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Rovio Denies Knowledge of NSA Access, Angry Birds Website Defaced Anyway

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the bored-teenagers-at-their-finest dept.

Advertising 71

Nerval's Lobster writes "Rovio Entertainment, the software company behind Angry Birds, denies that it knowingly shares data with the NSA, Britain's GCHQ, or any other national intelligence agency. But that didn't stop hackers from briefly defacing the Angry Birds website with an NSA logo and the title 'Spying Birds.' Rovio's troubles began with a New York Times article that suggested the NSA and GCHQ had installed backdoors in popular apps such as Angry Birds, allowing the agencies to siphon up enormous amounts of user data. The Times drew its information from government whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has leaked hundreds of pages of top-secret documents related to NSA activities over the past few months. 'The alleged surveillance may be conducted through third party advertising networks used by millions of commercial web sites and mobile applications across all industries,' Rovio wrote in a statement on its website. 'If advertising networks are indeed targeted, it would appear that no Internet-enabled device that visits ad-enabled web sites or uses ad-enabled applications is immune to such surveillance.' The company pledged to evaluate its relationships with those ad networks. The controversy is unlikely to dampen enthusiasm for the Angry Birds franchise, which has enjoyed hundreds of millions of downloads across a multitude of platforms. It could, however, add momentum to continuing discussions about the NSA's reach into peoples' lives."

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71 comments

Liar, liar pants on fire! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46101535)

Companies like Google, Microsoft, Rovio Entertainment, Facebook, and others remind me of that Clapper idiot.

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (4, Insightful)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | about 3 months ago | (#46101681)

Well, there are numerous parties we can blame here. Certainly the NSA, but what about the advertising companies? They build leaky software, and they make their money by harvesting information you don't know you're sending or don't wish to be sending to them anyway.

Shouldn't these fly by night outfits that serve ads on the internet and trade in your personal information have some responsibility to protect it?

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (4, Insightful)

Technician (215283) | about 3 months ago | (#46101951)

I think if I read the original news articles correctly, you are spot on. NSA did not compromise Angry Birds. They however did spy on the marketing info the program 3rd party advertising returned. This 3rd party info was intercepted. Block all advertising and this may have been a non issue.

Free app.. Supported by 3rd party adverts .. Advert demographics information scrapped on the way back through governemtnt internet checkpoints.

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 3 months ago | (#46102025)

Can we take it one more step and get a free government supported by ads?
Don't get me started on how it might give private companies a way in, or somehow make things less efficient to make room for more ads.

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (1)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about 3 months ago | (#46102009)

Well, there are numerous parties we can blame here.

Agreed, lets not let them just select a fall guy and continue further under something more secret than national security. Might be a good idea to look into the secret TPP deal they appear to be working to fast track. Like they imply, terrorists have something to hide and those are generally referred to as secrets. Reading a bit further into it I can't think of a better way to sequester world power than one world gubberment, all eggs in one basket, then there's only one entity for the mob to infiltrate for their two most prized.

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102155)

The Angry Birds guys are also trying to draw a false equivalence between web ads and mobile ads. Mobile ads have access to a lot more data, like social graph and GPS location history, get overlapping unclearable cookies (serial number, phone number) that can track even a resistant person through their whole life, and are able to awaken themselves at any time if the app author helps them instead of only tracking you while you're browsing/using.

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 3 months ago | (#46102295)

Well, there are numerous parties we can blame here. Certainly the NSA, but what about the advertising companies? They build leaky software, and they make their money by harvesting information you don't know you're sending or don't wish to be sending to them anyway.

People think that the NSA would have to hack into something. But they could open a little office with a few programmers that offers their services writing advertising software. Lots of companies don't create that software in-house. And I bet a small company owned by the NSA can offer really competitive prices. No hacking involved.

A while ago there was news of a new jailbreak for iOS. Again, what better opportunity for the NSA than to actually take over the people creating the jailbreak and modifying it, and get users to actually install the software that hacks their phone themselves?

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (1)

Arker (91948) | about 3 months ago | (#46102433)

Before I would blame the ad companies I would blame the browser makers.

Sane browsers would have been inconvenient for ad companies but they could have certainly learned to work with them.

Instead they are accustomed to assuming the browser will run any arbitrary code thrown at it, which means that sane browsers appear to 'break' when thrown typical code.

It's this bullshit situation which sets the stage for a compromise on an ad network equating to a compromise of third party computers all across the world.

