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.