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Your mobile will tell a spy almost anything he wants to know about you

The revelations about Prism, the US government’s surveillance programme, have left many smartphone owners looking warily at their devices — and rightly so. The price of convenience is that almost everything your smartphone knows about you — from your location to your contacts and your taste in music — is available to prying eyes. Companies and agencies can track it and extract information from it without it leaving your pocket. And the more advanced your smartphone, the better a spy it makes.

“If you asked GCHQ [the British listening post] or the NSA [National Security Agency, America’s spy centre] what they need to track a suspect, they would say a microphone, a GPS locator and a camera — everything that today’s smartphones have,” says Justin Cappos, a computer science professor at NYU-Poly in New York.

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