Angry Birds – End User’s Personal Information Leaked to Government Agencies

The Angry Birds Free mobile game, which Rovio developed, is continuing to co-operate with a certain company’s ad platform, which the British intelligence agency has hacked.

The data that is collected through these ad platforms allows the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to take it and use it in any way it deems fit. After finding out this information, Rovio has pledged to re-consider any co-operation with the company Millennial Media. They identified this ad platform within the report. Once these allegations were in the open, Rovio stated clearly that they had no knowledge as to whether there was any link between intelligence agencies and ad platforms.

The CEO at Rovio stated ‘protecting our end users will mean that we will reconsider working with these particular networks’.

Angry Birds Latest Version

The latest version of Angry Birds, released on Google Play in March, is still collecting its user’s personal information. The way it does this is by the user registering their information when signing up for the game. Once all of this information is collected, there is a huge possibility that it could end up with any number of companies and ad platforms. These include ad platforms Millennial Media and Jumptap, Angry Birds Cloud, and Burstly an ad mediation network.

What Information Is Collected and Why?

The details of the users are collected and this includes device information, gender, age and Android user ID. There have been some cases of IP address information as well. What this means is that the 263 million active users that Rovio has, as of January last year, will all have more than likely had their information collected and stored.

They then discovered that personal information collected through Angry Birds by the ad platform had taken these details and added them to the accounts of the users as well. It is a cloud service, which collects and stores these details through a company called Burstly. This allows third party ad platform companies access to the data.

Other Concerns

Another worrying fact is that the details it shares are unencrypted and this is a risk to data in itself. This enables hackers to attack while making the data vulnerable. Encryption makes data extremely hard to decipher and without this, cyber-attackers have the perfect profiling tool. This is why sharing data ‘in clear text’ causes all sorts of risks. Therefore, knowing the users’ details can allow certain people to become specific targets and the same for groups, companies and networks alike.

Angry Bird Developers Still In Denial

After the allegations, the Angry Bird developers still denied any leaks when it comes to user’s personal information. Rovio also indicated that they are looking to migrate to their own ad platform and in doing so, downplayed the concerns. They also issued a statement saying ‘none of our data is shared, and we do not collude or collaborate with any of the government agencies in the world including the GCHQ or NAS’. What they did do was blame third-party ad networks for any spillage of personal data.

Therefore, if you do not want any of your personal information stored and collected by any of the government agencies; make sure you know which mobile games do not require you to give out your personal information when registering for the first time.

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