New leaked docs show NSA collects personal data from smartphone apps

New documents leaked by Edward Snowden and reported by The New York Times, The Guardian and ProPublica detail how the NSA and its British counterpart can collect users’ personal data through smartphone apps. The reports specifically mention popular apps like Angry Birds, Twitter, Google Maps and Facebook and claim the NSA is capable of intercepting information ranging from location, age, and sex of users to address books, buddy lists, phone logs, geographic data and more:

The N.S.A. and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters were working together on how to collect and store data from dozens of smartphone apps by 2007, according to the documents, provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. Since then, the agencies have traded recipes for grabbing location and planning data when a target uses Google Maps, and for vacuuming up address books, buddy lists, phone logs and the geographic data embedded in photos when someone sends a post to the mobile versions of Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter and other services.

At least one of the app developers, Rovio, is not surprisingly unaware of any of the activity mentioned in the documents, but it will be up to the app developers, Apple, and Google to address the issue and clarify for users if their personal data is safe. In a recent interview with ABC, Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on the controversy over surveillance programs and promised he would press congress for more transparency: Read more

Wahwah, Viddy, Launch Center Pro, Audible’s Audiobooks, Punch Quest, and price drops

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9to5Mac has once again scoured the App Store for all the latest app launches, price drops, noteworthy news, and updates, and we have compiled everything in a roundup below. Check it out, but keep coming back as we continually refresh the list throughout the day.

New

1. Wahwah | Free
Wahwah is a personalized radio service that just landed in the App Store, and it offers a catalogue of more than 15 million songs and allows users to discover the perfect song for working, running, cycling, driving, etc. Users can notably check-in to their location, type in the name of an artist, browse custom stations, or select recommended music, while Wahwah sees who is around, taps into their music, and then offers users the ability to simultaneously listen together and interact via chat.

Updated

1. Viddy | Free
Version 2.1.1 of this Instagram-like app for videos went live today with the ability to handle 30-second clips, pause recordings for multiple-segment filming, toggle brightness, contrast and volume, and simulate stop-motion capture.  The  updated app also features 15 new filters, all new music tracks, simplified video descriptions, swipe-based navigation, new Explore section, geo-feeds with video discovery, Home feed with user preferences, YouTube annotations, and support for 16 new languages.

More apps and updates below.

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