An undercover FBI operation that used a backdoor in encrypted phone software to collect data from suspected criminals has harvested the GPS coordinates of almost 4 million people across the globe, according to a new report by Wired.
The operation, which was exposed by the American Civil Liberties Union last month, involved the agency secretly exploiting vulnerabilities in Anom Technologies’ encrypted phone software to track suspects.
According to Wired, the data was then transferred to U.S. law enforcement and sent to nations with lower standards of privacy around data collection.
The ACLU said that the exploit could still be active today. “The exploit was still working when the ACLU stopped investigating in August,” said Wired.
“The intelligence community has long maintained that such exploits are temporary and only used to gather intelligence.
But the operation appears to have been open for years, according to documents obtained by Wired.”