Technology

Consensys to collect IP address of MetaMask

Released in 2016, MetaMask with over 30 million users globally, has in no time become one of the most popular, trustworthy, and used crypto platforms in the world. This self custodial wallet, which has been a favourite in the market, has recently come under firing after ConsenSys Software Inc., the company that is credited with the development and ownership of Metmask, published in their revised privacy policy agreement that the wallet would collect the IP addresses of users.

In this article, we cover everything you must know about the new developments and what this announcement holds in store for you

What is ConsenSys Software Inc.?

ConsenSys Software Inc. is a blockchain technology platform that aids in the creation and development of various products in the blockchain and Web3 world. It aims at building Ethereum blockchain ecosystems that are efficient and trustworthy. Some of the standout and recognized products by the platform include MetaMask, Infura, Quorum, Truffle, etc.

What is the New Updated Policy of Metamask?

On November 23rd, ConsenSys released its revised and updated policy statement. The part in the entire document that stuck out like a sore thumb to the users was that now during on-chain transactions the MetaMask platform would be collecting and storing the Ethereum wallet addresses as well as the IP addresses of users.

This created quite a discussion on crypto Twitter with people publicly sharing their disappointment. The information gathered would allegedly be shared with business affiliates or for legal requirements regarding Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering.

Even Edward Snowden who has been an advocate of internet privacy and is credited with exposing NSA’s controversial surveillance practices also took to Twitter to express his concerns.

Ran Neuner who is a CNBC Crypto Trader and Founder of Crypto Banter also stated how he thinks this is a huge breach of privacy and advised all users to enable VPNs.

What was the ConsenSys’ response?

As a reaction to the negative sentiments expressed by users and industry experts, ConsenSys has said that the information will be taken only if people use the MetaMask’s default Remote Procedure Call (RPC) application. The Co-founder of Ethereum and ConsenSys Joseph Lubin did take to Twitter to explain the new developments.

He stated that for processing requests for wallets like MetaMask, Infura will have to acquire the knowledge of the IP address of the device from which the request originates and the blockchain address. He said that if this data collection was to be omitted, the “alternative is few or no usable products in web3.” He also made clear that ConsenSys as a company is “dedicated to serving and protecting the end user.”

He also apologised for any miscommunication that was caused due to the ambiguity of the language used in the published policy.

Read the entire Twitter thread.

What are the risks of this?

An IP Address is in fact a unique address that can be used to identify and track a particular device on the Internet. The revealing and sharing of IP addresses can make the user vulnerable to certain risks, especially in the case of crypto.  There is also an additional risk of having malicious entities hijack these available addresses and exploit the information given to them. This can cause a revelation of your geo-location which can result in domino effects of adverse outcomes like identity theft, stalking and cyber attacks.

What can you do to protect yourself?

The most important step you can take to keep yourself protected from such information tracking is by using a VPN. A Virtual Private Network or VPN protects you and your data on the internet by creating an encrypted tunnel for your activity and hiding your IP Addresses. Employing VPN software whilst using MetaMask can do a tremendous job of saving you from leaks or privacy breaches. The other things you can keep in mind are to not store your passwords on the browser and to learn how to spot scams or malware. As a last resort, you can also switch to other wallets that don’t have such privacy policies or move to a hardware wallet that would always keep your funds offline.

Final Verdict

Obviously, the new privacy policy of ConsenSys is a concerning factor for those who use their products like MetaMaks and Infura. Privacy is a very important aspect and must not be taken for granted. However wallets and exchanges tracking your information like IP addresses aren’t new and most platforms do so, with ConsenSys being one of the few who are transparent about it. However, in such a scenario you should hold data protection as an utmost priority. You can use a good VPN to hide your IP address and overall trade with safety and security.

Now read this: Metamask Airdrop Guide

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