News |

Foreign press: Angry Birds apps may be used for spying

According to information leaked by whistle blower Edward Snowden to the Guardian and the New York Times, Angry Birds and other smartphone apps may have been targeted by the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart for user data.

Henkilö pelaa kännykällä.
Potential data collection by the NSA from smartphone apps such as the popular game Angry Birds include age, gender and location. Image: Yle

Top secret documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden to the media indicate that the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US and its UK counterpart Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have been developing capabilities that allow them to take advantage of so-called leaky smartphone apps such as the popular Angry Birds game as they transmit users' private information across the internet.

Potential data collection from the new generation of iPhone and Android apps can include personal details such as age, gender and location.

Dozens of classified documents, provided to the Guardian newspaper by Snowden and reported in partnership with the New York Times and independent not-for-profitt newsroom ProPublica, detail the NSA and GCHQ efforts to use this commercial data collection for their own purposes.

"Exploiting phone information and location is a high-priority effort for the intelligence agencies, as terrorists and other intelligence targets make substantial use of phones in planning and carrying out their activities, for example by using phones as triggering devices in conflict zones. The NSA has cumulatively spent more than $1bn in its phone targeting efforts," reports the Guardian.

According to the documents, one of the best sources of information for intelligence gathering has been the Millennial Media mobile advertising platform, which has worked with Rovio, the Finnish company that created Angry Birds.

In an interview with the Guardian, a Rovio representative said that they had no knowledge of any programmes looking to extract data from its apps users. "Rovio doesn't have any previous knowledge of this matter and have not been aware of such activity in third party advertising networks," said Saara Bergström, Rovio's VP of marketing and communications.

Latest in: News

Headlines

News

Defense Minister Haglund: Credible defense forces cannot be built alone

Carl Haglund.

At present, small states' defense budgets are ever increasing yet, despite this, stocks of military equipment are neither sufficient nor consist of what they should. The recent broadening of the NATO member state agreement and peacetime partnership arrangements with other nations is a clear example of the trend towards cooperation, according to Finnish Defense Minister Carl Haglund, and Finland shouldn't baulk at jumping on the international cooperation bandwagon.

News

Final deadline looms for mega car showroom project

The ambitious car showroom project envisioned by a Finnish businessman faces its last major hurdle as the final deadline for paying for the proposed site approaches. City leaders in Hämeenlinna have given businessman Markku Ritaluoma until the end of Tuesday to pay the 8.4 million euros due for the purchase of the building site. Ritaluoma was relying on a windfall investment of 35 million euros from the widow of a former Zambian president to help bankroll the project.

Our picks

Latest

Muualla Yle.fi:ssä