Sneaky Apps

NSA in your pocket


Thanks to so-called "leaky apps," the National Security Agency may be plucking information about your gaming habits, browsing history, social networking, and even sexual orientation from the nation's cellphone networks, along with specific location data.

Newly released documents from as far back as 2010 show that many apps, including Google Maps, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, and Angry Birds, bleed information about their users by design, in order to enable targeted ads. Government snoops are taking advantage of this fact in the U.S. and U.K. to gather intelligence, along with the telephony and text-message records that have already been the subject of much public debate.

The NSA claims it is purging data on American citizens as a matter of policy, but maintains that it has the right to retain information relevant to an investigation. A 2011 British document, according to ProPublica, describes the data available on iPhones and Android smartphones as a "Golden Nugget!"