Fans Created Audacity Clone To Bypass Data Collection Policies

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Audacity has long been a fan favorite audio editing app for its straightforward features and zero dollar low and low price. The team behind the software angered fans this week by sending out a privacy notice announcing that Audacity will now collect user data such as IP addresses.

The notice, which was published on company website July 2, states that Audacity may collect personal information such as IP address, location, operating system version and “data necessary for legal proceedings and requests from authorities.” Audacity also said that although the data is stored on servers based in the EU, the company would occasionally be required to “share your personal data with our main office in Russia and our external counsel in the United States.”

Users were understandably upset by the sudden change of mind and policy – some went so far as to call it “spyware possible”- so they went ahead and created a new version of Audacity with no possibility of data collection. At this point, Audacity has essentially rescinded the problematic privacy policy, but the damage is already done, as far as some are concerned.

It’s open source for you – Audacity’s claim to fame has been its commitment to being free and open source since its first release over two decades ago. By its very nature, Audacity source code has always been open to the public – and that’s exactly how coders were able to create an almost identical replica of the program without Audacity’s new data collection openings.

A Twitter user by the name of Cookie Engineer created such a fork which has garnered a lot of interest from the Audacity community. Cookie engineer, cybersecurity analyst, Recount Motherboard they were concerned about allowing the new privacy policy for the use of servers outside the EU, “where the Wild West of cyber espionage is legitimized”. Cookie Engineer removed Audacity code from all networking capabilities and update checks.

Boldness goes back – Audacity says the outrage online boils down to a simple misunderstanding. The director of corporate group strategy, Daniel Ray, posted a clarification on GitHub on July 5 in an attempt to reassure users that the data collected is very limited and never sold to third parties. Ray also said Audacity will work with its legal team to revise the policy and communicate that intention more clearly.

“Part of the problem here is that privacy policies are written in legal language,” Ray said. Motherboard. “There was a communication failure. Take the line on Russia, for example. We have to say this under GDPR because our system administrator is physically in Russia. “

However, this clarification is not sufficient for some users. Some fear that Audacity’s new owner, Muse Group, is up to something fishy – Muse, which in turn is owned by a Russian company called WSM Group, acquired Audacity in May 2021 after many years of independence.

Ray says Audacity will continue to be open source and that all data collection is done simply to improve the project. “There shouldn’t be any controversy about making free software better,” he says. Unfortunately, the vague privacy policy has already taken its toll. It will take more than a quick follow-up to convince Audacity fans that the software isn’t changing for the worse.



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