Rovio Denies Any Role in NSA Spying on Angry Birds Users

MacRumors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and made public yesterday claim U.S. and UK intelligence agencies are retrieving personal data sent by mobile apps during mass surveillance sweeps.

Rovio's Angry Birds was one of the apps targeted by intelligence agencies for key profile data such as age, location and gender, and the company has now defended itself against these allegations, denying any voluntary cooperation with government agencies.
Rovio Entertainment Ltd, which is headquartered in Finland, does not share data, collaborate or collude with any government spy agencies such as NSA or GCHQ anywhere in the world.

There has been speculation in the media that NSA targets Angry Birds to collect end user data. The speculation is based on information from documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

The alleged surveillance may be conducted through third party advertising networks used by millions of commercial web sites and mobile applications across all industries. 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. Rovio does not allow any third party network to use or hand over personal end-user data from Rovio's apps.
Apple last year faced similar allegations it and other technology companies provided the NSA with backdoor access to its servers. Apple CEO Tim Cook denied these reports, saying last week the NSA "would have to cart us out in a box" in order to gain access to Apple's servers. Cook also has been vocal about increased transparency, asking the government for permission to talk about information requests from federal and law enforcement agencies.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Article Link: Rovio Denies Any Role in NSA Spying on Angry Birds Users
 

the8thark

macrumors 68040
Apr 18, 2011
3,990
837
It is standard practice to deny any illegal activities one has done.

The question, is this denial of guilt or proof of innocence? Only time and the evidence will tell.
 

AngerDanger

macrumors 601
Dec 9, 2008
4,384
19,073
If the NSA wants to watch me play Angry Birds, by all means, they can go ahead. It's every other thing the NSA watches that's unnerving.
 

H2SO4

macrumors 601
Nov 4, 2008
4,353
3,752
and the company has now defended itself against these allegations, denying any voluntary cooperation with government agencies

Says it all.........
 

UnfetteredMind

macrumors 6502
Jun 6, 2012
450
77
I'm surprised they're not taking this opportunity to tell everyone that by purchasing the paid version, they won't be at risk of government snooping (by way of monitoring the connections to the ad networks).
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,559
3,966
I believe them. I have no problem believing companies don't cooperate with these spy agencies. If they were cooperating with them, somebody would have spoken up about this a lot sooner.

That Apple and others have handed over information to officials when requested to do so is no surprise - it's always been in their terms and conditions that they will if they're required to. That's fine and legal - the government came in with a warrant. What's not legal is mass collecting info at random because it has the slimmest chance of being useful to national security.
 

LV426

macrumors 6502a
Jan 22, 2013
837
246
so for the sake of everyone's privacy, all games need to remove all ads asap!
I agree. We've got enough ads in the world as it is, and games are cheap enough to be bought with pocket money.

NB, what happens when you do make an app purchase and it turns out to be a duffer? I don't suppose you have a 2-week return window like Apple hardware purchase, but some kind of short period would surely be of benefit to consumers.
 

avanpelt

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,915
3,656
If it turns out that the NSA did, in fact, collect data from Rovio, I feel sorry for the person who had to sit and analyze that data all day long. What a boring job -- and what a colossal waste of taxpayer money.
 

Macrolido

macrumors regular
May 14, 2012
197
7
Monterrey, Mexico
If it turns out that the NSA did, in fact, collect data from Rovio, I feel sorry for the person who had to sit and analyze that data all day long. What a boring job -- and what a colossal waste of taxpayer money.
Just like the person who collect data from Facebook and finds only pics of babies and food.
 

2457282

Suspended
Dec 6, 2012
3,331
3,006
Unfortunately, the more accurate statement is that any activity that is done on the internet or through an internet connected device is subject to being "spied." We are hearing about NSA because of the leaks, but I would not be surprised that other governments are doing the same. Unless everything is encrypted (and even then its not a guarantee), there is no way to prevent your connections and habits from being tracked. And the truth is that it's not that hard. What is is hard is storing and analyzing the amount of data that flies around every day. In general, it is true that because of the volume of data, the analysis is done by software looking for patterns. So again, in general, unless you have a pattern that triggers a flag, no one will ever bother you. Still, the fact that my information is stored without my permission by countless number of governments is of concern. How many of are storing and analyzing this post right now?

