The NSA and British Intelligence agencies are using mobile apps and games to extract personal information. When a smart phone user opens up a game or application such as Angry Birds spy agencies lurk behind the scenes to snatch revealing data such as the player’s sex, age, location and other personal information.
Spy agencies have globe-spanning surveillance which, in addition to searching for terrorism suspects, they are exploiting a basic byproduct of modern telecommunication. As technology increases more personal data is put onto networks where spies can snag it. They agencies have also accessed phone logs, address books, buddy lists and location whenever photos are posted on social media site.
This information was leaked along with other documents by Edward Snowden, U.S. former intelligence analyst. Files leaked previously to news outlets by Snowden revealed that NSA was spying but this newest information offers greater details of their objectives for smart phones and the many apps people run on a daily basis.
People tend to laugh at those who still have Blackberry smart phones which are known for their secure site but according to reports, Androids and iPhones were the biggest tools for information. Some of these phone’s applications only transmitted limited data such as ID number, software version and handset model.
The mobile-ad platform Millennial Media was cited as offering troves of rich information. They have a special edition of Angry Birds with collaborations of Zynga, the maker of Farmville and Activision’s Call of Duty and other big named applications.
Although developers are responsible for the information generated from each application, Angry Bird’s creator Rovio said that it was not aware that spy agencies were using their app to collect user’s personal information.
The documents also mentioned other applications such as Flixster and Flickr in addition to other apps that can connect to Facebook. However there was never a mention that these developers were actively giving any spy agencies data.
The NSA maintains that it doesn’t focus on Americans, only on valid foreign intelligence targets. They are upholding their story that any data collected as a result of mass surveillance is unintentional.
President Obama announced new restrictions on NSA which would protect the privacy of Americans as well as personal communications of “friendly” foreign leaders. It seems these safeguards have overlooked the wealth of information that leaky applications provide.
The British Intelligence agency refused to comment on the matter but insists that every part of their activity was necessary, proportionate and authorized.
One document described the perfect scenario for the NSA called the “golden nugget.” This is when analysts from the NSA receive access to broader selections of information. The information exceeds the application to include documents downloaded, websites visited and networks the phone connected to.
Bruce Schneier, a security expert and technologist, believes the NSA and other spy agencies have betrayed the trust of the internet. He said the fact that the internet has been subverted in ways that people don’t understand makes it hard to trust and as a result people do not know what to trust. Schneier said the NSA’s “collect-it-all” mentality is not effective but it is the way the “intelligence” community operates.
The National Security Agency in conjunction with secret British intelligence is using mobile games and apps extract personal information. When a smart phone user opens up a game or application such as Angry Birds spy agencies lurk behind the scenes to snatch revealing data such as the player’s sex, age, location and other personal information.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)