New NSA document leak shows agency could collect info from mobile apps

Earlier this month, leaked National Security Agency documents provided by former contractor Edward Snowden suggested the government group could spy on computers even when they were offline. Today, even more information collected by Snoden about the NSA's programs were published by a number of media outlets, which claim the agency could be collecting personal data from mobile apps.

The documents, which were published by The Guardian, show slides of a May NSA 2010 presentation. It indicated the agency could intercept and collect data, like a person's current location, age, sex, martial status and lots more from information provided by mobile apps on their smartphone. One of the slides specifically mentioned Angry Birds, the highly popular mobile game, as an example of a source of personal information. In a statement, Angry Birds' developer Rovio said it had no "previous knowledge of this matter, and have not been aware of such activity."

The Obama Administration recently announced a new set of reforms for the NSA but Microsoft, among others, doesn't believe they go far enough. The company has called for an international convention on government access to data so a legal framework can be set up that all countries can follow.

Source: The Guardian | Image via Shutterstock

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Among many other events such as my Google, Yahoo, and Live accounts being simultaneously compromised, I watched in horror as my UEFI bios got flashed while not being connected to ANY wired or wireless network. My phones dictionary continually presented me with the names of terrorist organizations, people I'd never heard of and vulgar references also! Not to mention that what I was looking at on my phone felt like just an overlay and the real session was running from a remote location. Combine all of that with 'voices' responding in realtime to just thoughts in my head! I had not long spoken out against how I was dismayed with the current Obama administration. I went searching and had a look at http://www.DARPA.mil and it started to make sense. Using quantum principles to change the very world around someone for nefarious reasons seems to be the new big thing. Not to mention that I met an Israeli around the same time who said my life would change in a years time on September 13th 2014... This is after Gang Stalking style harassment involving a lot of SUV's, motorbikes and people.. I tell him it's freaking me out a bit; he says "I'll talk to my bosses"!! I'm still getting the voices BTW. There also was strong parliamentary debate for the pushing through of a security and surveillance interception act. I now know why 9/11 occurred and who organized it. Next phase.. Interneural communication between individuals. I thought the Quantum age was going to be incredible. I forgot about greed.

Always wandered why Angry Birds require acces to so many data on the phone...
And is not the only one who requires more permissions that it need to work.

Read the article. Apple was the first phone to be tapped. And the Power Point says "everything thats on the phone we can get."

Perhaps you did this but unless everyone wants to live as hermits, cut off from the rest of the world and all modern conveniences, there's no way out.

the developer may not know at Rovio, but it may also mean that one of the developers at Rovio works at NSA.
I recall awhile ago, there was presentation on NSA, which has 100% success rate in remotely accessing iOS. My first thought is, at least one of the Apple employees is moonlighting for NSA (or more like NSA employee moonlighting at Apple, depends on where his/her loyalty lies)
If you ask me back in 2007 if I would have believed it, I can tell you "woah! you are crazy! No way!" But while working at Microsoft in 2007, a developer from Windows division jokingly chatted about how rogue NSA agent can come in to the office on weekend when no one is around, check in some code for TCP/IP or some low level stuff and erase the check in histories..walk out the door without a trace. My response was "yeah right! you are crazy!" but given how years ago, when the news of Russian spys getting deported, one of the Russian spys was working at Microsoft at the time. So...I have to wonder.. conspiracy...

Edited by ThunderRiver, Jan 28 2014, 1:44am :

This article years ago would provoke outrage, now we seem to be normalised to it. the comments suggesting this is to expected and its obvious, sorry but it shouldn't be and if it is obvious then why are things selling so well, do we (majority) simply not care, have we become George Orwells 'proles'?

Because in general (and who can blame them?) people everywhere have become extremely cynical about how much their elected governments really work for them instead of, say, for themselves or for Big Business (often owned by those same politicians). Even when the issue is fresh in people's minds and they are outraged, what changes exactly do you see happening despite any protests? Not to mention the fact that "it's all being done to keep you safe" makes most people pipe down for fear of being perceived as unpatriotic, no matter the excesses shielded by that banner.

We hear negative news daily and unfortunately when it never abates we become inured to it. The people responsible and in power also rely on this for that matter. Initially I'm sure the NSA wouldn't have wanted its activities publicized so much, but now they must be welcoming all the daily articles. They know slowly it'll become the new normal (if it hasn't already) and people will mostly go about their lives as before with no further comment or thought about further erosion of privacy (the right to which is anyway not explicitly mandated by the US constitution).

Edited by Romero, Jan 28 2014, 3:13pm :

duddit2 said,
This article years ago would provoke outrage, now we seem to be normalised to it.

It isn't that we're used to it, but rather that reasons for outrage have become commonplace, especially from the government. Unfortunately you can only be constantly outraged for so long before it wears you out.

Cellphones are tracking devices. The NSA can listen in on any cellphone without a phone call actually taking place. The phone can be laying on the kitchen counter while your having dinner with the NSA listening. No digital communication is secure!

It may not be surprising to many but it underlines the deeper problem that either people don't know or don't care about the degree to which they are been tracked and monitored.

Like duh. That said confirmation like this is always helpful.

If you put it on the wire no matter how carefully you should assume the NSA or related five-eyes agencies have it.

Most of this these days you can pull from anyone on a social networking site really.....

For most people if you have nothing to hide none of this really matters anyways. There aren't enough people working for the NSA to spy on everyone. There are just enough I think to spy on the ones that matter.I don't approve, but I get it.

Tarrant64 said,
Most of this these days you can pull from anyone on a social networking site really.....

For most people if you have nothing to hide none of this really matters anyways. There aren't enough people working for the NSA to spy on everyone. There are just enough I think to spy on the ones that matter.I don't approve, but I get it.

Right, so lets say a new regime comes into power and decides that something you do is illegal. How do you think they would use these powers? You can't just say "if you have nothing to hide none of this matters" because who is to decide whether you've done something worth hiding? The NSA? I hope not because that gives them scary amounts of power.

M4x1mus said,

You can't just say "if you have nothing to hide none of this matters" because who is to decide whether you've done something worth hiding?
Can't tell you how much I agree with you, and how stupid this oft-quoted "defence" is. Talk about a slippery slope.

It doesn't matter if I'm "doing anything wrong" or not. Government and police are not legally supposed to wiretap without reasonable cause and a warrant. This is effectively a form a wire tapping, so should be illegal. Should.

But constitutional rights are irrelevant these days. The government is taking far more power than it's supposed to these days.

92GTA said,
...and drum roll......no one is surprised

No doubt!

As far as on a phone, I'd be willing to bet EVERYTHING is traceable.

92GTA said,
...and drum roll......no one is surprised
Absolutely. Given how so many apps are anyway reported to contain spyware, it's a given that the NSA would have its hand in the jar too.

I always thought this was a given, and not being a wise ass when I say that, but out of any device that we carry around on a daily basis, I would think the cell phone is the most conducive to "tracking" since it is pretty much a GPS in our pocket already.