Reacting to recent revelations that smartphone apps such as Angry Birds and Google Maps are being used by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarter (GCHQ) to spy on their users, the Application Developers Alliance has condemned the NSA for damaging the industry.
The Application Developers Alliance is an industry association that includes over 25,000 individual developers and over 135 companies, including Google and AT&T.
Documents released by NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA and GCHQ have managed to gain users’ personal data via advertising attached to popular smartphone and location-sharing apps.
The app list includes Angry Birds, Google Maps, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Flixter.
“Uninhibited collection of consumers’ personal data by governments hacking into apps is unacceptable. Developers are surprised and disappointed to learn that personal information entrusted to them by users has been secretly collected and stored. This surveillance damages our entire industry and undermines the hard work of app developer entrepreneurs everywhere,” the Application Developers Alliance states.
“App developers are constantly innovating new ways to protect consumers’ privacy. In support of that work, last year, we took a leading role in drafting the voluntary code of conduct for mobile app privacy that resulted from multi-stakeholder talks held by the U.S. Department of Commerce. This year, we’ll be participating in similar talks on the topic of facial recognition technologies,” the Alliance says about its plans.