The latest revelation from NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden's document trove details how the spy agency and its British counterpart, GHCQ, have been relying on so-called "leaky" smartphone apps -- like the game Angry Birds -- to obtain swathes of data.
Widely popular smartphone apps, which ask for user data, often make this data commercially available -- typically via agreements with third party advertisers -- without a user's knowing. As a leaked NSA document noted, such data is a "Golden Nugget" to data-hoarding spy agencies.
"Leaky" apps can gather an immense amount of personal information. As the Guardian, breaking the revelation Monday, reported:
Depending on what profile information a user had supplied, the documents suggested, the agency would be able to collect almost every key detail of a user's life: including home country, current location (through geolocation), age, gender, zip code, martial status – options included "single", "married", "divorced", "swinger" and more – income, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education level, and number of children.