An investigation by The Wall Street Journal (£) reveals how data brokers buy information from mobile phone ads and sell it to government contractors for surveillance purposes. Several data brokers and advertising exchanges were identified who were transferring the data from apps to the US Defense Department and intelligence agencies via Near Intelligence (NI), an India-based company with offices in the US and France.
NI had contracts with government contractors who then passed the data to US intelligence agencies and military commands. The company was obtaining data from numerous advertising exchanges and claimed to have data about over a billion devices. Privacy, legal, and compliance specialists inside NI warned the company’s leadership that it didn’t have permission to save real-time bidding data and resell it this way. In one internal communication, NI’s chief privacy officer, Jay Angelo, called the transfer of European Union data a “massive illegal data dump,” adding that the US federal government “gets our illegal EU data twice per day.”
The article reports NI’s leadership failed to act on those warnings.
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