Snowden latest: NSA stalks the human race using Google, ad cookies By Iain Thomson
12 December 2013 — The Register
Every single day, every word you say, every game you play, they’ll be watching you
The already strained relationship between Google and the NSA has got a little bit worse, after claims in the latest Snowden leak that intelligence agencies are using the Chocolate Factory’s cookies to track targets.
Documents seen by the Washington Post show that the NSA and the British snoops at GCHQ have found a way to piggyback on a Google tracking cookie dubbed PREFID. This doesn’t contain personal data, but does contain an identifier unique to each browser, so by subverting the Google code a particular user can be easily identified in a large data dump.
You just don’t pick up PREFID cookies if you’re a Gmail or Google+ user, they’re included in everything from simple search requests to websites that have a link to Mountain View’s mapping of social networking system. As such, most internet users will have one somewhere.