The free open source tool, with 100 million users worldwide, is popular with podcast and music editors. His updated policy says the data can be shared with Russia’s infrastructure company WSM, as well as regional law enforcement agencies. Audacity says that the only data it exchanges with its users is software updates and error messages.
But because the updated policy was published recently, there are calls from affected users to uninstall the product or revert to the older version. And the technology website Fosspost described the latest version as “possible spyware”. “One would not expect an offline desktop application to collect such data, call home, and then pass it on to governments around the world whenever they see fit,” it said.
Audacity was bought by the Cypriot company Muse Group in April 2021. Muse leader Daniel Ray told BBC News: “We don’t know anything about our users. “We don’t want users’ personal information – it won’t help us. “The company that bought Audacity in April intended to release more frequent updates and wanted to alert users,” Ray said.
The policy states that Audacity collects “very limited data” about users – no “direct identifiers” such as names or contact information – and no account profile is required.
However, it may share personal information with:
- state forces, government agencies and regulators
- auditors, consultants and representatives of the company
- potential buyers of the company.
And while European user data is stored in Europe, it can “occasionally” share data with its headquarters in Russia. This was to monitor for signs of a potential distributed denial of service (DDOS) when the platform was intentionally flooded with data requests to decommission it, Ray said. And individual Internet Protocol (IP) addresses were encrypted using an encryption technique called hashing. The company is not trying to monetize a 21-year-old product, Ray said, but is trying to “modernize” it. “Previously, there were updates every few years,” he said, “we want to make them every few weeks.”
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