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Discord is an instant messaging application for MacOS, Windows, Linux, Android, and iOS. Discord is used to communicate via voice chat and text chat, and has image-sharing and file-sharing capabilities.
A big thanks to Richard Stallman for linking to our article here! The spotlight is very much appreciated.
Discord is spyware because it collects all information that passes through its communication platform. As Discord is a centralized communication platform, all communications have to go through Discord's official servers, where all of that information can potentially be recorded. The vast majority of said information has been confirmed to be recorded, such as all communications between users. Discord has also been confirmed to use other spyware features such as various forms of telemetry. Discord's main source of income is from investment, from which it has received over $129 million dollars. Discord cannot be built from source and the source code for Discord is unavailable.
It is impossible to download and examine Discord's source code, which means that it is impossible to prove that Discord is not spyware. Any program which does not make its source code available is potential spyware.
Discord does not explictly confirm that it collects this information, but still collects it:
Discord has been confirmed to monitor the open processes on your operating system. This is a spyware feature known as a "process logger" that is generally used to record your program usage habits. This was confirmed by the CTO of Discord in a Reddit thread. In the same thread, the CTO also confirms that this spyware feature is mandatory and cannot be turned off. The CTO and a Discord engineer go on to claim that Discord does not use the process logger to send records of the open processes on the user's computer; however, this is not verifiable as the truth. What we do know is that Discord contains a process logger and sends encrypted packets to its master servers, meaning that it is impossible to prove that Discord is not sharing the information collected by its process logger.
Discord has exclusively relied on the information that it collects from users to generate investment and income without any user monetization for the first three years of operation (5/13/2015 to 1/23/2017). This means that its main financial incentive is to collect user data, with other sources of income being secondary. Discord managed to sustain 4.2 million concurrent users on its network without any income other than investments. This is likely because it gets almost all of its money from investment and data mining (spying on) its users. Discord has raised $129 million dollars in investment since 2012. Discord has 45 million users, which means that it can collect an immense amount of data using its spyware platform. Its current user monetization service, Nitro, cannot realistically be enough to financially support Discord on its own, especially since the service existed for several years without any money from Nitro. So, there is a strong financial incentive for Discord to sell your information - there is no other way that such a service can feasibly exist at its current level of monetization.
Discord has confirmed in an email correspondence that it does receive government requests for information. So, we know that the government potentially has access to all of the information that Discord collects about you. You can read a copy of the email image posted in the source here in case the link there dies.
2. Why is Discord recording our open programs and uploading them? [web.archive.org] [archive.is]
3. Discord [wayback.archive-it.org] [archive.is]
4. Crunchbase [web.archive.org] [archive.is]
5. Discord Nitro [archive.is]
6. Discord receives government requests. No plans on adding E2E Encryption any time soon. [archive.is] [web.archive.org]
This article was last edited on 5/25/2018
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