• Sweden's news in English
 

Spy agency warns Swedes over 'leaky' apps

Published: 28 Jan 2014 16:30 GMT+01:00

"It's not a case of hacking, rather it's that so many apps leak huge amounts of information -- more than you think," Fredrik Wallin, spokesman for Sweden's National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets Radioanstalt, FRA) told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

"That's something you should be aware of as a user, but most often you're not."

Details leaked by the American whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has educated staff about the amounts of information that can be gleaned from apps on people's smartphones. 

The Guardian newspaper reported that an agency slide from a May 2010 presentation asked "What can we get?" when someone uploads an image to a social media site using a smartphone. The answer? Location, email, friends lists, and "a host of other social networking data". 

The newspaper reported that one app susceptible to information leaks to foreign intelligence services was the immensely popular Angry Birds game, developed in Finland by app maker Rovio.

"Rovio doesn't have any previous knowledge of this matter, and have not been aware of such activity in third party advertising networks," Rovio marketing vice-president Saara Bergström told The Guardian. 

The latest revelation pointed out that different apps could leak a wide range of information, including marital status, sexual orientation, income, and ethnicity. A user may also be giving away information about what level of education they have, whether they have children and, if so, how many. 

Experts at the Swedish Data Protection Board (Datainspektionen) said many Swedes had testified to apps requesting access to their personal information. But while app makers were not allowed to gather user information without consent, they were well within their rights to request access to items such as photos and location, according to Ulrika Bergström, a lawyer for the data privacy watchdog.

"It's 'accept the product as it is, or go elsewhere'," she told newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).
 
Some Swedes took the news with a sprinkle of humour, including TV presenter Annika Lantz who said the revelation gave her performance anxiety now that American spies could be watching her play Angry Birds. 
 
Får lite prestationsångest när jag spelar Angry birds, nu när jag vet att NSA tittar.
 
When news of Sweden collaborating with the NSA came out last summer, The Local gauged reaction among Stockholmers. The responses varied but many said they were far from surprised by the news.
 
 
"Conceptually I can see how it might be an issue," one man responded.
 
On Tuesday, Swedish football columnist Olof Lundh questioned what the Americans could possibly hope to get from Angry Birds intelligence, apart from a tonne of "garbage". 
 
A Swedish blogger also took the opportunity to poke fun at the tepid reaction in Sweden to revelations of the extent of data espionage. In a fictitious dialogue, the blogger tweeted:
 
Snowden: NSA is monitoring your mail
The people: Zzzzz
S: They are hacking into your computer
TP. Zzzzz
S: The are spying with the help of Angry Birds
TP: NO WAY WHAT THE... 
 
 
Bergström from the Data Protection Board urged app makers be as "clear as possible" when informing users about data retention practices.
 

The Local/at (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Julian Assange
Swedish court to hear Assange arrest appeal
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Photo: AP Photo/Sunshine Press Productions

Swedish court to hear Assange arrest appeal

Sweden's Supreme Court has formally agreed to hear Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's appeal to overturn the arrest warrant against him for sexual assault allegations in the Nordic country. The move is the latest twist in the campaigner's long legal battle. READ  

Sweden calls for ‘urgent’ international nuclear ban
Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. Photo: TT

Sweden calls for ‘urgent’ international nuclear ban

UPDATED: Foreign Minister Margot Wallström has renewed Swedish calls for a global ban on nuclear weapons as the United Nations begins a major review of the industry. READ  

Sweden's brown bear population is at risk
A Swedish brown bear. Photo: TT

Sweden's brown bear population is at risk

Sweden's brown bear population is dwindling according to a report looking into the future of some of the nation's most iconic animals. READ  

Nepal earthquake
Swedish rescue team stuck on way to Nepal
A Swedish search and rescue team has taken off from Örebro airport. Photo: Kicki Nilsson/TT

Swedish rescue team stuck on way to Nepal

A Swedish relief team on its way to earthquake-hit Nepal faces delays after two planes carrying 43 first responders and rescue equipment failed to secure permission to land at Kathmandu airport, the Swedish Contingencies Agency told The Local on Tuesday. READ  

Why Americans trust Swedish companies

Why Americans trust Swedish companies

Swedish companies can do almost no wrong - at least in the eyes of Americans - according to a recent survey by The Local, which also reveals that Americans’ love of Sweden extends across many areas. READ  

