Saudi Arabia Allegedly Using Mobile Tech to Track its Citizens in US

A whistleblower is said to have provided data showing that Saudi Arabia's three largest telecom companies secretly requested information on the location of Saudi citizens in the US millions of times. The requests were reportedly made so often that they may have enabled tracking to within hundreds of meters of accuracy.  

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Arabia is believed to be secretly using American cellular networks to track its citizens in the United States, a new report says.

A whistleblower has provided data showing that Saudi Arabia's three largest telecom companies secretly requested information on the US location of their subscribers at an extremely high rate, according to The Guardian.

The whistleblower's data suggests that over a four-month period, from November 2019 to March 2020, a combined average of 2.3 million tracking requests were sent each month by Mobily, Zain and Saudi Telecom to a US mobile phone company, the report said.

The Provide Subscriber Information (PSI) requests were said to have been made via the global SS7 messaging system that mobile companies use to connect their subscribers.    

One of the Saudi companies was reported to have also sent Provide Subscriber Location (PSL) requests that were considered so suspicious that they were blocked by US telecom companies.      

Experts were quoted as saying that the requests were made so often that they may have enabled tracking to within hundreds of meters of accuracy.

According to the Guardian, it was not known whether the Saudi companies were knowingly participating in a government effort to track citizens in the US.

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