What NSA can learn from your “Angry Birds” app

According to secret documents released by Edward Snowden, certain cellphone apps–including the popular game “Angry Birds”– are “leaky,” allowing the NSA to tap into your smartphone and its treasure trove of information about you.

From Reports: NSA pries info from ‘Angry Birds,’ other apps, in USA Today:

U.S. and British spy agencies have been exploiting “Angry Birds” and other so-called leaky smartphone apps to collect users’ personal information, including sexual orientation and preferences, according to documents taken by former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.

The agencies have also snagged address books, buddy lists and phone logs, and swiped location information from Google Maps when photos are posted to social media sites.

Since 2007, the National Security Agency and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters have been siphoning details provided by users or transmitted by their phones, the previously secret files published Monday by the Guardian, The New York Timesand ProPublica revealed.

The Guardian writes that depending on the particular “profile information” a user supplied, “the documents suggested, the agency would be able to collect almost every key detail of a user’s life: including home country, current location (through geolocation), age, gender, zip code, martial status – options included ‘single,’ ‘married.’ ‘divorced,’ ‘swinger’ and more – income, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education level, and number of children.”

Previous files passed by Snowden to news outlets revealed the spy agencies’ intelligence collection on mobile phone networks, but the latest batch offers “far more details of their ambitions for smartphones and the apps that run on them,” the Times writes.

One British document included a slide for a top-secret 2010 talk that described the “Golden Nugget!”:

“Perfect Scenario — Target uploading photo to a social media site with a mobile device. What can we get?”

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


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