TL;DR: “What’s with all the trackers @lightning labs?” co-host of Tales from the Crypt podcast Matt Odell, self-described Hodler, asked over Twitter. And in fact, nearly a dozen trackers were found from companies like Google and Facebook on the newly released Lightning Version: 0.1.1. The company attempted to downplay the discovery, assuring it would remove the trackers and that no transaction data was transmitted to the social media giant.
Lightning Labs Caught Tracking Users: Assures Removal
“We have found code signature of the following trackers in the application” of Lightning, Exodus Privacy revealed. “Amplitude, Facebook Ads, Facebook Analytics, Facebook Login, Facebook Places, Facebook Share, Flurry, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Google Firebase Analytics, Inmobi” were all discovered on version 0.1.1. Eighteen permission were also listed, including one designated “Dangerous: CAMERA (android.permission); Take Pictures And Videos.”
Lightning Labs is the much-touted company in charge of bringing about a second layer solution, Lightning Network, to alleviate the notorious bitcoin core (BTC) scaling issues. The Bay Area startup is funded by Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, Digital Currency Group, The Hive, Eventbrite co-founder Kevin Hartz, BitGo CTO Ben Davenport, and Robinhood co-founder Vlad Tenev, among others.
More than a few critics have charged it’s mostly just rent-seeking by a cabal artificially keeping block sizes small in order to force users off chain and into proprietary hands, such as Lightning Labs. It has been around since 2016 as a formal company, and the ongoing punchline is its product is merely 18 months away. In recent months, however, the startup gained traction among admirers, with cheerleading from backers such as Dorsey, releasing its first mobile app on 20 June 2019 — the very date Exodus found trackers. Reports are its new mobile app has been downloaded some 2,000 times already.
While a few enthusiasts shrugged off tracking as pretty standard for most businesses, admirer Matthew Nelson cautioned, “Yeah, but what are the 2nd order impacts? Someone funds their LN wallet and clicks on the TX ID URL to view it in a block explorer. Whelp, now Google and Facebook have it.” Lightning Labs quickly responded, “We agree it’s unnecessary and are removing it,” insisting, “No transaction data is sent to facebook [sic]. The graph api module is simply part of the default Expo build. It will be removed once we’ve migrated to bare React Native builds.”
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.
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