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January 28, 2014

US and UK spy agencies exploited mobile apps to gather personal data

Mobile apps including Angry Birds among several others were exploited to collect citizens’ personal data.

By CBR Staff Writer

The US National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) have designed techniques to access mobile apps including Angry Birds among several others to collect citizens’ personal data.

Citing earlier undisclosed intelligence documents revealed by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the New York Times revealed that both spying agencies had made efforts to make use of ‘leaky’ apps that reveal individuals’ locations, age and gender in addition to other personal information.

Both the agencies have been reportedly working together on ways to gather and accumulate information from smartphone apps by 2007.

Report also revealed that agencies have employed means for gathering user location data via Google Maps and collected address books, buddy lists, phone logs and geographic data incorporated in photos posted on Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and other services, the report added.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the US surveillance agencies only gathered data on people considered a threat to the nation.

"To the extent data is collected by the NSA through whatever means, we are not interested in the communications of people who are not valid foreign intelligence targets, and we are not after the information of ordinary Americans," Carney said.

The report revealed no clear information on extent of the data collection from smartphones and how many were affected by the data gathering.

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