Venmo app default "public" setting exposes transaction histories


In 2018, the Berlin-based researcher Hang Do Thi Duc concluded after analysing more than 200 million public transactions made in 2017 that anyone can track the purchase history of a user of the peer-to-peer payment app Venmo. By accessing the data via an open API, Do Thi Duc was able to view the names, transaction dates, and messages sent with payment for all users who hadn't changed their settings to private. Venmo's default setting is "public", and does not clearly highlight how to change it during set-up. Do Thi Duc has showcased her findings on her website, "Public by Default".

Writer: Olivia Solon
Publication: Guardian

See more examples
Related learning resources