New NSA documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden suggest that the US intelligence agency is making use of cookies, the technology designed to help advertisers track audiences, to pinpoint surveillance targets and their activity across the Web.

The latest leak — published by the Washington Post — comes courtesy of a presentation slide that suggests cookies are also used to assist with ‘remote exploitation’ (hacking) initiatives.


Privacy advocates have long raised concerns of cookie-based tracking and the levels of access possible — highlighted by the record FTC fine handed to Google last year for misuse — but the fact that the technology is used for government surveillance brings more pressing concerns over how cookies are used and regulated.

Google declined to comment on the report, but the company is a founding member of the Reform Government Surveillance group, which launched this week.

NSA uses Google cookies to pinpoint targets for hacking [Washington Post]

Images via Washington Post and Shutterstock