Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) is sounding the alarm on yet another government surveillance technique.
To be honest, I have never viewed the seemingly harmless push notification as a threat, who would, they’re just alerts on your home screen, right?
For those who don’t know, push notifications are those little alerts on your smartphone informing you of everything from a new text to your friends commenting on your social media profile.
Every single app features push notifications that you can enable or disable and many aren’t even useful, though some are crucial.
This is enormously different from what most people imagine and what we are all used to—like the notifications on earlier versions of Mac and Windows PCs that are typically generated on the computer itself.
What makes this even worse is that these push notifications can contain sensitive user data such as location and anything typed on the screen in certain cases.
Both Apple and Google are under enormous pressure from governments to hand over this push notification data, and I want to stress that it isn’t just foreign governments trying to get their hands on this information.
The U.S. federal government, always being one to spy and pry, likely already has this data and if they don’t already have it you can bet they have requested it.
Always remember that D.C. is filled with the likes of people like Nikki Haley, an out-of-touch woman who doesn’t want you to be anonymous on the internet.
She is the rule in D.C., not the exception. Take a look at Senator Wyden’s letter below:
Premier technology magazine WIRED explained:
App developers deliver push notifications using Apple’s Push Notification Service on iOS or Google’s Firebase Cloud Messaging on Android.
Each user of an app is assigned a “push token,” which is transferred between the app and the mobile operating system’s push notification service.
Push tokens are not permanently assigned to a single user, and new tokens may be generated when a person reinstalls an app or switches to a new device.
Multiple outlets including Bloomberg, Reuters, and MacRumors all confirmed what would have been thought a mere conspiracy theory not too long ago.
Apple and Google confirm they’ve been forced by governments to provide data on push notifications sent to iPhones and Android devices https://t.co/hwvowgw9kk
— Mark Gurman (@markgurman) December 6, 2023
🤯 While a narcotized populace is sparring online about trivial nonsense and distracted by current events, big tech is handing over data to governments for https://t.co/OU1dPdGBll Confirms Governments Using Push Notifications to Surveil Users – MacRumors https://t.co/sloO9N0tiZ
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) December 6, 2023
Unidentified governments are surveilling smartphone users via their apps' push notifications, Senator Ron Wyden warned https://t.co/3NdpNlSHOk
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 7, 2023
Wyden did not specify which governments have asked Apple and Google for push notification records.
The senator’s office did not offer additional comment and directed CNBC to the letter.