The Washington Post has another story about domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency, this time involving the use of Internet “cookies,” which collect data about and can track users’ Internet searches and sites visited. Such tracking has been used by marketers and companies to create profiles of individuals for targeted behavioral advertising, which has its own implications for individual privacy, and now the cookies are being used by the NSA. The Washington Post received information from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The Post reports:
The National Security Agency is secretly piggybacking on the tools that enable Internet advertisers to track consumers, using “cookies” and location data to pinpoint targets for government hacking and to bolster surveillance.
The agency’s internal presentation slides, provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, show that when companies follow consumers on the Internet to better serve them advertising, the technique opens the door for similar tracking by the government. The slides also suggest that the agency is using these tracking techniques to help identify targets for offensive hacking operations. Read more »