Angry Birds dev: We don't work with government spy agencies

Rovio says it "does not share data, collaborate, or collude with any government spy agencies."

After secret government documents yesterday showed that American and British spy agencies have the ability to spy on you through apps like Angry Birds, the game's creator has come out to say it does not work with these government agencies in any way.

"Rovio Entertainment Ltd, which is headquartered in Finland, does not share data, collaborate, or collude with any government spy agencies such as [National Security Agency] or [Britain's Government Communications Headquarters] anywhere in the world," Rovio said on its website today.

The documents, leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to The New York Times, show that spy agencies don't target apps like Angry Birds themselves, but rather third-party advertising networks featuring Angry Birds user data. This means all Internet-connected apps, not just Angry Birds, are potential targets, Rovio 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," Rovio said. "Rovio does not allow any third-party network to use or hand over personal end-user data from Rovio's apps."

One reason the NSA and GCHQ may have targeted Angry Birds is because the game is a massive hit, with over 2 billion downloads to date and 200 million players per month.

Rovio CEO Mikael Hed explained that ensuring the trust of Angry Birds players is "the most important thing for us," noting that Rovio takes privacy concerns "extremely seriously." As a result of these revelations, Hed said a review of the company's business arrangements with such advertising networks is in order.

"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," Hed said.

The uncovered secret spy agency documents, importantly, show only that government agencies have the capability to snoop in this manner, but it's not clear how prevalent the practice might be or if any terrorist plots have been thwarted as a result.

Written By

Want the latest news about Angry Birds Go!?

Angry Birds Go!

Angry Birds Go!

Discussion

69 comments
gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

Yeah but last week, Eddie reported that Rovio does work with the NSA.  

So who am I to believe- Eddie or Eddie?

Someguy1212
Someguy1212

Because they work directly with Obummer.

meado55
meado55

the problem is they did what they did without informing the government, not even the secret hearings set up for such things. Had they asked they would would have been granted permission and they know that. They had something to hide, if you have any kind of understanding of the history of such agencies and those in power you'll already know that they, to be blunt, are sickos and the cancer at the heart of humanity.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

I notice that the leaks mentioned that spy agencies target vulnerabilities in apps to spy on people that they suspect (and they suspect a LOT of people apparently), but nowhere did I make the connection that Rovio is somehow working for the spy agencies.

Maybe some of you ought to review your own comments and wonder whether it's your despise that's making you say what you said.

With that said, I doubt that you would be so eager to say such things if the next Snowden leak mentioned that spy agencies are targeting software of companies with much better public image, e.g. the NSA also happened to be looking at exploiting Valve's Steam.

deadpen
deadpen

If you have something in your hand and it is not a book made out of paper then the nsa is watching you. Companies do not have to work for, help out, or allow them to do anything they just do it.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

News flash, everything you do online that's not encrypted can be monitored by governments, corporations, and criminals.  I swear someone people would be outraged by finding out that their public Facebook posts and tweets can be read by strangers.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

sure you do! You just don't know it!


The best part about all this; Snowden can say almost anything he wants now and the US's credibility is so damaged, no one would question him at this point... Granted he can't come up with anything crazier...

GrayF0X786
GrayF0X786

nice, i will now go purchase angry birds on the playstation store which is currently listed for £30

blackothh
blackothh

if everyone would just assume the government is just watching everyones every move no matter who or what medium, then we could get this over with and move on the the next topic of argument

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

From now on when we'll see some crazy paranoid in a movie talking about conspiracy and state secrets we will think: This guy is sane and everybody else is blind and naïve!

aci808
aci808

Conspiracy theorists fall into the same category as console fanboys and PC elitists, delusional morons who think they're brilliant. Guys, stop talking about topics that you have absolutely no knowledge of. Go back to your mom's basement and play your super awesome PC.

LOXO7
LOXO7

Yeah, we know you don't work on record for the governments, but that still doesn't mean that they stop working with you.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

They're all the same.

"We didn't know anything..."

Squeeze them by the balls a little:

"We don't agree with none of that, and we don't cooperate"

A little more:

"We cooperate but we didn't have any choice"

Some more:

"Ok, well we asked for it but it's for your own good. We are not liars, we're just misunderstood."


