Angry Birds maker Rovio issued a statement today (which they passed along to GamePolitics this morning following a request for comment yesterday) in response to a report from ProPublica that spy agencies were gathering information on users of its popular game. The company said in a statement that it does not share data about its users with government agencies such as the NSA or the UK's GCHQ.
"There has been speculation in the media that NSA targets Angry Birds to collect end user data," the statement notes. "The speculation is based on information from documents leaked by Edward Snowden."
The statement goes on to say that the information being shared is likely from third-party ad networks and that Rovio does not allow its ad network partners to share user data with governments.
"If advertising networks are indeed targeted, it would appear that no internet-enabled device that visits ad-enabled web sites or uses ad-enabled applications is immune to such surveillance. Rovio does not allow any third party network to use or hand over personal end-user data from Rovio’s apps."
Of course, in some countries such as the U.S. these ad networks may be compelled to turn over some information as the law requires. Rovio is headquartered in Finland and immune to such requests. Rovio CEO Mikael Hed also made it clear in the company's response that trust from fans is paramount to the company and that Rovio will re-evaluate its current ad network relationships:
"Our fans’ trust is the most important thing for us and we take privacy extremely seriously," said Hed. "We do not collaborate, collude, or share data with spy agencies anywhere in the world. As the alleged surveillance might be happening through third party advertising networks, 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. 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."