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102811)

Seriously, do the advertising networks get the same permissions on iOS and Android devices that the main program gets? For example, Angry Birds on my Android phone gets my approximate location (no idea why it needs that), Network communication (ad serving or leaderboards maybe), Storage (USB storage modification rights, no idea why because every time I reinstall it starts over from the beginning again), Phone Calls (phone status to gracefully silence itself and pause the game, but getting my identity I have no idea why), Hardware controls (take pictures and videos why?), and System tools (prevent phone from sleeping).

So can an advertisement take pictures at random and send them through the network, tying them to my phone ID and approximately where I was at the time of the photo/video? Rovio knows. Google knows. The NSA knows. The user/installer (me) doesn't.

Liars or not, they could be more forthcoming about what they are doing instead of pointing the fingers at someone else for helping the NSA.

And people wonder why Facebook needs to read their SMS messages now...

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46104437)

when the hell are you americans going to do something about this? this is the whole reason you claim everybody needs guns but when it comes time to actually do something you all pussy out. what the fuck happened to this "well regulated militia" you claim to have?

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (3, Insightful)

Uberbah (647458) | about 3 months ago | (#46105187)

Certainly the NSA, but what about the advertising companies? They build leaky software, and they make their money by harvesting information you don't know you're sending or don't wish to be sending to them anyway.

Until Google has a weaponized drone fleet and Microsoft can send you to prison for decades, this corporations-are-as-bad-as-government meme is total horseshit.

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (1)

Bugamn (1769722) | about 3 months ago | (#46109211)

Corporations already send people to prison, even if through government. Don't we see at least one article per month about someone punished for piracy?

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46116135)

So where's the law that forces people to be pirates? There's none? Then why commit a crime if you can't do the time?

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46107921)

Haha! Some of these advertising companies are NSA front companies. Joke's on you!!!

Not sure who the liars are ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46101977)

I'm not sure who the liars are. I think we are getting to the point where Snowden may be making shit up too.

Seriously, the truth is not some mutually exclusive thing, if one side is lying the other side is truthful. Both sides may be lying/exaggerating/minimizing, the NSA and Snowden.

I think we are past the point where some serious fact checking needs to be done on Snowden claims.

Re:Not sure who the liars are ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102479)

well maybe but it seems like the nsa has everything to lose by telling the actual truth while snowden has everything to lose if he lies or exaggerates on just about anything. The minute he gives the nsa something that they can conclusively prove untrue the whole thing falls apart. And fact checking in this case could only be about verifying the authenticity of the documents snowden possesses.

Re:Liar, liar pants on fire! (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 3 months ago | (#46103295)

Indeed.
An old prick who as a youth fancied having a device in the bedroom of the girl he couldn't have
and struggled all his life to make part of that dream come true, along with some 10.000 (?) other
retards.
Child pornography -- and it's abundantly clear who the children are in this case.

Welcome is neoliberalism. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46101543)

Power fills a vacuum. You asked for smaller government, but that's like asking for a room with less air. So, what you got was the businesses buying up the governments and milking the people.

Your choices are as follows:
1. State capitalism, where one business owns the country - Stalin likes this;
2. Neoliberalism, where two or three businesses fight to own the country - Reagan likes this;
3. Social democracy, where everyone fights to own the country, and a compromise is reached.

Your historical references are misinformed (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46101921)

Your analogy and choices are misinformed.

For example Reagan did not necessarily want less government in an absolute sense. He wanted less *federal* government (the national government in the U.S.) but not a vacuum. He wanted some problems and issues to be addressed by state and local government not the federal government.

In other words he thought some issues and some problems were best addressed at a more local level. Especially since some problems and issues have a local component. This was not a uniquely Republican idea either. Kennedy (JFK) also made some similar statements. Democrats of JFK's era were quite different than many of today's Democrats.

Re:Your historical references are misinformed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102851)

Which is like dismantling part of the house on the hill to build smaller houses, and expecting that one of the guys in the smaller houses isn't going to think, "Well fuck me, it's rather nice up on that hill!" and start to rebuild that old house in his own image. In America's case, we had the South move to Washington between start of Bush Sr. and end of Bush Jr. Obama is the start of a push-back of 30 years of retarded social principles, and we're a long way from clearing up the economic havoc.

(Observed globally, federalism is an artificial restriction. There is nothing wrong with local government tackling specific local matters, but most issues are common to the whole of society. Like you said, "Especially since some problems and issues have a local component" - it is the exception rather than the rule to need local legislation.)

