ConsenSys CEO Refutes Claim That MetaMask Collects User IPs

25 November 2022, 21:45 GMT+0000
Updated by Ryan James
25 November 2022, 21:45 GMT+0000
In Brief
  • ConsenSys CEO Joseph Lubin explains MetaMask's use of user IP addresses after an updated privacy policy revealed questionable data collection policies.
  • Lubin denies that MetaMask collects IP addresses, despite a community engineer admitting to the same on Nov. 24, 2022.
  • Privacy advocates including Edward Snowden have cried foul, calling the inability to opt out of data collection a crime.
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ConsenSys CEO and Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin claims that the self-custodial MetaMask wallet ConsenSys develops does not collect IP addresses.

This comes after privacy enthusiasts slammed ConsenSys’ new privacy policy for prioritizing corporate goals over decentralized objectives.

MetaMask only uses IP for routing, claims Lubin

In a lengthy Twitter thread, Lubin said that rather than MetaMask collecting user IP addresses, it sends the IP address to a Remote Procedure Call (RPC) provider responsible for managing the data exchange between the user and the blockchain.

For example, MetaMask can ask its default RPC provider Infura to send signed transactions to the blockchain for execution. Infura needs the blockchain address to send the request and uses the user’s IP address to send the execution results back to them. 

Lubin emphasized that “Infura does not exploit this data,” and that the RPC provider is working to reduce its data collection. He reaffirms the company’s commitment to providing customers with services that do not exploit their data, contrasting it with so-called Web 2 companies that earn money in this way.

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Lubin notes that work is underway to create decentralized RPC providers. Still, more tech-savvy MetaMask users can point their application to an alternative RPC or their own blockchain node.

MetaMask IP collection sparks Twitter outrage

Lubin’s tweetstorm comes two days after the release of an updated ConsenSys privacy policy. In the policy, the company said it might use collected personal information to comply with anti-money laundering and Know-Your-Customer requirements and in business transactions such as mergers and acquisitions. 

ConsenSys Privacy Policy
Source: ConsenSys

ConsenSys community engineer, Manbir Singh Marwah, seemed to confirm the collection of IP addresses in MetaMask in a separate tweet on Nov. 24, 2022 but denied that ConsenSys collects private keys, which would put user funds in their hands.

After the privacy policy was released, the Twitter community accused ConsenSys of violating the privacy principles of Web3.

Adama Cochran of Cinneamhein Ventures said that the new policy constituted an unacceptable violation of consumer privacy. At the same time, former NSA employee-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden called the inability to opt out of data collection a crime. Snowden also wanted to know whether ConsenSys had ever collected users’ wallet addresses.

https://twitter.com/Snowden/status/1596221959893053440?s=20&t=LIMkMJV-012qRNB_Lu265w

Additionally, Ethereum validator mysticryuujin.eth pointed out that changing the RPC provider for MetaMask is challenging.

Lubin said that the company apologizes for any confusion the policy may have sparked.

For Be[In]Crypto’s latest Bitcoin (BTC) analysis, click here.

Disclaimer

BeInCrypto has reached out to company or individual involved in the story to get an official statement about the recent developments, but it has yet to hear back.