Who would have thought that Google's cookies, which have been the subject of numerous privacy debates, will be used by the NSA to zero in on suspects.
Criticisms hurled at the NSA for its surveillance practices are not yet over. The Washington Post reports that the agency also tapped on Google's advertising cookies to zero in on suspected individuals.
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The presentation slides specifically mentioned the PREF cookie, adding that the NSA's Special Source Operations (SSO) division is sharing the acquired information with the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division - another NSA division that engages in hacking operations. The slides also reveal that the information was shared with U.K.'s intelligence agency, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
However, the Washington Post said that it was not clear how the NSA obtained Google's PREF cookies. Google's involvement was also unclear. In a response to the Post's report, an NSA spokesman said that the agency "uses intelligence tools to understand the intent of foreign adversaries and prevent them from bringing harm to innocent Americans."
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Source: Washington Post