Re:Your historical references are misinformed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102923)

And after a decade of "We're from the government and we're here to grope your kid", Reagan might be getting his wish sometime soon.

So which is it... (5, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 months ago | (#46101553)

So which is it? Do the NSA have my Angry Birds high score or don't they?

Re:So which is it... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 3 months ago | (#46102105)

Never mind your high score. I think we should petition the US government with the Freedom Of Information Act to release Obama's high score.

The citizens of the US have a right to know how much time he's been spending playing Angry Birds, when he was supposed to be running the country.

Re:So which is it... (2)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about 3 months ago | (#46103145)

The citizens of the US have a right to know how much time he's been spending playing Angry Birds, when he was supposed to be running the country.

Frankly, I'd prefer that he spend more time playing Angry Birds and less time running the country, because he's running it into the ground. Same thing goes for Congress.

Re:So which is it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102937)

You realize these phone apps have permissions to access everything on your phone?

Re:So which is it... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 3 months ago | (#46103347)

So which is it? Do the NSA have my Angry Birds high score or don't they?

Nothing Rovio has stated is mutually exclusive with what we know.

The NSA gets data off leaky apps, say, Angry Birds. Rovio denies working with the NSA.

Still leaves the possibility that the NSA gets the information from apps like Angry Birds without knowledge of Rovio. Or other app developers for that matter.

Just like how Apple denies working with the NSA - doesn't mean the NSA doesn't have Apple's data. It could very well be the NSA intercepted the data without Apple's knowledge. Perhaps through vulnerable Windows iTunes installations, for example (weren't there NSA "backdoors" in Windows?).

All Your Free Apps Are Belong To Us! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46101639)

Make that, US!

Saruman (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46101641)

We already saw Saruman using bird for spying in LOTR, but this warning wasn't enough...

Re:Saruman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46103409)

Oh yeah? Well consider the last scene in Lawnmower Man, where all the phones ring at once indicating all the networks are under control of a megalomaniacal idiot savant. Or... Maybe watch the Matrix? Neo's not fighting "the machine" he's fighting "the man". Read 1984? The CIA is your ministry of truth.

The problem with dystopian conspiracy theories is that they're all true given enough time.

first stage (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about 3 months ago | (#46101649)

Angry Birds: Denial.
To be followed by
2.Anger
3 Bargaining
4 Depression
5 Acceptance.

Can't wait for Angry Birds to Die!

Re:first stage (4, Funny)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 3 months ago | (#46101747)

Can't wait for Angry Birds to Die!

I know! Sometimes they get stuck on a bouncy surface and just linger on and on...it gets really annoying.

Vigilantism Hackers (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46101675)

It always bothers me when I see comments like "But that didn't stop hackers from briefly defacing the Angry Birds website with an NSA logo and the title 'Spying Birds.' ".

Did they install the backdoor software knowingly? Does it even have it, or is Snowden's reports wrong? Do they deserve some level of punishment at all? These hackers do not know, but they take some comment from the NYT and use that as justification to target someone for punishment. This is the exact reason we have a legal system and outlaw vigilantism; while our legal system is annoyingly frustrating, this kind of vigilante anarchy is not better.

Hackers: self defeating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102097)

They sort of just disproved their own statement. Does the website defacing prove Rovio put a backdoor in their website for the hackers? No one believes this. So how can the fact that the NSA, presumably with a lot more resources at their disposal than the hackers, can hack something from Rovio prove Rovio must have been involved?

Re:Hackers: self defeating? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102493)

Bsed on how quickly their website got hacked, I imagine the NSA would be able to get a backdoor installed fairly easily.

Re:Vigilantism Hackers (4, Interesting)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 3 months ago | (#46102331)

is Snowden's reports wrong?

RTFA... Snowden's released [PDF] documents [amazonaws.com] says nothing specific about what apps were targeted. Don't make it sound like he's to blame.

Re:Vigilantism Hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46106929)

is Snowden's reports wrong?

RTFA... Snowden's released [PDF] documents [amazonaws.com] says nothing specific about what apps were targeted. Don't make it sound like he's to blame.

Not only is it vague and mundane, it also says GCHQ, not NSA.

I'm starting to think all these people spun up on the NSAs business are about the same people who get really spun up on /. headlines. That would actually explain a lot.

Re:Vigilantism Hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102553)

Did they install the backdoor software knowingly?

