Clubhouse Pwned…. And Privacy Concerns Emerge

Bloomberg is reporting that Clubhouse, which is an app that has gained popularity with people in the tech space, has had its chats breached not long after the company claimed to have stepped up security:

A week after popular audio chatroom app Clubhouse said it was taking steps to ensure user data couldn’t be stolen by malicious hackers or spies, at least one attacker has proven the platform’s live audio can be siphoned.

An unidentified user was able to stream Clubhouse audio feeds this weekend from “multiple rooms” into their own third-party website, said Reema Bahnasy, a spokeswoman for Clubhouse. While the company says it’s “permanently banned” that particular user and installed new “safeguards” to prevent a repeat, researchers contend the platform may not be in a position to make such promises.

Users of the invitation-only iOS app should assume all conversations are being recorded, the Stanford Internet Observatory, which was first to publicly raise security concerns on Feb. 13, said late Sunday. “Clubhouse cannot provide any privacy promises for conversations held anywhere around the world,” said Alex Stamos, director of the SIO and Facebook Inc.’s former security chief.

Well that’s not good. And this makes this situation worse:

A week ago, the SIO released a report saying it observed metadata from a Clubhouse chatroom “being relayed to servers we believe to be hosted” in China. Agora’s obligations to China’s cybersecurity laws mean that it would be legally required to assist in locating audio should the government contend it jeopardized national security.

That suggests to me that this app should be avoided regardless of how popular it is. And that’s highlighted by comments made by Lourdes Turrecha, founder and CEO of privacy consulting firm PIX LLC. He wrote on Medium that Clubhouse rolled out its app without much regard for privacy. Turrecha claims that Clubhouse collects not just its users’ personal information but also their contact information. Further, Turrecha says, Clubhouse also accesses users’ Twitter account information without explaining why. That’s not good and maybe those who think that using Clubhouse is the new hot thing to do may now want to think twice.

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