Governments employ push notifications to surveil iOS and Android devices.

US Senator Ron Wyden revealed that foreign governments have sought push notification data from Google and Apple to conduct surveillance on users. While not specifying the countries involved, Wyden mentioned that the US government has prohibited Google and Apple from disclosing information on this matter.

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Wyden explained that Apple and Google, being intermediaries for push notifications, possess metadata revealing which app received notifications, when they were received, and details about the recipient’s phone and associated account. Both companies confirmed the US government’s restrictions on sharing information, prompting Apple to update transparency reporting.

The push notification system, often overlooked by users, presents a potential avenue for user surveillance as data passes through Google’s and Apple’s servers. US government agencies reportedly requested metadata related to push notifications without disclosing the foreign governments involved, citing requests from democracies allied with the United States.

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