They deliberately created Adware, uh, well excuse me then, ad-supported software if you insist. So the answer is of course yes, then installed a back door for you to be spied upon whether done specifically for the use of the NSA or not. Any information an advertiser could garner from it the NSA could as well, perhaps more, after all there is nothing that says they can't use your (tax) money to buy ad space on your Adware. Real question is could they also use it as a delivery system like they can ad space in your browser? Or even perhaps beyond that. If approval needed could it be rendered as a game option? Our devices give away far too much information to marketing and if it is available to them then the government(s) and other thieves can get it as well.

Not my field of expertise and therefore I probably shouldn't be commenting, especially here where there have, at least in the past, been so many with professional experience dealing with network security issues.

Re:Vigilantism Hackers (1)

foma84 (2079302) | about 3 months ago | (#46102745)

The action in itself is highly symbolic. It's not like a brief distruption of service (at the web page) will cause any major or even minor damage to the company. The point is raising awarness in users about all of this spying. Both by the agencies and the industry.
I actually find the Agencies' technology brilliant: sniffing the traffic of the Industries' spying on you. Genius. Evil Genius, tho.

Anyway, only here to say that it's sybolical and to raise awarness. I actually didn't have the perception of how far the industrial spying went. Thanks Snowden!

Re:Vigilantism Hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46103123)

The action in itself is highly symbolic. It's not like a brief distruption of service (at the web page) will cause any major or even minor damage to the company. The point is raising awarness in users about all of this spying. Both by the agencies and the industry.
I actually find the Agencies' technology brilliant: sniffing the traffic of the Industries' spying on you. Genius. Evil Genius, tho.

Anyway, only here to say that it's sybolical and to raise awarness. I actually didn't have the perception of how far the industrial spying went. Thanks Snowden!

Seems to me this is raising awareness that there exist people out there who are easily led into attacking anything a swindler tells them to on the flimsiest of pretenses. Unless someone shows me the NSA backdoors in Angry Birds (NOT some random "advertising partners"), attacking Rovio's website is pointless at best and paints the attackers and their beliefs in a bad light at worst.

Hey, I heard that this friend of a cousin of a guy he knows heard this rumor that the NSA puts spying devices in local coffeehouses! THROW ROCKS THROUGH THE WINDOWS OF EVERY COFFEEHOUSE IN THE CITY IMMEDIATELY. If it turns out the rumor was wrong, meh, who cares? Better safe than sorry! Never mind that someone just conspicuously opened a new coffeehouse before the others recovered, don't you think the NSA's evil?

LOLLL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46103207)

"These hackers do not know"

That statement alone shows how little your miniscule mind and opinion really "knows"

Re:Vigilantism Hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46103299)

I'd tell you but then I'd be arrested, tried for espionage, have all the evidence buried as "classified" and imprisoned for the rest of my life.

Re:Vigilantism Hackers (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 3 months ago | (#46105845)

We find vigilante justice like this because the normal justice system is not working. The US system of justice has been broken for a long time now, so these acts will only grow more common. Show me one official that went to jail over Fast and Furious, starting a war in Iraq based on false premises, one bank CEO that was fired or went to jail for fraud. These things are not new, but are also growing in frequency and getting more notice.

The story of Robin Hood is not popular because he stole money, it is popular because he stole money from people that abused their power to get it.

Re:Vigilantism Hackers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46106405)

It always bothers me when I see comments like "But that didn't stop hackers from briefly defacing the Angry Birds website with an NSA logo and the title 'Spying Birds.' ".

Did they install the backdoor software knowingly? Does it even have it, or is Snowden's reports wrong? Do they deserve some level of punishment at all? These hackers do not know, but they take some comment from the NYT and use that as justification to target someone for punishment. This is the exact reason we have a legal system and outlaw vigilantism; while our legal system is annoyingly frustrating, this kind of vigilante anarchy is not better.

They use a third party advertising service to serve ads to the users who install their app. While they may not have been aware or actively colluding to expose user data, they are still responsible for not properly sanitizing the information sent back to the advertisers, so it is in fact their app which is leaking the data to their 3rd party ad service. Who then in turn appear to be working with the NSA.

No I'm not advocating mob justice at all here, just pointing out that Rovio is trying to weasel their way out of taking responsibility for their leaky apps.

