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Clubhouse upped its security after reports came out regarding privacy and China

A new app with privacy concerns? Who would have thought?

clubhouse app on iphone
Image: KnowTechie

Clubhouse is the hot new app that allows users to hop into rooms and either talk with others, or just listen in. It’s a somewhat niche experience for many people, but with access being invite-only right now, people are clamoring to join in on the conversations.

Now, however, a new report from the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) has the app looking to update its security. This is because the SIO found that a Shanghai-based company, Agora, helped manage the social app’s real-time engagement software.

Then, on top of that, the SIO found that certain information from chatrooms transmitted in plain text, including Clubhouse ID numbers and chatroom IDs. Oh, as well as the raw audio from the chatrooms.

The SIO notes, “In at least one instance, SIO observed room metadata being relayed to servers we believe to be hosted in the PRC [People’s Republic of China], and audio to servers managed by Chinese entities and distributed around the world via Anycast. It is also likely possible to connect Clubhouse IDs with user profiles.”

Ok, so this is troubling for anyone obviously, but especially for users in mainland China that managed to get into Clubhouse even with the app not officially being made available there.

SIO alerted Clubhouse of the report. Clubhouse responded, saying, “Over the next 72 hours, we are rolling out changes to add additional encryption and blocks to prevent Clubhouse clients from ever transmitting pings to Chinese servers. We also plan to engage an external data security firm to review and validate these changes.”

That 72 hours have now passed and hopefully new protections are in place. We’ll continue to monitor this. If you are still uneasy, you can always start the process of deleting your Clubhouse account.

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