Subject Material

Angry Birds:  Is the App Really a Trap?

Published: 18.01.2011, Updated: 04.03.2017
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Maybe you are one of the millions who have purchased the latest smartphone. The little gadgets are really smart – and it is hard not to be enthusiastic and impressed by what they can do. All the applications that can be downloaded for a small cost make your iPhone or Android a fascinating little companion. But beware – the app may be a trap set up by people with dubious intentions.

Angry Birds 

This app has been rated by thousands of users as the best app in the Apple store.You are supposed to get birds going for eggs. But there is a catch – it’s not only the eggs they are after; they will save information about the user and create a profile that can be used for different purposes, without the user’s consent.

“Angry Birds” downloaded by 43 million“Angry Birds” downloaded by 43 million

Knowing that you are being surveyed and profiled by using your phone may well give you an eerie feeling, and leave you with the question: Is this legal? In some cases, application producers have allegedly sold information to marketing companies to map prospective customers’ personal profile. Apple is facing a law suit on these accusations, but they claim to follow strict regulations of privacy.

The Wall Street Journal has tested different iPhone and Android applications, and has found that out of 101 apps, 56 would leave the UDID number (Unique Device Identifier), identifying the user’s personal profile and even behaviour. The UDID is not possible to delete on your phone.

Whacking angry birds may be an entertaining pastime, but your gaming score is not all that is left on the phone… Check the links below for more information:

Discuss

  1. How can a downloaded application give information about the user?
  2. Do you see any benefits from this mapping of personal profiles?
  3. Why has the issue caused a debate?