Governments are surveilling Apple and Google users via their apps’ push notifications, US Senator Ron Wyden warned.
Senator Ron Wyden wrote to Department of Justice, expressing concerns about the surveillance practices involving smartphone push notifications.
He stated, “The traffic flowing from apps that send push notifications put the companies in a unique position to facilitate government surveillance of how users are using particular apps.” Wyden he wroke asking them to take action, by “repeal or modify any policies” that impede public discussions about the spying of push notification.
In a statement given to Reuters, Apple said, “In this case, the federal government prohibited us from sharing any information. Now that this method has become public we are updating our transparency reporting to detail these kinds of requests.”
Further, Apple has advised developers to avoid including sensitive data in notifications and to encrypt any data before adding it to a notification payload. Despite this guidance, the encryption of metadata, such as which apps are sending notifications and the frequency of these notifications, is not mandatory.
Meanwhile, in India, authorities are probing allegations of mobile phone hacking, targeting senior Opposition parties’ leaders. These investigations were initiated following reports of warning messages received from Apple, suggesting that these individuals were targets of state-sponsored attackers attempting to compromise their iPhones.
Over a dozen Opposition leaders and journalists received email alerts from Apple on October night, informing them that their digital devices were being targeted by “state-sponsored attackers”.