Snowden: NSA spying through Angry Birds and other apps
America's National Security Agency and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters have been developing the ability to exploit so-called "leaky" apps such as Angry Birds that transmit users' personal data when they use their smartphones, according to a report in ProPublica published in conjunction with the Guardian and the New York Times.
A secret 20-page British report from 2012 provided by Edward Snowden stated that the spy agencies were to extract the profiles generated when Android users play smartphone apps such as Angry Birds, which are then passed to mobile ad companies. Angry Birds was created by Finnish company Rovio Entertainment and has been downloaded more than one billion times.
Most profiles contain basic data on the user including age, sex and location. Some contain additional personal information such as sexual orientation, household income, and whether the user is currently listening to music or making a call.
Another secret document leaked by Edward Snowden shows that personal data is also vulnerable when users upload photos to social media sites taken with their mobile devices. The NSA and GCHQ are reportedly able to collect user information such as location data, contact lists, websites visited and documents downloaded from the internet.
It is not clear how much of the information that can be siphoned from mobile phone apps is routinely collected, stored or searched, or how many users may be affected.
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