New York Times to be beaten with wet noodle (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46101721)

Is anyone not seeing a potential Trojan Horse in this? Am I the only one who is actually concerned about real journalism? Real, as in doing basic fact checking?
Why didn't NYT at least talk to someone who can turn on a computer, once they started the article on their Selectric?
If Rovio Entertainment has any brains, I would be punching back hard at NYT for failing to do 3th grade validation.

Re:New York Times to be beaten with wet noodle (4, Interesting)

GT66 (2574287) | about 3 months ago | (#46102019)

Did Rovio use a system already identified as being fraught with privacy concerns? Yes. And as long as it made them money, they didn't pay more than lip service to the issues (just like all the other companies built on Google's system - so don't I'm raging on just Rovio).

It has long been established legal reasoning that people benefiting from an illegality are complicit in that illegality. I consider it hypocritical for Rovio or any other developer to simply say, "Hey, it wasn't us, we just used and profited from the system." Rovio made a choice, at the least they can stand up and show some integrity and tell us they knew this system was bad but they were more interested in the money. At least then I can respect them for being forthright. As it is though, they're as dirty as the rest and liars to boot.

Re:New York Times to be beaten with wet noodle (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 3 months ago | (#46103197)

And how exactly did Rovio benefit from an "illegality"? First, there's no real evidence of one only vague "we could do it" type information. Second, this is like saying a movie theater profits from piracy if someone comes in and secretly films a bootleg they then go on to sell for millions.

Re:New York Times to be beaten with wet noodle (1)

Anti-Social Network (3032259) | about 3 months ago | (#46103619)

And they really have no excuse to plead ignorance in my opinion. A comment [slashdot.org] on a related Slashdot article linked an article [thestar.com.my] indicating Mikko Hypponen, "chief research officer" of F-Secure is friends with these guys. You'd think these issues have come up once or twice in conversation.

Re:New York Times to be beaten with wet noodle (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 3 months ago | (#46104251)

Actually I'm still mildly curious about what sorts of information could exist on Angry Birds that the NSA would want. It's not even a social network, there's no private information stored there, no list of friends (at least the one on my phone was not given permission to browse my contacts), no place to write down notes about political dissent. The most they could do possibly is figure out is that there's a high correlation to my playing of Angry Birds and the times of my bowel movements.

I thought angry birds finally died off (5, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 3 months ago | (#46101793)

It seems that the Angry Birds iPhone covers, air fresheners, chew toys, fruit snacks, T-shirts, and cock rings sold at the local drug store have all been replaced by Duck Dynasty variants of the same. I took that to mean that nobody cared about Angry Birds any more.

Re:I thought angry birds finally died off (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 months ago | (#46102797)

It seems that the Angry Birds iPhone covers, air fresheners, chew toys, fruit snacks, T-shirts, and cock rings sold at the local drug store have all been replaced by Duck Dynasty variants of the same. I took that to mean that nobody cared about Angry Birds any more.

Exactly. Which is why Rovio is playing this "The NSA is snooping through Angry Birds/Hackers are defacing the website" false flag. They are just trying to drum up some business.

Temple Run is next. (1)

BisuDagger (3458447) | about 3 months ago | (#46101801)

Next we will learn that temple run is a real time simulation of the public running from NSA agents. Just wait till we get to see the real monster hidden in side of the one chasing you when the mask is taken off. Seriously though, this sucks for Rovio. Someone in the media clearly had an agenda in causing bad publicity for them. Couldn't they have just chosen any app at random and accused them of this. I seriously doubt Rovio is conducting meeting with the NSA on what information they will share.

Possible Syria connection (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46101903)

Other news reports are claiming that the hack may have originated from Syria ....

So perhaps the perpetrators were ..... Angry Kurds

Re:Possible Syria connection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46122885)

The hack was published by "Syrian Electronic Army", a pro-Assad hacker group.
Russia Today article [rt.com] Assad and Putin fighting online surveillance...

Shocking (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 3 months ago | (#46102037)

'The alleged surveillance may be conducted through third party advertising networks used by millions of commercial web sites and mobile applications across all industries,'

So there's a dark side to advertising. Who knew?

It's Legal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102149)

If NSA and the Adverts are getting the info by snooping com links then it is legal.

If NSA payed the Rovio and the Adverts for the info then it is legal.

If Rovio and the Adverts deny receiving payment, then a Federal Complaint can be issued to access their financial holdings, employee payrolls, FTC quarterly reports and IRS records to see if they all balance. If not then Rovio and the Adverts have real problem.

