Crypto

What MetaMask does with your data

“The new general terms and conditions published today are full of meaning,” a Twitter user lamented. ConsenSys, one of the largest blockchain and cryptocurrency companies in the world, is in trouble. “Over 3 years, the company has evolved from the discourse of privacy advocates to the discourse of a data collector,” he added.

On Thursday, November 24, whoever runs the MetaMask decentralized wallet for cryptocurrencies on Ethereum changed the way it works and clearly indicated that it follows the logic of collecting data from its users, despite the completely decentralized nature of its platform. A few hours ago, it was the Uniswap platform that sent the same statements to its customers.

So this is a big change in two major services running on the Ethereum blockchain. Privacy is no longer a priority, and the terms of use for MetaMask and Uniswap call into question the economic model of these tools. The MetaMask digital wallet, similar to web3 Wallet, is useful for more than just spending cryptocurrencies. It is also a way to identify yourself in many decentralized services (DApps). Hence the concern of customers.

“Its formula is very clearly focused on respect for privacy,” CryptoActu wrote in July 2020, describing MetaMask. “The latest V8 update of the project thus allows the user full control over which websites may or may not be accessed when the application is connected. It is also possible to create special accounts for certain sites in order to control the relevant data, ”one could read on their website.

Data received by MetaMask

The change took place without warning. Cryptocurrency journalist Colin Wu reported this while looking into MetaMask’s terms of service. The relevant data refers to the user’s IP address and digital wallet. In other words, they will also be able to recover the provided last names, first names, age, gender, username, and password.

MetaMask co-founder Dan Finlay was quick to respond. He attempted to reassure users by explaining that this collected information was of no use to the service and that he acknowledged that it was a “problem”. These bad practices can be quickly resolved, he says, especially during the holidays after Thanksgiving. In other words, in the coming days. “We do not use IP addresses, even if they are stored temporarily, which is not necessary, because we do not use them for anything.”

This honesty still begs the question of why MetaMask got into trouble for having to collect this information overnight. It also raises the question of whether the Web3 service has collected data in the past without informing the 21 million users. With the FTX case leading to a crisis of confidence in cryptocurrency services, MetaMask may have wanted to remain cautious and announce the existence of this practice while waiting for an opportunity to announce that they are going to fix it.

“Don’t Ignore This Practice”

In principle, you can bypass the fee. MetaMask is not directly responsible for recording IP and Ethereum addresses. This is the Infura toolkit, also owned by ConsenSys, which is used in the protocol as an RPC (remote procedure call) provider that allows transactions (RPCs interact at a distance with blockchain nodes to perform operations).

Once accessed to the MetaMask settings, users can switch services by clicking “Add Network” in your wallet’s networks menu. However, you will again have to find one that does not collect your data. Our colleagues from Journal du Coin suggested using RPC from Ankr.

“Don’t ignore this practice. This is how you will be locked out of the financial system in the not too distant future. That’s how they’re going to do it,” sounded the wake-up call to the controversial character Chris Black on Twitter, an ardent advocate of decentralized finance. “I think there will come a day when, you know, banks will censor people if they violate standards or do not comply with social standards,” he admitted already in July 2021 in an interview with CoinTelegraph.

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