Houseparty owns whatever you say in its app, can track you & won’t delete your details even if you ask for it

    Houseparty’s privacy policy page states that it can track you using different tools even if you opt-out, won’t delete all your data from servers, can’t guarantee 100% security and owns whatever you chat about inside the app.
    By: HT CORRESPONDENT
    | Updated on: Apr 01 2020, 16:54 IST
    Houseparty’s privacy policy page states that it can track you using different tools even if you opt-out, won’t delete all your data from servers, can’t guarantee 100% security and owns whatever you chat about inside the app.
    Houseparty’s privacy policy page states that it can track you using different tools even if you opt-out, won’t delete all your data from servers, can’t guarantee 100% security and owns whatever you chat about inside the app. (Houseparty)
    Houseparty’s privacy policy page states that it can track you using different tools even if you opt-out, won’t delete all your data from servers, can’t guarantee 100% security and owns whatever you chat about inside the app.
    Houseparty’s privacy policy page states that it can track you using different tools even if you opt-out, won’t delete all your data from servers, can’t guarantee 100% security and owns whatever you chat about inside the app. (Houseparty)

    Popular group video calling app Houseparty was recently claimed to have been 'hacked' but it was not the case as the company later made it clear that it was a smear campaign. Although one would feel that everything is probably fine and none of the account details of users were compromised, it still doesn't seem to stay completely out of trouble. Suzanne Vergnolle, a legal scholar tweeted some of the loopholes found in the Houseparty app's privacy policy.

    If you are already using the Houseparty app, you have accepted all the terms and conditions mentioned below.

    Owning what you said inside the app: The first piece of questionable information found was Houseparty app's developer, Life on Air, claiming the ownership of everything that you talk about inside the app with your friends and loved ones and the ability to use it anywhere. "You agree that Life on Air is free to use the content of any communications submitted by you via the Services, including any ideas, inventions, concepts, techniques or know how disclosed therein, for any purpose including developing, manufacturing, and/or marketing goods or Services," states the privacy policy page.

    Sharing personal information with business partners: The second, and more serious piece of information coming from the privacy policy is Houseparty's ability to share your 'private information' with its business partners, which have not been mentioned.

    Also read: Forget Houseparty, Google Duo now supports 12 people in a video call

    "We may share Personal Information with our business partners, and affiliates for our and our affiliates' internal business purposes or to provide you with a product or service that you have requested. We may also provide Personal Information to business partners with whom we may jointly offer products or services, or whose products or services we believe may be of interest to you. In such cases, our business partner's name will appear, along with us. We require our affiliates and business partners to agree in writing to maintain the confidentiality and security of Personal Information they maintain on our behalf and not to use it for any purpose other than the purpose for which we provided them."

    Houseparty can still use your 'non-personal' information even after you uninstall the service: The third point made in the privacy policy page is that even if the user opts out, the service can still collect your 'non-personal' information regarding your activities and information from advertisements from third-party websites for non-interest based advertising purposes.

    Vergnolle also tweeted that all the activities by a person on any service falls under GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and is considered as 'personal data', which makes it difficult to consider anything that is 'non-personal'.

    Houseparty users can enable DNT or Do Not Track on their browsers but the service does not respond or 'honor' DNT: That's right, the privacy policy page adds that although users can activate DNT to inform websites that they don't wish to be tracked, Houseparty clearly mentions that "...we do not respond to or honor DNT".

    The service can also use Google Analytics to collect your behavior and demographics information: Houseparty says that it can collect your 'behavior' data and the demographics information using Google Analytics. However, your best bet is to download a browser add-on in order to opt out of it.

    Also read: Working from home? Here are 5 video-conferencing apps you can use for meetings

    Houseparty tracks you by default: Yes, instead of asking for permissions from individual user, the service says that it tracks you by default. It is you who would have to opt-out of it by "blocking, deleting or disabling them on your browser."

    A user can ask them to delete their information but some data will certainly remain on their servers: It has been clearly mentioned that on asking Houseparty to delete your data, they will take steps to remove the information "but some information may remain in archived/backup copies for our records or as otherwise required by the law."

    Houseparty does not guarantee that all your data will stay safe: As pointed out by the legal scholar, the privacy policy page adds that your information is not 100% safe and "we cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you provide to us. We do not accept liability for unintentional closure."

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    First Published Date: 01 Apr, 08:21 IST
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