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`pushers` table contains user device names, which may include user real names #5830

reivilibre opened this issue Aug 8, 2019 · 2 comments


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commented Aug 8, 2019

The device_display_name column in pushers may be considered to contain personally-identifiable information.

Specifically, on my homeserver (which consists mostly of my real-life friends), I observe:

  • RiotX/Andoid device_display_name corresponds to a devices.device_id – probably not PII or an issue
  • Riot/Android device_display_name typically corresponds to a model of Android device — e.g. 'Moto G (5)'
  • Riot/iOS device_display_name typically corresponds to '<user's real name>'s iPhone'
    • Usually just first name, but in one instance, also their last name.
    • It does not always correspond to this – it seems to be user-configurable as one of them is a bit of a funny string that has almost definitely been typed in by my friend somewhere
    • I am not an iOS user so cannot really comment.

Do note that this is not the same as the devices table – I'm not sure if these device_display_name are displayed anywhere to users in actual Riot clients.
It can, however, be pulled out with the GET /_matrix/client/r0/pushers.

With that in mind, it seems like it might be an issue belonging to clients rather than Synapse, but it's perhaps worth thinking about. In general, I would personally prefer to keep personal information (that hasn't been end-to-end encrypted) out of my database. It is my suspicion that users aren't aware that this information is being transmitted, and are not being given the choice to remove it.


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commented Aug 8, 2019

I think the iOS case is the iPhone's name, which can be set in General>About (last time I used iOS anyways).

Most likely not entered on in Riot iOS.


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commented Aug 8, 2019

If we don't use it for anything then we should remove it. Need to confirm that it really is redundant.

@neilisfragile neilisfragile added this to Holding Pen in Homeserver Task Board via automation Aug 8, 2019
@jryans jryans added phase:3 and removed phase:2 labels Sep 27, 2019
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