Is China spying on Clubhouse users? | Digital Trends Spanish


Although it is officially prohibited in China, users of the Clubhouse social network could have been victims of espionage by the authorities of that country.

This was suggested by a report from the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), which found multiple vulnerabilities in the audio-only platform for iOS devices.

According to the SIO report, the startup Agora, based in Shanghai and Silicon Valley, is responsible for providing support for back end to the application.

However, data such as user IDs and chat rooms were transmitted over the internet as plain text, which can be easily intercepted, according to the Observatory.

“Any observer of internet traffic could easily compare the identifications in shared chat rooms to see who is talking to whom. For users in mainland China, this is concerning, ”wrote SIO.

The entity revealed problems that turn out to be “easy to discover” because they represent an immediate security risk for millions of Clubhouse users, especially those in China.

Clubhouse was not available on Apple’s app store in China, but users could install it manually and access audio rooms, without having to use a VPN to access the platform.

However, it was blocked on February 8, after issues such as the Uighur concentration camps in Xinjiang and the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests were discussed in chat rooms, among other issues deemed sensitive by the Chinese authorities.

Clubhouse promises improvements

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A Clubhouse spokesperson said that “with the help of Observatory researchers, we have identified some areas in which we can further strengthen our data protection.”

In this way, the company will incorporate encryption and additional locks to prevent customers from transmitting pings to Chinese servers, and consider hiring an external security company to review and validate these changes.

Meanwhile, an Agora spokesperson quoted by Reuters agency assured that the company does not store personal data and that it does not route voice or video traffic from China generated by users outside the country.

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