January 28, 2014
Rovio has just released a statement denying any form of collaboration with any government spy agencies that may be using Angry Birds, its popular series of mobile games, for surveillance purposes. Yesterday, a report claimed that the National Security Agency (NSA) and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), has been tapping "leaky" smartphone apps to obtain personal information from users. Apparently, one of the apps involved is Rovio's Angry Birds. Through a spokesman's statement to The New York Times, which ran the report in question, Rovio has already said that it has no involvement with neither the NSA nor the GCHQ. And now, the Finnish entertainment company has published a press release reiterating that it "does not share data, collaborate or collude with any government spy agencies such as NSA or GCHQ anywhere in the world." Rovio further states that the alleged surveillance may be conducted through third-party advertising networks, which are being used not only by Angry Birds but also by a great many other apps. However, it maintains that it does not allow any third party to use or share personal end-user data from its apps. That said, Rovio CEO Mikael Hed suggests that a re-evaluation of the use of third-party advertising networks is in order:
“Our fans’ trust is the most important thing for us and we take privacy extremely seriously. We do not collaborate, collude, or share data with spy agencies anywhere in the world. As the alleged surveillance might be happening through third party advertising networks, the most important conversation to be had is how to ensure user privacy is protected while preventing the negative impact on the whole advertising industry and the countless mobile apps that rely on ad networks”, said Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio Entertainment. “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.”As for Apple, it maintains that the government has no access to its servers, as pointed out by its CEO, Tim Cook, in a recent interview.