1,000 jobs to go at Swedish energy giant
Swedish energy giant Vattenfall is to cut 1,000 jobs. Photo: TT

1,000 jobs to go at Swedish energy giant

UPDATED: One thousand workers are set to be let go after Swedish state-owned energy company Vattenfall announced major staff cuts on Tuesday morning, in a bid to curb costs. READ  

Sweden's Zlatan set to stay on with Paris side
Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona last week. Photo: Emilio Morenatti/TT

Sweden's Zlatan set to stay on with Paris side

Sweden's top striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to remain with his French club side Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), the club's owner has announced. READ  

Presented by Saco
'Educated immigrants get stuck in limbo in Sweden'
Photo: Henrik Trygg/imagebank.sweden.se

'Educated immigrants get stuck in limbo in Sweden'

Countless degree holders who move to Sweden struggle to get their credentials recognized and find work. The Local speaks to a Swedish union group trying to change that. READ  

Opinion
'Sweden is ruled by unelected policy plotters'
The Swedish government and parliament buildings. Photo: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se

'Sweden is ruled by unelected policy plotters'

Sweden has long been seen as the epitome of a healthy democracy. But in this week's debate article, three researchers argue that an increase in unelected behind-the-scenes operators is threatening accountability in the Swedish political sphere. READ  

Sweden leads health warning for obese mums
Most mums in Sweden are not overweight. Photo: Melker Dahlstrand/Image Bank Sweden

Sweden leads health warning for obese mums

Fitness-consious Sweden has one of the lowest rates of obesity in Europe, but a study of more than 1.2 million children in the Nordic nation has warned that overweight mums are putting their offspring at risk of getting childhood diabetes. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
TIMELINE: Julian Assange sex allegations in Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Forshaga
National
Here's how a Swede became the world's boxing champion
National
Swedes bask in early summer sun
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Leonore meets Pope Francis
Blog updates

24 April

Editor’s blog, April 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Spring has well and truly arrived, as evidenced by the start of strawberry season. The..." READ »

 

15 April

Gång, timme, tid & dags (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! In this article I will talk about “gång”, “timmar”, “dags” and “tid”, because they all translate..." READ »

 
 
 
VIDEO: How did these Swedish cops become New York heroes?
Business & Money
Five crucial things you need to know before you move to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: April 25th
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
How the Stockholm School of Economics changes expat lives
National
What's on in Sweden: April 23rd - 30th
Business & Money
Is this Sweden's priciest flat ever?
National
Brits in Sweden face NHS black hole
Swedish Hasbeens
Sponsored Article
Is the world wrong to connect Sweden with sex?
Business & Money
The Swedish regions where you're least likely to stay jobless
Gallery
People-watching: April 22nd
Sport
Sweden's Eriksson joins row over foreign England player quotas
National
MEP says ignoring migrant crisis like 'Sweden's Holocaust appeasement'
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Swedish mining town that's being moved
National
How much would you pay for first Swedish strawberries of 2015?
Gallery
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Want to study in Sweden? Read why Stockholm is the best choice
Photo: TT
National
Get set for a sunny week in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Does far-north Sweden have to punch above its weight?
National
Refugees in Sweden fear for families lost at sea
National
Syria claims ‘most dangerous’ Isis leaders are Scandinavian
Gallery
People-watching: April 18th
National
Swedish researchers pore over link between coffee and cancer
Features
What you can buy in Sweden for the price of a London shed
National
What's on in Sweden this week
National
Swedes launch first donut into space
Politics
Is Sweden returning to 1990s social democratic welfare politics?
National
Mamma Mia! Abba entertainment venue set to open in Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: April 15th
National
Why Sweden is top place in the world for expats to raise children
National
Swedish 'submarine' was civilian boat
National
Why has a US town got pulled into a Swedish spelling row?
Gallery
Property of the week: Hovås, Gothenburg
National
What does Zlatan think of his ban?
National
Swedish teenagers help rebuild Breivik massacre island
National
Would you live in a steel box?
National
How an act of kindness by one Syrian immigrant went viral
Gallery
People-watching: April 8th
National
Swedish bids for Billboard fame
National
Swedish monkeys denied Saudi visas
National
Sunny spring weather predicted
Sponsored Article
'Impossible' to run Skanska without Bromma Airport
National
Half of Swedes want begging ban
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
'Sweden must embrace openness and diversity'
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

3,330
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
?>