The US National Security Agency is reportedly able to access users’ data on all major smartphones.
The German news magazine Der Spiegel cites internal documents from the intelligence agency and its British counterpart GCHQ in which the agencies describe setting up dedicated teams to crack protective measures on iPhones, BlackBerry and Android devices.
This data includes contacts, call lists, SMS traffic, notes and location data about where a user has been.
A 2009 NSA document states that it can “see and read SMS traffic”.
It also notes there was a period in 2009 when the NSA was temporarily unable to access BlackBerry devices when it changed the way it compresses its data.
But in March 2010, an NSA department regained access to BlackBerry data and celebrated with the word, “champagne!”.
Der Spiegel says the documents do not indicate that the NSA is conducting mass surveillance of phone users but rather that these techniques are used to eavesdrop on specific individuals.
The article published on Sunday does not say how the magazine obtained the documents.
But one of its authors is Laura Poitras, an American filmmaker with close contacts to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
The latest revelations come after documents handed to The Guardian by Snowden showed the NSA had developed the capability of breaking encryption codes protecting millions of websites.