Almost 10 years after its launch, about 200,000 people still use a Xiaomi Mi 2

list of privacy controversies of the fashion social network

Since the beginning of this year, Clubhouse has been defined as the new fashion social network. It is an audio-based platform that, although it was launched on the iOS operating system in April 2020, recorded its highest growth in January 2021. You can only join by invitation, although its creators have promised that it will open to the world in the coming months.

Its business model has attracted a lot of attention, but also raises privacy concerns. To begin with, this website records your conversations or it can keep your data if a friend gives away their contacts without you having to know. other policies regarding the use of Clubhouse that have raised doubts about whether the user you are not putting your privacy at risk.

A few days ago an investigation by the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) said that the Clubhouse social network has presented security problems that have allowed the Chinese government to have access to user data. Specifically, the Stanford researchers have stated that it is even possible that the raw data of the conversations was accessed, along with metadata that includes the ID of the application and the ID of the meeting or room. This data was transmitted without encryption and in plain text.

In addition, Clubhouse confirmed a few days ago that experienced a data breach last Sunday, February 21 Because a user realized that they could be in multiple rooms at the same time, they connected the Clubhouse API to their website and basically shared their login with anyone on the web who wanted to listen to the voice chats from the app.

In addition to these controversies, there are other issues with the basic operation of the Clubhouse that can cause problems privacy for its users.

Four Clubhouse Practices That Raise Privacy Questions

Club House

  • Clubhouse record your audio. One of the "characteristics" of Clubhouse is that it is ephemeral. You can only hear what happens in the moment. You can't save conversations for later, or pause the room you're in. You have to perform live to participate in the experience. That is something that differentiates it, for example, from podcasts, which are recorded and can be listened to at any time. However, despite this, Clubhouse yes it can, and record what you say.

    Specifically, the privacy policy of the application says that: “for the purpose of supporting incident investigations, we temporarily record the audio of a room. If a user reports a policy violation or security incident while the room is active, we retain the audio to investigate the incident and do not remove it until the investigation is complete. If no incident is reported in a room, we remove the temporary audio recording when the room is over. " Now, as Inc explains, if someone reports a problem, everything that has happened in the room is recorded and saved, while Clubhouse does not clarify what happens then. It does not say who can listen to it, or under what conditions.

Jam is the cross-platform, self-hosted and open source alternative to Clubhouse

  • Other people share information about you without you having control over it. This application works by invitation. Even if you decide not to create an account to access the Clubhouse, if a friend or acquaintance of yours has given your information, there is nothing you can do to prevent it. Remember that the application encourages users to upload its entire contact database to be able to send invitations and does not give the ability to share only specific contacts. You have to share all or none, that forces users to give much more data than they would like, and not their own.

    Also, these people who decide to share their contact list don't just give the name. If they connect their profiles on social networks, that information is also collected. Clubhouse specifically says that when "create your account, and / or authenticate with a third-party service such as Twitter, we can collect, store and periodically update the information associated with that third party account, such as lists of friends or followers ".

  • Personal information and how this business will be financed. In general, the way in which social networks market their users' data with third parties to earn money, while companies offer personalized advertising to each person, is a cause of controversy. The launch that Apple is preparing to help its users to block Facebook's abilities to collect personal information, have once again brought this issue to the table.

    How does the Clubhouse make money? According to Inc, one of the biggest questions about this social network is how it intends to make money. Looking at the privacy policy, it is clear that it will probably involve some kind of advertising system or sponsorship. To prepare for this, Clubhouse makes it clear that "you can share personal data with our current and future affiliates." In that same section it is clarified that Clubhouse "may share the categories of Personal Data described above without notifying you. "That means that it does not notify when that personal information, previously provided to Clubhouse, is being used by third parties.

The privacy of conversations in Clubhouse, compromised (and experts are not optimistic about the reaction of the company)

  • Clubhouse tracks its users. The company's privacy policy says that it uses cookies, pixels, and tracking technologies to monitor what you do within Clubhouse, across the web, even though they are not currently monetizing the app. The company's privacy policy explicitly states that they can "share Identification Data and Internet Activity Data with social media platforms and other advertising partners who will use that information to serve you targeted ads on social media platforms and other third party websites - under certain regulations. "

    Therefore, everything indicates that, although now the new fashionable social network is not making money, you are preparing to monetize the platform you are building, thanks to the data of its users.