New York Times, Guardian and ProPublic have reported that Spy Agencies Probe Angry Birds and Other Apps for Personal Data. In their globe-spanning surveillance for terrorism suspects and other targets, the National Security Agency and its British counterpart have been trying to exploit a basic byproduct of modern telecommunications: With each new generation of mobile phone technology, ever greater amounts of personal data pour onto networks where spies can pick it up. The data pouring onto communication networks from the new generation of iPhone and Android apps ranges from phone model and screen size to personal details such as age, gender and location. Some apps can contain also more sensitive information they can report.
NSA and GCHQ target ‘leaky’ phone apps like Angry Birds to scoop user data article tells that the National Security Agency and its UK counterpart GCHQ have been developing capabilities to take advantage of “leaky” smartphone apps, such as the wildly popular Angry Birds game, that transmit users’ private information across the internet, according to top secret documents. Many smartphone owners will be unaware of the full extent this information is being shared across the internet, and even the most sophisticated would be unlikely to realise that all of it is available for the spy agencies to collect.
From some app platforms, relatively limited, but identifying, information such as exact handset model, the unique ID of the handset, software version, and similar details are all that are transmitted. Other apps choose to transmit much more data. One popular mobile ad platform, Millennial Media, appeared to offer particularly rich information. Millennial Media’s website states it has partnered with Angry Birds maker Rovio; with Farmville maker Zynga; with Call of Duty developer Activision, and many other major franchises.
It seems that installing an app is always a risk. Study finds most mobile apps put your security and privacy at risk article tells that hhe average smartphone user has 26 apps installed. If recent research conducted by HP is any indication, approximately, well, all of them, come with privacy or security concerns of some sort.