The National Security Administration (NSA) and its British counterpart pull data from popular Android smartphone apps like Angry Bird and Google Maps, per the latest documents released from Edward Snowden.
The Guardian and The New York Times report that the NSA and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters have been secretly collecting personal data about users'
age, telephone numbers, location, addresses, gender and more, according to documents provided by Edward Snowden.
In fact, the Guardian reports the NSA in aggregate spent more than $1 billion in phone-targeting efforts.
One slide in a May 2010 NSA presentation titled "Golden Nugget!" discloses the agency's "perfect scenario" to target users who uploaded photos to social media sites taken by a mobile device. The NSA also made use of mobile devices to gather information from Google Maps. It would allow them to collect large volumes of location information.
The latest documents Snowden released describe in detail how much information the NSA can collect from popular apps. While it focuses on Android apps for most examples, it explains how apps on similar platforms could do the same.
While ad execs continually voice concerns about the perception that leaking data has on the industry, most fail to take note of how ad tracking codes and methods could aid the NSA to gather information on purchases made by specific people and parties.
The Guardian has published pages of documents from 2010 describing the use of mobile devices.