Leading Crypto Wallet MetaMask Reveals it Collects User Data, Faces Backlash From Community

Source: AdobeStock / Vladimir Kazakov

Ethereum (ETH) software firm, ConsenSys, updated its online privacy policy on Wednesday, proclaiming that the most popular crypto wallet MetaMask is going to be collecting certain user data – disgruntling the privacy-loving crypto community. The wallet co-founder, however, stated that this is “fixed soon.” 

On November 23, ConsenSys printed an update of their online privacy policy, which describes how the organization “collects, uses, shares, and stores private information of users of their websites,” including consensys.internet, metamask.io, infura.io, consensys.internet/quorum, diligence.consensys.internet, and codefi.consensys.internet. 

A portion of the publish adopts describing information collected by Infura, the default Remote Procedure Call (RPC) provider in MetaMask. The organization mentioned that,

“If you use Infura as the default RPC provider in MetaMask, Infura will collect your Ip as well as your Ethereum wallet address whenever you send a transaction.” 

Infura is really a tooling suite accustomed to create applications that connect with the Ethereum network. Both Infura and MetaMask belong to ConsenSys. 

RPCs allow communications with servers remotely, plus they supply the execution of programs inside a separate location. In blockchain terms, RPCs allow use of a web server node around the specified network and let users to speak and communicate with that blockchain.

There’s a means, however, for neither of the products to gather information, though this method may, too, include privacy-related risks. 

ConsenSys authored that,

“If you are making use of your own Ethereum node or perhaps a third-party RPC provider with MetaMask, then neither Infura nor MetaMask will collect your Ip or Ethereum wallet address (but you should know your data is going to be susceptible to whatever information collection done by the RPC provider you use as well as their terms regarding such collection).”

When it comes to information the organization collects with the above-mentioned sites, included in this are user-provided data, for example identity information (name, username, gender, birth date, etc.), profile information (including password), contact, financial and transaction information, amongst others. 

There’s also data that’s collected instantly, for example log data and browsed pages featuring on ConsenSys websites, in addition to information acquired using their company third-party sources.

The organization also stated it has hired an information Protection Officer, whose task is to make sure that it matches “responsibilities under relevant data protection legislation.”

‘This could be fixed’

Once journalist Colin Wu shared this news from the updated policy on Twitter and reactions began moving in, MetaMask co-founder Dan Finlay leaped in, claiming the users’ IP addresses aren’t really getting used for anything.

He authored,

I believe we are able to have this fixed soon. We’re not using IP addresses even if they’re being temporarily stored, that they don’t have to be, as we are not with them for anything.

Finlay continued to describe that, in the opinion, as it is not in use, it’s “not really worth freaking people out,” so correcting it ought to be rather simple. For how quickly that may be, he stated it would need to be following the holiday, because the USA celebrates Thanksgiving today. 

The community’s reaction was quick

Finlay wasn’t exaggerating as he stated everyone was losing it. 

MetaMask is a well-liked wallet, and also the community did not react well towards the news, with lots of quarrelling for that push towards Web3 and decentralized finance (DeFi), with robust user privacy protections in position, out of the box the “ethos of crypto” – rather of embracing Web2 and centralized services. 

Others defended ConsenSys, proclaiming that the organization is attempting to become transparent and provide options.

There have been also individuals searching into other potential options.

Ethereum educator and advocate Anthony Sassano recommended switching RPC providers, proclaiming that doing that on MetaMask is “trivially simple and easy , there are many good alternatives available nowadays. […] Obviously, the very best alternative is by using your personal full node being an RPC,” he contended.

Some, meanwhile, wondered why this transformation would matter when ‘everybody’s doing it’.

Decentralization advocate Chris Blec contended that these kinds of policies shouldn’t be overlooked. “This is the way you’ll be canceled in the economic climate within the not-so-distant future. This is the way they’ll get it done,” he authored. 


Find out more: 
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