Rovio’s Angry Birds was just one of several applications named under scrutiny by NSA and GCHQ surveillance, but the developer has denied any involvement in the alleged data capture.
Yesterday we reported that as part of documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Angry Birds was names as one of many smartphone apps at the mercy of new surveillance techniques, which are said to monitor and collect GPS locations, contact book contents, names and other potentially sensitive information.
Rovio has since stepped forward to issue a statement on the matter and distance itself from NSA activity.
It begins, “There has been speculation in the media that NSA targets Angry Birds to collect end user data. The speculation is based on information from documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
“The alleged surveillance may be conducted through third party advertising networks used by millions of commercial web sites and mobile applications across all industries. If advertising networks are indeed targeted, it would appear that no internet-enabled device that visits ad-enabled web sites or uses ad-enabled applications is immune to such surveillance.
“Rovio does not allow any third party network to use or hand over personal end-user data from Rovio’s apps.”
CEO of Rovio Entertainment Mikael Hed added, “Our fans’ trust is the most important thing for us and we take privacy extremely seriously. We do not collaborate, collude, or share data with spy agencies anywhere in the world. As the alleged surveillance might be happening through third party advertising networks, the most important conversation to be had is how to ensure user privacy is protected while preventing the negative impact on the whole advertising industry and the countless mobile apps that rely on ad networks.
“In order to protect our end users, we will, like all other companies using third party advertising networks, have to re-evaluate working with these networks if they are being used for spying purposes.”
We’ll have more on this potential issue as it occurs. For now, do you feel that smartphones apps are being surveyed by agencies? Let us know what you think below.