Apr 16, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon
Technology

NSA Uses Social Apps on Cell Phones to Spy, Hacks 'Angry Birds'

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The National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK government's spy agency GCHQ are hacking into various smartphone apps, including the game "Angry Birds" and Google Maps, to get users' private information.

The Guardian reports that top secret documents, provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, show that some apps may share such private information as sexual orientation.

However, most smartphone owners are unaware that this private info is being shared across web by the NSA and GCHQ.

Rovio, the company that created Angry Birds, denied knowing that the NSA or GCHQ were hacking its apps.

"Rovio doesn't have any previous knowledge of this matter, and have not been aware of such activity in 3rd party advertising networks," Saara Bergstrom, Rovio's VP of marketing and communications, told The Guardian. "Nor do we have any involvement with the organizations you mentioned [NSA and GCHQ]."

Pro-Publica.org notes that one NSA document from May 2010 is titled "Golden Nugget!" and states "Target uploading photo to a social media site taken with a mobile device. What can we get?"

The NSA answers its own question by listing: image, email, phone, buddy lists, home country, age, gender, zip code, martial status, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education level, and number of children.

An user's global location can be found by the NSA and GCHQ by intercepting Google Maps queries made on cell phones.

In response to the story, the NSA released a statement to The New York Times:

NSA does not profile everyday Americans as it carries out its foreign intelligence mission. Because some data of U.S. persons may at times be incidentally collected in NSA's lawful foreign intelligence mission, privacy protections for U.S. persons exist across the entire process.

Sources: The New York Times, Pro-Publica.org, The Guardian


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