Cellpwn
Cellpwn

That's exactly what a game company who works with government spy agencies would say.

snugglebear
snugglebear

Then why did a robin fly through my window with a microcamera snapping pictures of secret documents?! Explain that! Or why I was looking at secret documents in a room with open windows!

mr_nee
mr_nee

Yeah, no matter what security measures MS has installed on xbone, NSA will be able to get data xbone collected on you or even watch you live if they want to. There's really no way to stop them :)

aci808
aci808

Here come all the conspiracy theorists with their trailer park ideas about why the government sucks.

chatphon
chatphon

what if i tell you : they already pu a spy in Developer already, did they accept any new employee in the last 2-3 years? lol just my imaginary.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

And some people are called "nuts" for worrying about being spied through the Bone....

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Uh, you don't have to work with them.  According to the papers they could get into the data because of your implementation of 3rd party advertising in the app which allowed data leaks.


So if you don't want to help give data over to the NSA, turn off the ads.  Gonna do that, Angry Birds Dev?

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@Gelugon_baat

"the NSA also happened to be looking at exploiting Valve's Steam."

In terms of priority I think we should worry about their main sources of information: mainly backdoors in Windows, Linux and, on a lesser level, Apple's computers (because of numbers, not OS). Plus major security flaws on the internet, for which we can thank them btw. Then backdoors on so-called 'smart' phones, tablets and so on. Also major backdoors in all financial institutions so they can check money movements (if only it could serve to get to the many who hides money in fiscal paradises but hey no... can't touch the vermin at the top).

The rest is pretty much cherries on the cake. Either there to divert attention or to give a little extra edge. Not that we shouldn't worry btw, like we should anytime the state puts his eyes in people's panties (for their own good, of course ;-))

schu
schu

@chibi-acer 


Have you followed anything? The NSA has its hands in the guts of encryption as well. Nothing is safe currently. New things will have to be created.

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@blackothh

I guess if everyone assumed we're on the verge of being stabbed, stolen or raped we could get this over with and move to the next topic. Ok, so what's the next topic?

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

@SpicaAntares If they're going to worry about that they should be worry about the 3DS, it has Wi-Fi, a mic, and 3D cameras.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@SpicaAntares 

I am not so concerned about national security nutjobs trying to snoop - or rather, I am already resigned to the likelihood that they will try to probe any possible vulnerability.

What I am posing above is that Rovio's response doesn't sound so convincing to some people because Rovio already poses a poor image in their eyes. I doubt that the same people would be cynical if it was some other company with much better public image than Rovio's.

Zloth2
Zloth2

@schu@chibi-acer New things already WERE created.  The NSA can't break a big PGP key.  We had them a decade ago and a few email systems were starting to incorporate it but the public didn't care enough to keep pushing for it.

aci808
aci808

Because that's a fair comparison. Freedom isn't free. I couldn't care less. Not a single freedom has been taken from me. None of this bullshit has impacted my life even in the slightest. Despite what crybaby liberals will tell you. Go live in Russia, piss off.

KotomineKirei
KotomineKirei

@aci808

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

SpicaAntares
SpicaAntares

@---Cipher---@aci808

From my point of view where there is secrets there are lies, period. History as shown us that secrets are there to shield the state from the eyes of the public, to hide their crimes, nothing more. If the public was aware of them and was asked if they agree on torture, murders, kidnapping, otherwise treating people like animals and caging them because they resisted some foreign country invading their own country or some other stupid reason, then they would say it's unfair. We have people at Guantanamo caged for years because a neighbor wanted one's wife or one's goat and denounced them to the invaders, us. And so on...

And how about all these foreign torture centers around the world the CIA planted because they knew that if they brought foreigners on American soil they would have to obey law. The criminals at the top don't want to obey any law, that's why secrets are important to them and most presidents would be prosecuted for war crimes and crimes against humanity if they subjected themselves to international laws.

Obama himself is responsible for over 3000 state-sponsored murders with his drones he likes so much.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

@aci808So you forgot about the 4th amendment? The problem, at least for me, isn't that it's being abused right now, it's that there doesn't seem to be any control in place to prevent it from being abused tomorrow. Also, your taxpayer dollars has been spent on this program which has looked into every nook and crevice on the internet and had little to no effect on our ability to stop anything. We had enough information to stop several attacks in the past and our spy agencies didn't use it. Why would giving them more information have any better effect other than to spend more money on a useless project?

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

@SpicaAntares@Shadowdanc3r Rovio is Finnish and while Nintendo is Japanese, Nintendo of America is, as its title implies, Nintendo's American division, their office is even in America, so....