Angry Birds, Candy Crush, Google+, Pinterest used to spy on you: reports

A new report co-produced by the The New York Times, The Guardian, and ProPublica recently revealed that spy agencies have been developing capabilities to exploit “leaky” smartphone applications to gather intelligence on individuals.

The publications specifically mention Angry Birds as target of the the efforts of the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

However, a follow-up report from Bloomberg which cites an analyst at Zscalar Inc named a number of other smartphone apps that are “leaky”.

The app for Google+, the search giant’s own social network, Pinterest, and Candy Crush Saga are among the apps intelligence agencies are targeting, the report said.

Even when applications take pains to encrypt user data, however, there are concerns that the online advertising networks transfer personal data at the disposal of the application in clear text over the Internet anyway.

Apps such as Angry Birds use ad networks to generate revenue from the free versions of their software.

In a statement carried in a follow-up story on The Guardian, Rovio, the company behind the popular Angry Birds game, said it will re-evaluate its relationship with advertising networks.

Rovio went on to call for an industry-wide discussion on how to address the danger of leaking personal information without damaging the business model many mobile apps rely on.

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Angry Birds, Candy Crush, Google+, Pinterest used to spy on you: reports