The NSA, assisted by spy agencies of the Five Eyes alliance, comprising Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, sought to implant spyware on smartphones, distribute misinformation and gather user data as part of the project dubbed IRRITANT HORN, a new secret document revealed.
NSA and allies planned to hijack the Google Play Store to install spyware on smartphones pic.twitter.com/5Orw5U2DY0— Noussair El Assali (@noussairel) 21 мая 2015
The initiative was launched following the Arab Spring for the purpose of monitoring any similar events in the future, should they occur. The spy agencies were primarily interested in three African nations, Senegal, Sudan and Congo, according to the Intercept that analyzed the document obtained by CBC News.
Apart from Google and Samsung app stores, the agencies also planned to gather data through flaws in UC Browser, used by over 500 million people primarily in Asia.
The top secret document, detailing operation IRRITANT HORN, is part of the data leaked by former NSA employee Edward Snowden, who exposed unlawful global surveillance in June 2013 sparking international outrage.