The Conversation

NSA Uses Google Tracking Cookies to Spy on Potential Targets

A new information leak from Edward Snowden reveals that the NSA is using Google's tracking cookies to identify targets for government hacking. The Washington Post reports that Snowden's documents "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."

These tracking cookies allow a website to identify a user's browser, but do not contain any personal information.  "This cookie allows NSA to single out an individual's communications among the sea of Internet data in order to send out software that can hack that person's computer."

The slides released by Snowden do not say how the government accesses Google's tracking cookies, "but other documents reviewed by the Post indicate that cookie information is among the data NSA can obtain with a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act order."


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