This posts is a list of all the suspicious things Matrix/New Vector and Element (which is run by Matrix employees) have done.

Crossposted to c/opensource from c/privacy.

I want to start a civil discussion on this topic, if anyone has improvement ideas for the list or wants to debate one of the bullet points for removal, I’m all ears.


The Cloudflare Situation

All research on the Cloudflare situation is done by me.

If you check the SSL Certificate for you’ll see it’s by Cloudflare.

Cloudflare has MANY privacy issues, and just wanting to centralize the web.

The Element client is the most used client, with many users using the default instance, because it’s easy or they want to simply join their friends or a community on Matrix easily. This comes as worrying because Cloudflare decrypts TLS traffic and this is even more worrying because Cloudflare is a honeypot.

Even if Cloudflare cannot decrypt anything because of the Matrix protocol encrypting them beforehand, lots of metadata in the message itself is send over plaintext like who you’re talking with, channel name etc. (and this is excluding the metadata leaks that Matrix has to the main homeserver and in general). Of course, this could be mitigated by using Element on another instance that isn’t behind Cloudflare, but the average user will not know to do that or even understand the concept of federation and decentralization.

Cloudflare’s CDN can be used without using their SSL certificate which just backdoors your site, so why is Element using it? Element is run by the same people that are behind (mostly), so they know how to do basic privacy features.

Even if we assume there’s no ill intent here, Cloudflare just wants to centralize the web (~30% of SSL traffic goes through Cloudflare, ~80% of CDN traffic goes through Cloudflare), which is obviously against Matrix’s mission of decentralized communication.

Through Cloudflare, an adversary with ill intention could target a Matrix user and be susceptible to metadata collection.

The CIA & NSA admitted that they kill people by gathering and using metadata.

I’ve took this argument in the official Matrix channels, and no one has been able to properly respond to the arguments presented. Though, they were only members, no admins were involved.

If anyone wants to bring these issues forth to the official Matrix admins, I’d be more than glad to help. Thanks for reading!

Matrix is still a great project and is one of the only good and privacy-respecting Discord alternatives right now. Services like Discord don’t have any end-to-end encryption so it’s still a good alternative. And there is work being done to encrypt metadata.

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