Edward Snowden has been leaking various confidential U.S. government documents since last summer, but a new document, reported on by The New York Times and other publications, shows that the NSA has been scouring your iPhone and Android apps for personal data. Many popular apps including Angry Birds, Twitter, Google Maps, and Facebook were all mentioned in the report, so if you’re a user of one or all of these apps (which I can almost guarantee you are), you might want to read on.
The N.S.A. and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters were working together on how to collect and store data from dozens of smartphone apps by 2007, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. Since then, the agencies have traded recipes for grabbing location and planning data when a target uses Google Maps, and for vacuuming up address books, buddy lists, phone logs and the geographic data embedded in photos when someone sends a post to the mobile versions of Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and other services.
As expected, Rovio, the developer of Angry Birds as mentioned in the leaked documents, is completely unaware of any of the activity mentioned. The other companies mentioned, including Apple and Google, haven’t yet made a statement in response to this leak.
Tim Cook, though, made clear in a recent ABC interview that Apple will be pushing congress for more transparency.
Number one, we need to be significantly more transparent. We need to say what data is being given, how many people it affects, how many accounts are affected, we need to be clear. And we have a gag order on us right now so we can’t say those things… .Much of what has been said isn’t true. There is no backdoor. The government doesn’t have access to our servers. They would have to cart us out in a box for that, and that just will not happen. We feel that strongly about it.