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IFF accuses Clubhouse of excessive data collection

New Delhi: The Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), an Indian digital advocacy organisation, has expressed privacy concerns regarding Clubhouse, a popular American audio-only social network. Clubhouses ‘should establish human rights policies and volunteer for civil rights audits,’ said IFF in a blog post.

According to the blog post, the advocacy group also accused the platform of ‘excessive data gathering’ and ‘wide information acquisition.’ This information includes name, email address, contact information, phone number, IP address, device name, operating system, as well as the time, frequency, and length of the interactions with others. ‘Based on the specific authorization, Clubhouse also collects phone numbers in your contact list even if those individuals are not on the platform. This undermines the right to informational privacy of those persons whose phone numbers get exposed to Clubhouse without their knowledge, let alone consent,’ it adds.

The post further said, ‘it shares user data with vendors and service providers, business transferees as well as law enforcement agencies if the need arises. Here again, the scope of consent and clarity on what data is being shared and for how long is lacking.’

Meanwhile, sources claim that government law enforcement agencies like the Intelligence and Narcotics Bureaus have been given the authorization to listen to Clubhouse talks. IFF has filed a request for information (RTI) with the Home Ministry to determine whether the reports are accurate.

Despite the fact that Clubhouse currently does not sell information, the digital rights advocacy organisation claims that there is no structure in place to prohibit data monetisation in the future.


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