UK and US spy agencies have gathered data from smartphone apps, including popular game s Angry Birds, which leak personal data on to global networks, according to reports.
Other applications mentioned by the documents include the photo-sharing site Flickr, movie-based social network Flixster and applications that connect to Facebook.
Documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden suggest that mapping, gaming, and social networking apps are providing the National Security Agency (NSA) and Government Communications HQ (GCHQ) with location information and details including political affiliation or sexual orientation.
Reports in The New York Times, the Guardian and ProPublica suggested the joint spying programme “effectively means that anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a GCHQ system”.
In a statement, the NSA said the communications of those who were not “valid foreign intelligence targets” were not of interest.
It said: “Any implication that NSA’s foreign intelligence collection is focused on the smartphone or social media communications of everyday Americans is not true.
“We collect only those communications that we are authorised by law to collect for valid foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes – regardless of the technical means used by the targets.”
GCHQ said it did not comment on intelligence matters, but insisted all of its activities were “authorised, necessary and proportionate”.
A 2012 British intelligence report laid out how to extract Angry Birds users’ information from phones using the Android operating system, according to The New York Times.
Read the Guardian report here