Spies targeting passengers’ mobiles via wi-fi

US and UK spy agencies secretly listened to calls
Airline passengers’ mobile phones have been intercepted by American and British spy agencies via on-board wi-fi, without the passengers knowing about it. Calls were listened to and data taken.
Documents from US whistleblower Edward Snowden show that Air France flights were an early target of the US National Security Agency and the British GCHQ, as it was regarded as a terrorist target. The airline first launched inflight calling back in late 2007.
“The use of mobile phones with internet connections in the sky gave rise to the creation of specific programs at the NSA and GCHQ,” said newspaper Le Monde, which has access to Snowden’s archive.
By 2012, at least 27 airlines allowed the use of mobile phones on board, including Lufthansa, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Cathay Pacific and Aeroflot.
But Air France was “such a symbol of the surveillance of communications on board airlines that the British spy agency used a drawing of one of their planes to illustrate how the interception worked”.
Air France told Le Monde: “We are visibly not the only ones to have been targeted and we know absolutely nothing about these practices.”
According to the report, data was collected “almost in real time” while planes cruised above 10,000 feet. Secret stations on the ground intercepted mobile signals as they went via satellite.


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