The NSA knows your Angry Birds score

U.S. and British intelligence services use data from mobile apps to track individuals in a program called "BADASS," according to files leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The information collected is so detailed that the British PowerPoint presentation proclaims: “We Know How Bad You Are At ‘Angry Birds,’ ” referring to the popular mobile game.

The slides, first published by German news outlet Der Spiegel, are part of the cache of documents that Snowden gave to journalists.


Those files revealed last year that the National Security Agency and its British equivalent, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), were collecting personal information from apps.

But the newly disclosed GCHQ PowerPoint slides, created in 2011, provide specifics about a program called “BADASS.” The program sucked up data across multiple mobile platforms that it recognized as mobile analytics and advertising traffic.

The slides explain that intelligence agencies were piggybacking off of the work advertisers do to target their desired demographic.

“Advertisers need information about the device/user to properly target ads,” one slide reads.

Another slide notes that mobile advertising analytics companies track a phone’s location through app use and match that with spending and demographic data from information company Nielsen.

That information can be quite valuable for intelligence agencies, the slides said.

“Creativity, iterative testing, domain knowledge, and the right tools can help us target multiple platforms in a very short time period,” the presentation concludes.

The ongoing fallout from the Snowden files has had significant ramifications on Capitol Hill. Much of Congress’s work on cybersecurity legislation, for instance, was sidetracked by the focus on NSA reform measures.

Thus far, Congress hasn’t been able to pass any bills on the matter. Lawmakers must reauthorize some of the agency’s more controversial programs by June 1, giving Capitol Hill a looming deadline.