According to internal NSA documents seen by SPIEGEL, the NSA has the ability to access a lot of data on smartphones.
The agency reportedly has special task forces focusing on smartphone operating systems — specifically Apple's iOS, Android, and BlackBerry — as well as departments responsible for customized surveillance operations against high-interest targets.
A purported secret presentation leaked by Edward Snowden presents screengrabs from Apple's iconic 1984 commercial followed by pictures of Steve Jobs, saying "Who knew in 1984 ... that [Steve Jobs] would be Big Brother ... and the zombies would be paying customers?"
The implication of the presentation is that iPhone users are somehow complicit in their own surveillance by buying iPhones in the first place.
The documents mention that "location services" used by many iPhone apps are useful since most customers allow location tracking out of "convenience." The NSA has claimed that it chooses not to collect location data.
The report cites several instances in which the NSA was able to retrieve personal photos from iPhones, but states that there is no evidence of large-scale spying.
From Der Spiegel:
The material contains no indications of large-scale spying on smartphone users, and yet the documents leave no doubt that if the intelligence service defines a smartphone as a target, it will find a way to gain access to its information.
Here are the slides:
The slides also show a man in Afghanistan whose phone has purportedly been accessed.
The below images — from a presentation called "Your target is using a BlackBerry? Now what?" — shows an email from a Mexican government agency sent using BlackBerry encryption technology which was intercepted by the NSA.
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