Periscope’s first privacy foul-up

Periscope, trombone and some lardPeriscope, the live-streaming video app from Twitter, has had its first privacy goof – just days after launch.

One of the features boasted by the app is its ability to broadcast a live stream of what’s going on around you to either the world (“public”) or a smaller audience of your choosing (“private”).

However, in a series of tweets the Periscope team has admitted that the current version of the app can leak the title of a live streaming video even if you have chosen to keep it private.

Periscope options

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As The Register reports, the Periscope tweeted a warning to users earlier today:

Bug report that we want to make our users aware of:
If Tweet option is ON, and then you switch to private broadcast mode, the app will accidentally tweet the title of your broadcast. Your video IS STILL PRIVATE. The link WILL NOT load video or audio. Only intended participants can view the broadcast in the app. In the meantime, A temporary solution is to disable the Twitter button before tapping the private lock icon. This will disable tweeting We’re very sorry and worked to fix this bug as soon as we discovered it. Should be live in the App Store soon (we will confirm when it is)

In short, if you forget to turn off the Twitter button before broadcasting a private video stream – the video content itself remains private, but the title will be shared on Twitter with all of your followers.

Which is probably okay if the video is called “test”, but not so good if it’s something like “See what I’m doing with this trombone, a terrapin and half a pound of lard.”

Check out more privacy concerns raised by Periscope.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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