LONDON - Documents leaked by former NSA contactor Edward Snowden suggest that spy agencies have a powerful ally in the apps installed on smartphones across the globe.

The documents, published by The New York Times, the Guardian, and ProPublica, suggest that the mapping, gaming, and social networking apps available on smartphones can feed America’s National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ spy agency with huge amounts of personal data.

Little is known about the scope and scale of the program, but all three publications outlined how data could be harvested from apps such as the Angry Birds game franchise or Google’s popular mapping service.

The NSA said Monday it focused on "valid foreign intelligence targets." GCHQ did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

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