Blockchain.info: Is your privacy safe with them?

Presearch Privacy Reviews is a series dedicated to reviewing the privacy of all the biggest tech companies. We hope to give you the information you need to enhance your own privacy and make educated decisions that companies would rather you avoid.

This week privacy expert Dylan Curran combs through Blockchain.info’s privacy policy to find out if your data is safe while you use their platform.

Blockchain.info (we’re going to refer to it from here-on-in as Blockchain for the purposes of this article) is a bitcoin explorer service as well as a crypto-currency wallet, supporting Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum. They also provide Bitcoin data charts, stats, and market information.

Curran has not found any scandals or data breaches that they have been involved in to date. Blockchain states that ‘privacy is of the utmost importance’ and that they ‘recognize the significance of protecting information’.

COLLECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

When you use Blockchain’s service, they lay out what information they collect from you:

Information You May Provide Us:

Your phone number;

Your email address;

Your virtual currency addresses;

Your business card;

Your alias;

Your password;

Your mobile PIN code.

This information is par for the course, and is used to verify your account as well as yourself as per US regulation when depositing and withdrawing Bitcoin.

The next section is ‘Information we collect about you’, which is fairly standard except for a few stand-out points:

Information We Collect About You:

Log Information — such as the type of browser and version you use, last access time of your wallet, the IP address used to create the wallet and the most recent IP address used to access the wallet

“What I would be worried about here,” Curran begins, “is that the reason you may want to use a crypto-wallet is to maintain some sort of hidden identity or at least not open your transactions up to a company, however if you’re using Blockchain then you’re opening yourself up to them logging your crypto transactions and tying them not only to your IP address, but also to the personal information tied to the account. I would be very careful of how I use a Blockchain wallet.”

Information Collected About Your Device:

Hardware model, operating system and version, unique device identifiers, and mobile network information.

“ It’s important to note though, that this information is anonymized and not tied to any particular person,” Curran explains.

Address Information:

When you create a wallet through our Services, you may choose to generate a public and private key pair. When you log out of the wallet, we collect an encrypted file, that, if unencrypted, would contain these keys, along with your transaction history. When you enable notifications through your Account Settings, we will collect the unencrypted public key in order to provide such notifications. Under no circumstances do we ever collect an unencrypted private key from you, nor can we decrypt any wallet file data.

“This just means that Blockchain is not storing your keys unencrypted,” Curran explains. “However this does not mean that they cannot tie your IP address and information to a wallet’s public key address, nullifying the entire pseudo-anonymous aspect of Bitcoin.”

USE OF PERSONAL DATA

We Will Use Your Information To:

Understand and meet your needs and preferences in using our Services;

Develop new and enhance existing service and product offerings;

Manage and develop our business and operations;

Carry out any purposes for which we have received your consent;

Meet legal and regulatory requirements.

It is no secret that Curran is not a fan of Google Analytics and he is happy to point out his reservations on Blockchain’s use of the service.

“Blockchain also states that they use Google Analytics, and as I’ve said in previous videos, this is a worrying aspect to the site. If I were you, and you’re planning on using Blockchain, just install Ghostery, UBlock, or any other similar advertising and tracking blocking tool so Google doesn’t get to steal your information while you’re casually using a Blockchain crypto-wallet.”

Good advice from a privacy expert.

THE VERDICT

“There’s not a whole lot happening here outside the standard procedures enacted in most privacy policies, the only part that actually does worry me is that they’re tying your personal information to your crypto-wallet and also tying in your IP address every time you access said wallet, if you’re planning on using Blockchain’s crypto-wallet for privacy reasons, I would heavily advise against it. However, if you’re just a casual Bitcoin user, then I don’t see anything wrong with using it. For these reasons, I give Blockchain a 4/5 star rating.”

Thank you for watching the video, we make these privacy reviews so you don’t have to read the policies yourself. To support us, please like and share the video, subscribe to the channel, and go to Presearch.org to create an account.

There you have it, another Presearch Privacy Review in the bag. Blockchain gets docked points for their use of Google Analytics. If you do use Blockchain.info it does not hurt to use a blocking tool. In fact, it might
help you.

Presearch is a decentralized search framework that doesn’t collect your personal information. They provide access to over 80 different search providers (including Blockchain) while allowing you to earn Presearch rewards just for searching. Even if you don’t care that Presearch doesn’t collect your data, they offer the benefits of all the best search engines combined for fast and convenient results. Go to Presearch.org and start earning rewards today.

Presearch is building a decentralized search engine — visit www.presearch.io or https://twitter.com/presearchnews for more info