LaunchKey Privacy

Jul 25, 2013 By Yo

At LaunchKey, we care a lot about privacy. This is something you've probably heard from every company right after they tell you how they've just updated their 40-page privacy policy to help protect you and your rights. Many of these same companies force users to log into their services using Facebook or LinkedIn, often in an effort to scrape personally identifying information. All the while, they are tracking every action you make on their site and affiliated sites in order to more effectively market towards you.

I'd like to explain exactly how we maintain your privacy at LaunchKey and how we go above and beyond to protect you. Let me start by alleviating any potential confusion: LaunchKey is not a traditional identity service, we're an authentication service. We'll never ask for or store your personal information.

If you're already a LaunchKey user, you may recall providing your email address when initially pairing your device. We send a confirmation email to this address in order to establish a baseline identity that provides a safe avenue for you to unpair or link new devices to your LaunchKey account with an external validator you own. Since your email address isn't used outside of these circumstances, there's no reason for LaunchKey to keep your email address in a format where it could be misused. After all, an email address is personal information and that's not what we're after. As such, we one-way hash all email addresses so even we don't know what it is. This is one of the reasons why you need to re-enter your email address when unpairing a device. Without doing so, we wouldn't know where to send the email.

So what information about you does an application receive when you authenticate with LaunchKey? We provide a value that is unique to both you and the application. This means that if you were to authenticate two separate applications owned by the same company, they would have two separate values for you that can't be connected to the other. These values are static and will not change, even if your LaunchKey username changes. This is good because it means when using LaunchKey, you won't need to worry about networks linking your accounts together when they collude or share personal information. Since this value is generated on-the-fly when you authenticate, LaunchKey doesn't know or store this value. This means if someone were to come to us with your unique value, we'd have no way of pulling any data related to you since that unique data can't be used to reference a LaunchKey user.

We do not log IP addresses, location data or intrusive metadata on our users. The data we store relating to our users is high level scope data such as how many users are using our service or total number of paired devices. It's in the benefit of LaunchKey and our users to minimize the amount of user data we hold thereby decreasing the liability retaining such data creates.

Most of the action happens on your device. When you install the LaunchKey app on your device, an RSA key pair and random ID are generated. The public key used to encrypt the data is sent to LaunchKey along with the identifier, that is also one-way hashed, used to associate your device. Although unique, these values don't identify hardware and are associated with the install of the LaunchKey app on that device. When your device receives an authentication request from an app, its public key is used to encrypt the response. Only the app you're authorizing can decrypt this response meaning even LaunchKey staff can't decipher responses or forge responses as users. Therefore, when we notify you that an application is in Orbit or a transaction is successful, it's because the application tells us that's the case. This ensures that what's listed in your Orbit verifiably happened as alleged by the application itself and not because it's the expected state after sending the application your response to their authorization request.

LaunchKey also provides multiple opt-in authentication factors such as the in-app PIN lock, combo lock, and geofencing that empowers a user to control how secure they wish to be. These factors are activated and verified locally on the device with LaunchKey systems taking no part. Information like geo-data is sensitive and private and doesn't belong anywhere except in your hands.

For those with privacy concerns, I hope this post alleviates them, and for everyone in general, I hope I've expanded your view of what it means for a company to take its users' privacy seriously. We take every measure we can to ensure your security and anonymity. If you have any questions, comments, concerns or suggestions on how we can further improve our privacy policies, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Thanks for reading!