Governments Trying to Spy on Users’ Android And iOS Devices, Warns US Senator

Some governments around the world are demanding for data from Apple and Google to spy on their local citizens

Highlights
  • The Senator of Oregon highlighted a major privacy concern for the general public.
  • Some unidentified governments across the world are allegedly trying to spy on their citizens by using push notification data from iOS and Android devices.
  • The senator says that companies should notify the user if any government asks for their data by any legal obligation.
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A US Senator has warned the country’s Department of Justice that certain governments across the world are trying to spy on normal citizens using push notifications. These unidentified governments are forcing Apple and Google to reveal information that people receive on their personal smartphones, according to a Reuters report.

These allegations could be a serious breach of privacy for both Android and iOS users. The senator has further suggested that Apple and Google should notify users if a certain entity asks for their private data.

Your Push Notifications Are Being Read by Some Governments

Ron Wyden, a US Senator from Oregon, has written a letter to the Department of Justice of the United States with the claims. While the letter does not name any nation or government specifically. But the senator warns that certain foreign government officials have been trying to track the smartphones of regular citizens. As per Ron, officials have been trying to trace push notifications of apps, received by people.

The majority of applications on Android and iOS use Google’s and Apple’s servers to deliver push notifications. Although it may not contain detailed information about the user, such notifications are enough to hint at the usage pattern of the citizens.

However, both companies have not yet responded to Senator’s claim.

Some of these demands have also come through legal ways, where governments use this data for the security of their nation. The senator says that Google and Apple should remain transparent with their users and notify them when any entity asks for their data legally.

In most cases, when companies hand over the personal data of users to certain governments due to legal obligations, the entire transaction is kept confidential. The senator says that companies should release at least the statistics of the number of requests received by them, and notify users when something like this happens.

However, the senator’s letter specifically mentions Google and Apple, despite several other IT giants in the world such as Meta, Microsoft, and even Amazon. Although the general public has more exposure to Google’s and Apple’s services comparatively than the rest three, the rest three are equally significant when it comes to handling public data.

The US Department of Justice is yet to respond to the senator’s letter.