Other than that, better just get over it and move on.

Re:It's Legal (1)

drummerboybac (1003077) | about 3 months ago | (#46102741)

I imagine its a bit more complicated than that since they are not an US company, and I can find not mention of a US office.

Is it that easy to deface a high profile website? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102315)

Seems like they would have the money to run a proper website, how could it be defaced so easily?

Well, of *course* they deny it (1)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 3 months ago | (#46102477)

There's no response that wouldn't cause suspicion.

They can't confirm it because they're gagged under threat of imprisonment or worse.

If they deny it, they were forced to do so upon threat of imprisonment or worse.

If they say nothing, they were gagged under threat of imprisonment or worse.

They can't even confirm it passively by shutting down service or using a virtual dead man switch, as we've seen with the Lavabit case.

The feds will find a way to argue and manipulate the process in their favor. There is no winning move for anyone who receives a NSL or FISC order, they're fucked. And so are we.

I expect their shares to plummet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102573)

And plummet to obscenely low levels. Rovio has hit its zenit.

f5rist stOp (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46102619)

official GNAA irc Common knowledge Whatever path is there are Are 7ou GAY truth, for all

Can we fix mobile app sandboxes now? (1)

sparty (63226) | about 3 months ago | (#46102691)

Any chance this means that mobile OS and mobile app developers might actually start setting up permissions structures that allow apps to function with the minimum necessary privileges?

The permissions framework on Android (and iOS) seems like a reasonable start, but when the norm for a flashlight app is to have full network access and full camera access, it becomes painfully obvious that we as users are not leveraging the frameworks to protect ourselves. If more people cared about Facebook asking for write access to your first-born's soul, they (and other app developers) might have some incentive to build apps that work within the narrowest ruleset possible.

Instead, we have the current disaster, where my stopwatch app requires full network access, Flood-It has full network access *and* access to the contents of the phone's USB storage, etc. Set up an API to allow ads to get pulled in without granting full network access, limit the access the apps have, and it won't matter if the NSA can access your Angry Birds game.

Re:Can we fix mobile app sandboxes now? (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 3 months ago | (#46103219)

Rubbish. You could add a "This app may send your credit card info to third parties randomly or may turn on the camera when specific grunting or fapping sounds are detected on the microphone (which is always on)" permission to Android and 80% of the people who installed the app would click "OK".

Re:Can we fix mobile app sandboxes now? (1)

sparty (63226) | about 3 months ago | (#46103825)

Rubbish. You could add a "This app may send your credit card info to third parties randomly or may turn on the camera when specific grunting or fapping sounds are detected on the microphone (which is always on)" permission to Android and 80% of the people who installed the app would click "OK".

That's part of my point—there's no incentive for app or OS developers to be more sensible as long as 80% (and that may be optimistically low) will click "OK, do it" for any permission requested. If people in general suddenly became more aware of the security risks, maybe that number would drop to 50% and there would be some incentive to do things right...

Adware and Spyware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46103533)

There was a time, not that long ago, when Adware and Spyware were removed by antivirus software on the PC. Move to everyone having a smart phone and Adware has become acceptable but it seems to have been forgotten that much of that Adware is also Spyware... The amount of confidential information that is able to leak from these devices is scary. From something as simple to all your business contacts being accessed by a range of apps to every file on your devices being accessed by some apps. Facebook, and other social media, have largely killed off the concept of privacy for many people. The really scary part is the commercially sensitive business information that can be expose by executives that love their cool new device but don't have a clue about security.

My God... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46104587)

it's full of pigs!

F-droid (1)

Boltronics (180064) | about 3 months ago | (#46106519)

Doesn't matter if it's proprietary software or just adware you want to cut back on (or possibly even eliminate almost entirely if using Replicant [replicant.us] ), F-droid [f-droid.org] has you covered. It's not that hard to give Google Apps the flick with all the alternative free software out there, if one can be motivated to do so.

Trusting software is stupid (1)

ka9dgx (72702) | about 3 months ago | (#46106619)

This is the kind of thing that happens when you trust an application to do what it says on the tin. An OS based on a capability architecture would have made this pretty much impossible.

This Isn't Difficult To Understand (1)

konohitowa (220547) | about 3 months ago | (#46111721)

The NSA doesn't need to target an advertising network; they just need to run advertisements. For more control, they could buy up or create an advertising network. At that point, you've got little recourse because you agreed to all of this at installation or during use.

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