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Angry Birds maker fires back against government spying allegations

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Mobile game maker Rovio, responsible for the popular Angry Birds franchise, strongly denied recent allegations that its games provide avenues for government spies to collect private user data.

In a statement today, the company said, "Rovio Entertainment Ltd, which is headquartered in Finland, does not share data, collaborate or collude with any government spy agencies such as NSA or GCHQ anywhere in the world."

The new spying allegations come from Edward Snowden, the famous ex-NSA employee currently living under a temporary asylum arrangement in Russia.

The company goes on to say that third party advertisements might be conducting the alleged monitoring, in which case, it would affect all sorts of other Internet connected applications. If advertising networks allow government spying, "it would appear that no Internet-enabled device that visits ad-enabled web sites or uses ad-enabled applications is immune to such surveillance."

If advertising networks are the culprits, "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.”

Rovio's privacy policy indicates that the company gathers information similarly to other mobile apps, so that they can target advertising based on a player's general location and analyze game play to provide feedback to game developers. Games might also ask for access to Google Play billing information if a player wants to make in-app purchases. The company insists it does not knowingly allow any third party network to use or hand over personal data from Rovio's apps.

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