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Thread: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

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    Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    App recently bought by Muse Group, wants your data data for "analytics… legal enforcement".
    Read more.

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    Shame.

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    Tragic - highlights the plight of a lot of free / open-source projects that grow popular. Eventually something has to give, as the developers need to earn something for all the time they've invested, however noble their original aims.

    Lets hope the various forks of Audacity live on and continue evolving in good ways.

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    Muse head of strategy Daniel Ray told BBC News that his company has no intention of mining user information for profit. Mostly the app's online comms with the company is intended to be used to notify "users about updates they might miss," indicated Ray.

    We shall have to wait and see the updated privacy policy.

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    Here it seem people have just discovered location logging, after a newspaper buy a batch of info on random Danes from a English data broker.
    One guy had his location logged every few seconds for several days having installed some weather APP.

    People on millitary and intelligence locations was also in the data set.

    These are things EU should come down on much much harder.

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    Quote Originally Posted by mtyson View Post
    Muse head of strategy Daniel Ray told BBC News that his company has no intention of mining user information for profit. Mostly the app's online comms with the company is intended to be used to notify "users about updates they might miss," indicated Ray.

    We shall have to wait and see the updated privacy policy.
    That doesn't necessarily mean that they won't change their stated intent in the future though, and for many this could be enough of a warning that people jump to the forks to prevent being affected by it.

    There's much too long of a history of companies saying one thing then doing another later, and it's certainly not something you want to happen when it involves an open source project, so it's unsurprising that such changes are viewed with a healthy dose of suspicion.

    Which is of course why the open source aspect of it is a good thing, as forks can progress how the community want them to instead if there are any disagreements between parties.

    EDIT: Saracen makes some good points below.
    Last edited by Output; 07-07-2021 at 01:20 AM.

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    The audacity of this!

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    Ironically posting this on their privacy statement is actually a sign of an effort to comply with GDPR and increase transparency.

    What they haven't done is communicated clearly the goal of the change and any benefits that may arise from it very well.

    Of course, that could be because there are only benefits for Muse in nefarious ways but you never know...

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    Muse head of strategy Daniel Ray told BBC News that his company has no intention of mining user information for profit.

    No, they'll mine user information to better understand their customers. They'll sell it for profit though.

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    I think I'm probably about as big a fan of privacy as you're likely to find pretty much anywhere, and I've lost track of how many times I've beencalled (often in jest, but also often not so much) a "tinfoil hat wearer" and so on.

    Yet I think this story is just so much bull effluent, and written (by Foss) in a deliberately sensationalist way. I wonder how many people would be appraently so offended if the 'mother' company wasn't in big-bad-Mother Russia, but in the USA, UK, Germany or wherever? But because it's Russia, naturally it's either those 'orrible Russian hackers or a secret KGB/FSB plot to record our ISPs and work out what we're .... ummm .... editing sound files of? Why would tehy give a ....damn?

    And while I'm no fan of the Russian regime, I don't trust the US, UK or EU authorities much (any) more.

    Those terms about orivacy are pretty much the same as those you'll find in just about anysoftware that collates ANY data at all about users, including those we trust to just be doing it to "improve the product". i.e. collect system data in crash reports, and have a way to notify users of the existence of a new version.

    By a strange coincidence, that's exactly what Audacity appear to be doing. Look at the items reportedly removed in that fork .... crash and error data.

    Audacity say they are expecting to develop the product far more frequently and built in a process to facilitate them notifying users an update is available every few weeks, not every few years and rely on users going to check to find it. The scoundrels.

    /sarcasm off.

    Those terms are pretty much what I've seen in just about very set of T&Cs I've read in about 20 years and much of it is there because to comply with many country's data protection laws, they're required to eclare what they collect, and pretty much anything they might do with it.

    Reporting to "authorities", eh? Well, suppose a cop shows up with a court order for records in a UK or US (or wherever) company? Are they going to tell the cop to take a hike? Nope. They, perhaps after due process (but perhaps not, depending on circumstances) will do what the court requires or end up risking prosecution. And so, they have to declare that they will provide data when legally required to do so.

