To put an end to the controversy over the security of their app, the creators of Elyze have made changes.
The presidential "Tinder" - because the application allows Internet users to find the candidate who suits them best - no longer stores the data of its users, its founders said.
Since Wednesday evening, "all the data" that has been collected "is automatically erased when the user restarts the app", said François Mari, the 19-year-old student who is one of the co-founders of the application and who wrote the code for it. In addition, there is no longer any data collection for new users, he added. Before doing this big wipe, Elyze kept users' choices on different policy proposals, as well as the user's gender, zip code, and date of birth.
Developed by two students, Elyze had been a dazzling success since it went online in early January, managing to climb to the top of downloads in France with more than a million users.
The stated intention was “to combat galloping abstention which is increasing election after election”, by stimulating interest in the electoral campaign.
The code made public
But Elyze was questioned for its security, after a coder specializing in vulnerability research, Mattis Hammel, managed to modify the application to insert a false candidate proposal. Other coders or Internet users have questioned the legality of the data collection carried out by Elyze, in a particularly sensitive area since the application analyzes political choices. The Cnil, the guardian of the privacy of the French in the face of computers and files, had indicated on Monday that it was looking into this application, after being alerted by Internet users.
Faced with criticism, the creators of Elyze therefore proceeded quickly to correct the bug spotted by Mattis Hammel.
They also made the application's code public on the GitHub platform on Wednesday, allowing any third party who wishes to do so to check how the application works - and in particular how it assigns each person their best candidate, according to their expectations in such a situation. or such domain.
Elyze, the application that wants to reconcile young people with voting
Elyze had justified its decision to keep user data by the desire to allow “scientific research”.
Grégoire Cazcarra, co-founder with François Mari, had specified that they were not “intended to be provided to a party or a campaign team”.