Security is good, but this level of distrust of everyone is not the answer, IMHO. Actually, quite the opposite, until we can rebuild trust and tolerance between peoples and nation, security will continue to degrade regardless of all these "security" systems.
 

xStep

macrumors 68010
Jan 28, 2003
2,001
97
Less lost in L.A.
When I read the Rovio statement I tranate to mean the the information possibly mined by the NSA is being shared with advertising networks. Also they do not mention is this information is being sent to servers, including their own, in the clear. Looks to me like their just trying to push the blame into someone else.
 

SBlue1

macrumors 65816
Oct 17, 2008
1,432
1,578
If the NSA wants to watch me play Angry Birds, by all means, they can go ahead. It's every other thing the NSA watches that's unnerving.
They don't need your highscore. They are looking after your digital footprint. Where have you been. Your age. Your gender. What apps are you using. What web pages have you visited. Are there other people with similar profiles.

It's all just a peace in the puzzle.
 

iJohnHenry

macrumors P6
Mar 22, 2008
16,505
15
On tenterhooks
If it turns out that the NSA did, in fact, collect data from Rovio, I feel sorry for the person who had to sit and analyze that data all day long. What a boring job -- and what a colossal waste of taxpayer money.
Just like the person who collect data from Facebook and finds only pics of babies and food.
Wake-up Methuselahs, it's the 21st Century. ;)

Data will be collected, then interrogated via computer programs.

:p
 

ActionableMango

macrumors G3
Sep 21, 2010
9,267
6,253
age, location and gender
Why does Angry Birds need to know these things?

How is Angry Birds getting this information?

How does NSA stop terrorist attacks by knowing the ASL of Angry Birds players?
 

powerstrokin

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2013
696
1
How does NSA stop terrorist attacks by knowing the ASL of Angry Birds players?
You've been misinformed about the role of the NSA, sir.

Their job isn't to stop terrorists.

It's to BE terrorists and spy on everyone. They are but one small piece of the pie. All leading up to a completely surveilled populace the likes of which can be seen in many movies. It's all about control.

While the information coming out about the NSA and their activities is definitely something that needs to be taken seriously, the truly horrible stuff you haven't even heard about.

You're told what they want you to know. You long for safety, and they are manipulating you into believing they will protect you even from themselves. How? By controlling even more of your information of course. That way they can say "YOU wanted it, we did this for YOU."
 

mrsir2009

macrumors 604
Sep 17, 2009
7,501
156
Melbourne, Australia
How does NSA stop terrorist attacks by knowing the ASL of Angry Birds players?
The NSA doesn't stop terrorist attacks full stop. The reason why there's so few terrorist attacks is because the threat of terrorists has been hugely blown-up by the government to get you to give up your rights. In the USA you're 7 times more likely to be shot by a cop than killed by a terrorist, so you'd do better to try avoid being a victim to that than a terrorist attack.

----------

Unfortunately, the more accurate statement is that any activity that is done on the internet or through an internet connected device is subject to being "spied." We are hearing about NSA because of the leaks, but I would not be surprised that other governments are doing the same. Unless everything is encrypted (and even then its not a guarantee), there is no way to prevent your connections and habits from being tracked. And the truth is that it's not that hard. What is is hard is storing and analyzing the amount of data that flies around every day. In general, it is true that because of the volume of data, the analysis is done by software looking for patterns. So again, in general, unless you have a pattern that triggers a flag, no one will ever bother you. Still, the fact that my information is stored without my permission by countless number of governments is of concern. How many of are storing and analyzing this post right now?

Security is good, but this level of distrust of everyone is not the answer, IMHO. Actually, quite the opposite, until we can rebuild trust and tolerance between peoples and nation, security will continue to degrade regardless of all these "security" systems.
The monstrous Utah data center that the NSA has recently built should help with that.