January 29, 2014
Angry Birds Creator Denies Sharing User Data With NSA
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Rovio Entertainment, creators of the popular Angry Birds games franchise, said on Tuesday that it does not share user data, or collude or collaborate with any government spy agencies such as the NSA or Britain’s GCHQ.
The Espoo, Finland-based firm issued the statement a day after the disclosure of new documents from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden which suggest that the NSA and the GCHQ are tapping “leaky” smartphone apps to capture personal information about users.
The documents specifically refer to apps such as Angry Birds, Google Maps and mobile versions of Facebook, Twitter, and other services.
But in its statement, Rovio said that any leaking of customer data is being facilitated by third-party advertising networks.
“The alleged surveillance may be conducted through third party advertising networks used by millions of commercial web sites and mobile applications across all industries,” the company said.
“If advertising networks are indeed targeted, it would appear that no internet-enabled device that visits ad-enabled web sites or uses ad-enabled applications is immune to such surveillance.”
Online advertising networks of the type used by app developers typically rely on personal data to better target their ads. But such personal data is also valuable to spy agencies.
However, Rovio said it does not allow any third party network to use or hand over personal end-user data from its apps.
"Our fans' trust is the most important thing for us and we take privacy extremely seriously," said Rovio chief executive Mikael Hed.
Hed suggested that Rovio would re-examine its existing ad partners to determine if they are the target of any government spying.
"In order to protect our end users, we will, like all other companies using third party advertising networks, have to re-evaluate working with these networks if they are being used for spying purposes," he said.