The Helsinki Times is reporting today that Nokia has been leaking data from Finnish users’ Lumia phones to overseas servers, namely those owned by Microsoft. Microsoft is believed to be one of the first, if not the first, companies to voluntarily get on board with the NSA’s PRISM program. It’s important to note that the Finnish government, including the Prime Minister, embraced Nokia’s new line of phones and that’s when the leaks began.
Finns launch investigation against Nokia
“Nokia’s top management has known since spring 2011 that Lumia’s operating system transmits a great deal of information about the phone’s user to Microsoft,” the Helsinki Times reported. “The company, however, has kept quiet about it, because the matter is embarrassing.”
That all changed when Snowden’s revelations surfaced last year. They alerted Finnish officials to Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) (BIT:NOK1V) (HEL:NOK1V)’s potential involvement.
Nokia, in a very measured way, denied the allegations once the investigation cooled down.
“Nokia is not aware that those kinds of functionalities or components, which enable the revealing of the user’s private information to outsiders without the knowledge of the user, would have intentionally been installed into its products sold in Finland,” said a response from Ilkka Rahnasto, Nokia’s VP of Legal and Intellectual Property, upon receipt of a third request.
Not content with taking Nokia’s word for it, The Helsinki Times conducted its own tests and determined that the Lumia phone they used was constantly dumping data to outside servers.
Paper conducts its own test
“According to information received from the base station, the phone continuously ‘talks’ with many servers located abroad, unbeknownst to the user. The user does not see any of this,” the paper explained.
“In the test, it became clear that if the Nokia phone is using settings suggested by the operating system, the phone circulates the browser’s data transfer through Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s proxy server located in the United States. Only after that can the phone get connected to a Finnish web address. In other words, Microsoft can, when it wants to, monitor what pages the Finnish user visited.”
Finnish user? Read Finnish government. The newspaper is also implying that banking information was not routed to Microsoft but rather directly to the NSA.