    They also explicitly state they don't collect "directly identifiable" data, like names, addresses or phone numbers. Nor do they require account creation or profile creation. MS do. Facebook do. For many purposes, Google do. And just about Uncle Tom Cobbly and All, do.

    They do collect IPs .... and store the hashed version, but only very briefly do they store the hash. Of course, collecting my IP will at best led them to my ISP, but more likely, to my software VPN or a client, or VPN running in my router. MS on the other hand.....

    But is Foss bitching about Microsoft? Or just about every other hardware and software manufacturer? Nope.

    I use Audacity. I wasn't even aware this new version of software was even available, let alone installed by Audacity without my explicit permission like ....oh yeah, MS.

    Many of those posts that referred to my tin hat status also pointed out, rather smugly, if you're on the internet, what privacy?

    So why the 'eck is this such a story when what Audacity are doing is nowhere near as nosy or intrusive as what many supposedly reputable, and massively bigger firms do, and the changes to their T&Cs are pretty much what the GDPR requires in order to collect the data needed to analyse crash reports .... which data is pretty much what that fork says it takes back out again.

    So yeah, maybe they should give users the ability to opt in or opt out of crash data reporting. In taht respect, it's badly handled. But unless it's because .... oooh, big bogeyman Russia, it's a world takeover plot, let's all panic ..... it is leagues less intrusive than what Windows does about which most people are "ho-hum, whatever".

    I can't see anything in this privacy policy that isn't in hundreds if not thousands of privacy policies .... probably including HEXUS.

    I'd be interested to see what product Foss suggest we use that's as good, software-wise, as Audacity, and whether free or chargeable, has a privacy policy says says much more.

    As I've often said, using virtually ANY software requires that we either trust, or don't trust, the company. About the only exception is to use fully open source, download the source code, learn how to thoroughly evaluate it, spend ages studying said code and then compile it yourself. Otherwise, you have to take what they say somewhat on trust .... or dig out your packet analyser and try to catch them fibbing.

    If you want privacy, don't use the internet. Put Audacity on a machine behind an air-gap, or install an effective firewall and learn very carefully how to set firewall rules to lock yourself down. Cisco Meraki security appliuances are reputedly pretty good but, well, "ouch" on the hardware cost, very bigh "OUCH" on the software cost oh and, given the user account required and cloud configuration capability, you DO trust Cisco, don't you? And .... why?
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    Quote Originally Posted by maxopus View Post
    Muse head of strategy Daniel Ray told BBC News that his company has no intention of mining user information for profit.

    No, they'll mine user information to better understand their customers. They'll sell it for profit though.
    Apparently, you believe the bits of their T&Cs that, as required, states what info they collect, why, and what they do with it and infer they're selling it, but don't believe the same document when it says, and this is a direct, unedited quote

    We do not sell personal information.
    That's it. No if's, no but's, no exceptions, no caveats, a simple "We don't ...".

    I wonder how many people even read their privacy policy, and how many others they've read?

    And how many people realise the UK government is currently trying to automatically, and without telling you suck your medical records directly out of your GPs records, to then be used pretty much as they see fit?

    And that you can block that if you act soon, but once it's gone up, you cannot influence how it's used.

    And that, were it not for serious concerns raised by the BMA (and others) it would have already been done, and already been too late.

    As it is, you have a few weeks. But act soon, or it won't be your PCs IP address getting "telemetried", it'll be most of your medical records. and this is at least the third time in recent years they government/central NHS have had a try at getting this done.
    A lesson learned from PeterB about dignity in adversity, so Peter, In Memorium, "Onwards and Upwards".

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen999 View Post
    ...

    Yet I think this story is just so much bull effluent, and written (by Foss) in a deliberately sensationalist way.

    ...

    Those terms about orivacy are pretty much the same as those you'll find in just about anysoftware that collates ANY data at all about users, including those we trust to just be doing it to "improve the product". i.e. collect system data in crash reports, and have a way to notify users of the existence of a new version.

    By a strange coincidence, that's exactly what Audacity appear to be doing. Look at the items reportedly removed in that fork .... crash and error data.

