Stanford Internet Observatory, affiliated with Stanford University, announced that a Chinese company is providing an infrastructure service to the drop-in audio chat application Clubhouse and that the Chinese government is likely to have access to the data.
A Chinese warning came from Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) for Clubhouse, a voice chat application with an increasing number of users recently.
According to Bloomberg’s report, SIO concluded that there are potential weaknesses in the software infrastructure of Clubhouse, the US-based application, that could allow external access to user voices data.
Clubhouse has announced that it will review data security.
CHINESE COMPANY PROVIDES INFRASTRUCTURE
In the SIO report, it was stated that Shanghai-based Chinese Agora company, which has offices in Silicon Valley in the USA, provided software infrastructure to Clubhouse and sold a real-time audio and video interaction platform.
In the report, it was emphasized that user IDs in the form of serial numbers are transmitted in plain text over the internet, it is possible to access the raw voices of Clubhouse users of the Chinese Agora company, and this situation potentially provides access to the Chinese government.
Stating that any internet traffic monitor can easily match user identities of who is talking to whom in Clubhouse chat rooms, SIO pointed out that this is annoying for Chinese users.
POSSIBLE TO TRANSFER TO CHINA
SIO, a program at Stanford University in the United States that conducts studies on disinformation on the internet and social media platforms, suggested that they observed the metadata of a speaking room at Clubhouse being transmitted to servers they thought were in China.
The report argued that all unencrypted data is likely to be transmitted to the Chinese government via servers in China, with the Chinese government able to collect Clubhouse’s metadata without accessing Agora’s networks.
The report also cited Agora’s allegations that they did not store user voices or metadata, which meant they did not have any recordings even if the Chinese government requested it, that the voice recordings were stored in the USA, and that the Chinese government was unlikely to access them.
CLUBHOUSE WILL TAKE A STEP
The report also included Clubhouse’s statement on the subject. The company announced that they will implement additional encryption for data security, and also plan to negotiate with a data security firm to review and verify their changes.