds and Other Apps for Personal Data – and our FAQ.

Disable Maps when not using. Don’t play games while WIFI/wireless is on, and just plain do not use Facebook, ever.

Forgot: don’t ever register for anything with your real info (name, gender, birthdate, etc). I never have, and as some sites have begun requiring it, I just don’t use that site anymore. I was a longtime HuffPo reader and commenter but when they required a verified Facebook account (which requires giving your ph # to FB) to comment on articles, I cut HuffPo loose too. Don’t go there anymore, not even to read articles, and I never link to their articles on social media sites. They’re dead to me.

C P Ritter

Feb. 7, 5:35 p.m.

@Mack Disconnecting from WIFI and wireless is futile.  Data can be collected and saved for transmission later, when you do connect.
Also, if you own a cell phone (except a throw-away for which you have paid with CASH) you already have registered - with the service provider, with the credit card company, etc.

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