Democratic Governments Spying on Apple and Google Users Through Push Notifications

The cellphones are spying devices.

They haven’t used them for many purposes that we’ve seen yet, but presumably they are planning to.

January 6 was a big deal on this front, as we learned that it was possible and apparently legal for the government to demand location data and identify people as being in a place based on that location data.

Honestly… there’s not really even a reason to have a phone.


Unidentified governments are surveilling smartphone users via their apps’ push notifications, a U.S. senator warned on Wednesday.

In a letter to the Department of Justice, Senator Ron Wyden said foreign officials were demanding the data from Alphabet’s Google and Apple. Although details were sparse, the letter lays out yet another path by which governments can track smartphones.

Senator Ron Wyden

In a statement, Apple said that Wyden’s letter gave them the opening they needed to share more details with the public about how governments monitored push notifications.

In this case, the federal government prohibited us from sharing any information,” the company said in a statement. “Now that this method has become public we are updating our transparency reporting to detail these kinds of requests.”

Wyden’s letter cited a “tip” as the source of the information about the surveillance. His staff did not elaborate on the tip, but a source familiar with the matter confirmed that both foreign and U.S. government agencies have been asking Apple and Google for metadata related to push notifications to, for example, help tie anonymous users of messaging apps to specific Apple or Google accounts.

The source declined to identify the foreign governments involved in making the requests but described them as democracies allied to the United States.

Yeah, that would be Germany. And whoever else. But definitely Germany.

Germany isn’t really an “ally” of the United States, so much as a US colony. It’s under US military occupation and the German government can only operate with the blessing of the United States. They are prevented from making independent decisions about foreign policy, and largely prevented from formulating their own domestic policy.

People should learn about parallel construction, probably. Intelligence agencies can use the cellphone data to identify you and something you did, and then find a different explanation for how they identified you.

This has happened a lot with doxings of anon right-wingers. The explanations given for the doxing were obviously statistically impossible, or at least so improbable that they were not believable. So in reality, they were identified using ostensibly illegal spying methods, and then a different explanation was given.

CNN has done this multiple times, where it was just obvious that they were collaborating with US intelligence to dox a right-wing activist or shitposter.