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Zoom, Houseparty under scrutiny for privacy violations

Zoom, a professional video conference app, has become the most-downloaded Android app in India and currently has over 50 million downloads on play store.

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | April 8, 2020 | Updated 16:29 IST
Zoom, Houseparty under scrutiny for privacy violations
Video conferencing apps Zoom and Houseparty have climbed to the top of the download charts on Google Play Store.

Lockdown due to coronavirus has forced people around the world to desperately seek out new tech solutions, including video conferencing.

Video conferencing apps Zoom and Houseparty have climbed to the top of the download charts on Google Play Store.  

Zoom, a professional video conference app, has become the most-downloaded Android app in India and currently has over 50 million downloads on play store.

Houseparty, a less formal video chatting app, allows users to enjoy virtual house parties, offering games and other interactive features. It provides users with Rooms that can be locked to limit conversations or can be left open for strangers to join. Houseparty downloads have soared to 10 million-plus, from 651,694 recorded on March 24, 2020.

However, many are questioning the safety of these apps after rumours of hacked accounts circulated on social media.

Zoom is reported to have a bug that can be abused intentionally to leak information of users to third parties. The app is also accused of falsely claiming calls are end-to-end encrypted when they are not.

Tech website Motherboard had earlier reported that the app shares user information with Facebook irrespective of whether a user has an account on Facebook or not.

Meanwhile, users have lodged complaints that Houseparty has a vulnerability which permits hacking of user's other app accounts and their personal information like emails, online banking details etc.

Social media users posted screenshots online alleging they were being locked out of Netflix, Spotify and even their online banking after downloading Houseparty.

Both apps have denied allegations of security threat. Houseparty has even cried foul.

Houseparty's official Twitter account posted: "We are investigating indications that the recent hacking rumours were spread by a paid commercial smear campaign to harm Houseparty. We are offering a $1,000,000 bounty for the first individual to provide proof of such a campaign to bounty@houseparty.com."

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