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My thoughts on the Audacity controversy

Recently Audacity has attracted controversy by adding new data collection that had got many people in the FOSS (Free and Open Source) community annoyed and saying it is spyware. This comes after Muse Group bought the project. The privacy policy change says Muse Group will collect:

  • User country based on IP address
  • OS name and version
  • CPU
  • Non-fatal error codes and messages (i.e. project failed to open)
  • Crash reports in Breakpad MiniDump format

and it also says in their privacy policy that Audacity can share the info with a "third-party", "advisors" or "potential buyers"
The update also says that you need to be 13 to use the app which is a violation of the GPL license Audacity itself is licensed under so to add all this data collection and this age limit is just immoral of the Muse Group especially since many people have contributed to Audacity through the years and have thought that their commits were being used under the GPL and all of its terms so in this respect a contributor could sue Audacity and in fact recently Muse Group has introduced a contributing license agreement so if you want to add code to Audacity you can no longer complain if Muse Group use the code in any way.

Muse Group stated today that Users' IP addresses are stored in a readable format for 24 hours in before they become pseudonymized but really Audacity? Why in the world does an audio editing app need to collect peoples' IP addresses? I mean to start with it does not even need an internet connection and sure you can Audacity offline but I don't think you should have to do that.

Overall, I think Muse Group has betrayed the FOSS community and Muse Group can not be trusted and that people should move to other audio editing tools or move to a fork of Audacity. Overall this just shows how shady Muse Group have been acting like and how their apps can not currently be trusted but hey if Muse Group really do want to convince me then Muse Group please email me and explain what you guys are doing but if that does not happen I can really only assume the worst.

Sources

Audacity is now a Possible Spyware, Remove it ASAP - Fosspost
Audacity owner will revise its privacy policy following spyware concerns - Engadget
Audacity owner will revise its privacy policy following spyware concerns - Engadget

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