NSA targeted Angry Birds for user data collection, claims report

Snowden leaks reveal government agencies snooped 'leaky' smartphone apps

US and UK government intelligence agencies targeted Angry Birds among a number of 'leaky' smartphone for the mass collection of private user data.

So reports The Guardian, citing top-secret documents it acquired via former CIA employee and NSA contractor Edward Snowden.


According to the report, the NSA its UK counterpart GCHQ have secretly targeted popular iPhone and Android games and apps in a bid to scoop up masses of user data as it passes between users' devices to online servers.

Personal data transmitted by these apps, usually for the use of publishers and advertisement platforms, could include the device make, model and its unique ID code, as well as more user-specific data including age, gender, location, email address, IP-address, user names and passwords.

Angry Birds maker Rovio, which has seen over a billion Angry Birds downloads, has denied all knowledge of government snooping.

"Rovio doesn't have any previous knowledge of this matter, and have not been aware of such activity in 3rd party advertising networks," said Rovio VP of marketing and communications Saara Bergström to The Guardian.

"Nor do we have any involvement with the organizations you mentioned [NSA and GCHQ]," they added.

Rovio's privacy policy states that the firm "collects, stores, and uses your personal information as a data controller in connection with and in order to provide and develop Rovio's products, mobile applications, services and websites".

This is the latest report stemming from last year's Snowden leaks, which sparked controversy over the sharing of user data from the world's biggest software companies (Apple, Google, Microsoft et al) with government agencies.

Microsoft came under significant scrutiny regarding its privacy policies. In July 2013 it was reported that Microsoft supplied email and Skype details to the NSA. The corporation said it was legally bound to not discuss the matter openly. It later denied all knowledge of the alleged government surveillance of Xbox Live activity.