Popular games have been sending data to numerous third-parties, and developers are unsure of what information is being sent and who is receiving it, according to recent studies.
For instance, Angry Birds has been knowingly sending advertising information to 43 parties, according to Vox.
Rovio, the developer of the game, may also be unaware of the data being sent to third-party software development kits (SDKs).
Game developers may be unsure of the data their games are collecting about their users, or how the data is being used. This is because of the way mobile games are created. They are filled with code provided by other companies.
“The intricacies of gameplay data can tell you a lot about what makes people tick, and what’s going on with them,” said University of Toronto researcher David Nieborg to Vox. “These people are really pushing the technology to the limits where the potential for abuse is massive.”
Vox found that Rovio was unaware of ad-related SDKs in its game code. A spokesperson from Rovio told Vox that the company has preferred not to include third-party SDKs in games. However, the spokesperson said that’s “not an option that is always available nor possible.”
It should be noted that most of the data collected by games is probably used for minor things, such as presenting personalized ads to users.
On the other hand, it is evident that data capture behaviours are not transparent. Developers or hackers could potentially misuse the data collected by the games.