Governments spying on Apple and Google users via push notifications

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden warns the Justice Department.
21 December 2023
Image by CyberBeat

U.S Senator Ron Wydenhas alerted the Justice Department that foreign governments are spying on Apple and Google phone users through push notifications.

Last year, his office received information that foreign government agencies were "demanding" push notification records from the tech giants.

Push notifications are pop-up messages on lock and home screens that notify users about new messages, updates, breaking news, and app updates.

As these notifications go through Apple and Google's servers, the companies have a unique ability to facilitate government surveillance of user app activity, according to Wyden, who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Wyden emphasises that Apple and Google can be secretly compelled by governments to hand over this information. He calls on the Justice Department to repeal or modify policies that limit transparency.

According to Reuters, foreign and U.S. government agencies have requested metadata from push notifications, including information that links pseudonymous app users to specific Apple or Google accounts, as reported by a source.

- CyberBeat


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