Installing Houseparty App Could Be Your Biggest Privacy Blunder

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HOUSEPARTY

In the wake of Coronavirus pandemic and people being asked to stay indoors, video conferencing apps and other telecommunications tools are witnessing a huge spike in traffic.

But it’s nothing like Epic Games Houseparty app, which has boomed in popularity among teens and adults alike. Over 2 million app downloads were registered last week itself. First launched in 2016, the video chat app enables users to play games during the video call.

However, everything that glitters is not gold. Experts warn that the Houseparty app could be collecting “a worrying amount of personal information.”

Ray Walsh from ProPrivacy told Digital Trends that “this includes geo-location data — which could, in theory, be used to map the location of each user.”

He was particularly worried about the data collected when users link popular social media platforms to the Houseparty app to sign in.

Last week, another popular video conferencing app called Zoom was found sending personal data to Facebook without mentioning it anywhere on its privacy policy. While Zoom was quick to fix it, Houseparty is yet to make changes in the app, and experts believe it should start with its privacy policy.

Suzanne Vergnolle, a privacy expert, tweeted that the Houseparty’s s privacy policy and app permissions likely do not comply with GDPR standards, a set of rules set by the European Union to protect user data. Vergnolle also said the app tracks users by default and does not entertain data deletion requests.

Interestingly, Housepary hasn’t updated its privacy policy since June 2018, and GDPR laws were implemented only two weeks later. Houseparty is yet to comment on the matter.

ProPrivacy experts noted that turning off location data and making chat rooms private could reduce any extreme data collection related to location. But doing this won’t have any effect on the very data collection nature of the app.

Charanjeet Singh

Charanjeet Singh

Charanjeet owns an iPhone but his love for Android customization lives on. If you ever ask him to choose between an iPhone, Pixel or Xiaomi; better if you don't.
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