Is hamro keyboard collecting our passwords ?- TechVerse.info
May 10, 2020

Is “Hamro Keyboard” really collecting user passwords and personal details?

By Nirdesh Pokharel

It has been alleged that Hamro Keyboard, which is designed to type in the Nepali language on mobile phones, collects personal information including passwords and credit card details. Developed by the popular Nepali Calendar ‘Hamro Patro‘ team, this app is collecting such information with the permission of the user. 

As soon as you install and enable Hamro Keyboard after downloading, there will be a pop-up notification as a precaution, ‘Hamro Keyboard can collect data of all the characters you typed along with personal information like password, credit card number.’ 

But Hamro Keyboard is not the only app that receives notifications saying it collects such data. Google’s Gboard, Giffy Keyboard, Swift Keyboard and others are asking for permission saying that they can collect personal data in the same way. Launched four years ago, Google Gboard remembers words typed by users, which helps to spell correctly and predict possible searches. 

However, such data would only be saved on the user’s device and would not be accessible by apps other than Google and Gboard itself. Swift Keyboard’s developers said it can’t remember the password and credit card number in the password field. 

They made it clear in their support section, “This warning message is coming from Google. It’s just a matter of the Android operating system showing up when a third-party keyboard is enabled. ‘ 

‘Hamro Keyboard’ app maker Santosh Devkota, the managing director of Hamro Patro, says that Google sends such notifications by default instead of themselves. “You don’t even need a login or ID to use Hamro Keyboard,” he says, “so we don’t have to collect highly personal and sensitive user data.” Hamro Keyboard has nothing to do with user data. ‘ 

Devkota understands that mobile manufacturers and operating systems may be doing this to discourage other keyboards. He said that such notification was sent after the arrival of Google’s Gboard. 

Cybersecurity expert Narayan Koirala says that not only the keyboard but every app is collecting personal details unnecessarily. 

“Platforms such as the Google Play Store, iOS App Store and GDPR have made it a rule not to collect personal data without the user’s permission,” he said. ., ‘ 

Koirala says that such data is being collected by informing the users that the data is being collected unknowingly at the beginning. He goes on to say, “They’re collecting data they don’t need.” If you are not ready to give data, there is no option but not to run the app. ‘ 

Koirala has advised the users to download the app only from the official app store, give as little access to the app as possible and not use the app unnecessarily. ‘I myself have been running very few apps. Apps can be set in settings. 

Santosh Sigdel, a lawyer familiar with cyber law, claims that the app is not allowed to collect such person’s highly personal information. “Even if you collect information such as phone numbers and email IDs, you can’t collect sensitive information like passwords.” 

He says, ‘In an app created by a Nepali developer, we learn to create our own standards. But it is equally important to have a separate body at the government level to determine whether to protect personal data and what kind of details to collect. ‘ 

Information technology expert Rajiv Subba says it is unfortunate that there is no mechanism to determine such issues. “There is no excuse for data collection in the name of the privacy policy and consent,” he said. 

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