    Audacity say they are expecting to develop the product far more frequently and built in a process to facilitate them notifying users an update is available every few weeks, not every few years and rely on users going to check to find it. The scoundrels.

    /sarcasm off.

    Those terms are pretty much what I've seen in just about very set of T&Cs I've read in about 20 years and much of it is there because to comply with many country's data protection laws, they're required to eclare what they collect, and pretty much anything they might do with it.

    ...

    They also explicitly state they don't collect "directly identifiable" data, like names, addresses or phone numbers. Nor do they require account creation or profile creation. MS do. Facebook do. For many purposes, Google do. And just about Uncle Tom Cobbly and All, do.

    They do collect IPs .... and store the hashed version, but only very briefly do they store the hash. Of course, collecting my IP will at best led them to my ISP, but more likely, to my software VPN or a client, or VPN running in my router. MS on the other hand.....

    ...

    I can't see anything in this privacy policy that isn't in hundreds if not thousands of privacy policies .... probably including HEXUS.

    ...

    As I've often said, using virtually ANY software requires that we either trust, or don't trust, the company. About the only exception is to use fully open source, download the source code, learn how to thoroughly evaluate it, spend ages studying said code and then compile it yourself. Otherwise, you have to take what they say somewhat on trust .... or dig out your packet analyser and try to catch them fibbing.

    If you want privacy, don't use the internet. Put Audacity on a machine behind an air-gap, or install an effective firewall and learn very carefully how to set firewall rules to lock yourself down. Cisco Meraki security appliuances are reputedly pretty good but, well, "ouch" on the hardware cost, very bigh "OUCH" on the software cost oh and, given the user account required and cloud configuration capability, you DO trust Cisco, don't you? And .... why?
    You make some very good points.

    I honestly hadn't thought of the actual practical and legally required uses and had pretty much assumed the worst too.

    Although I recalled seeing an earlier article about the new owners wanting to institute a CLA, which was also viewed with suspicion by some.

    I think it would be fair to at least be able to disable telemetry/crash report features in the options and/or on install though.

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    a "tinfoil hat wearer"

    I have heard that too a few times, and all cuz i find some technologies silly and a waste of time, and so i dont use or like them.

    A TV program here did the same years ago, they made a flashlight APP, with a set of permissions that gave them access to everything in the phone, and then they recorded people with the phone MIC and camera.
    Then went to ask them " dont you think you better read what you OKAY the next time you install some APP, and then showed them what they had done with the permissions they had given them.

    If you notice those permissions for pretty much any app, you might wonder why a flashlight APP need to access all your contacts - your mic and camera and so on.

    So if people call me a tinfoil hat wearer i must call them fracking idiots.

    Clearly and for me as expected, people are not getting any smarter when there is phones involved.

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    and here we are talking about online security etc. and yet the whole world is up in arms when Win 11 is trying to beef it up simply....

    As Saracen says the t&c's are the same, if not less, intrusive than the OS on your phone for the majority of users.

    If you don't like it stick with a version pre 3.0 (3.0 adds very very little) or forks are available, or use a different piece of software
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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    Quote Originally Posted by Gentle Viking View Post
    a "tinfoil hat wearer"

    I have heard that too a few times, and all cuz i find some technologies silly and a waste of time, and so i dont use or like them.

    A TV program here did the same years ago, they made a flashlight APP, with a set of permissions that gave them access to everything in the phone, and then they recorded people with the phone MIC and camera.
    Then went to ask them " dont you think you better read what you OKAY the next time you install some APP, and then showed them what they had done with the permissions they had given them.

    If you notice those permissions for pretty much any app, you might wonder why a flashlight APP need to access all your contacts - your mic and camera and so on.

    So if people call me a tinfoil hat wearer i must call them fracking idiots.

    Clearly and for me as expected, people are not getting any smarter when there is phones involved.
    That could well be true, but this isn't a phone app and it actually improves their GDPR compliance and transparency.

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    Re: Audacity's user data collection causing consternation

    Makes no odds to me as I don't use it but as far as data and privacy goe's if you own a smart phone you're already cooked even with it turned off , findable and recordable.

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