No, Audacity Audio Editor is not a free

Concerns about community telemetry were addressed two months ago.

Over the weekend of July 4, many open source news outlets began warning readers that Audacity, a popular audio editing program, was now a "spyware."

If true, it is deeply concerning - there is no clear alternative or alternative for similar uses. Dare is free, open source, relatively easy to use, cross-platform and ideal for simple "simple" tasks like editing the raw audio in the final podcast.

However, it seems that these negatives are widely and almost late. While the team announced that Audacity has begun collecting telemetry, it's neither too extensive nor aggressive in how it accesses the data - and most of the real concerns were addressed a couple of months ago. , to achieve the clear satisfaction of the real Audacity community.


Free and open source software-based personal tech website SlashGear explains that although Audacity is free and open source, the new owner of the Muse Group can make "very disruptive changes" - In particular, the new meaning of the privacy policy and telemetry features has been described as "broad and vague". FOSSPost goes further and calls itself “Audacity is now a potential spyware, remove it ASAP.” Both sites' concerns are rooted in a privacy policy raised by the Muse Group, the new owner of Audacity, which it has already issued. Open source MuseScore. The Privacy Policy, most recently updated on July 2, sets out what data the app may collect:

What personal information is collected Why is it collected Legal domains of processing System name and user country version (using public IP address) CPU codes and messages Non-fatal error (eg file failed to open successfully) Crash reports in Breakpad MiniDump format WSM Legal Progress Program Improvement Program analysis Provide and ensure proper functioning of law enforcement data plan, lawsuits, and requests from authorities (if any) Legitimate interests of WSM Law Enforcement Defense About its legal rights and interests

Personal information collected as described The first five points are not particularly exhaustive - in fact, it is exactly the same data collected in the FOSSPost Privacy Policy: IP address, browser user agent, "some cookies" Other information that your browser may have to provide to us” and (via WordPress and Google ana lytics) “your geographical location, cookies to others” of the websites you visit or any other information that may be provided by you. Forgive you.”

This leaves the last line - “Law enforcement statements, lawsuits and requests from authorities (if any).” While this is certainly a broad category and not entirely clear, it is a real life in general 2021. Whether or not the Privacy Policy says so, it is very likely that any particular company will comply with the requirements of law enforcement. If not, it will probably be a company for a long time. The ad

The last grain of salt in the wound is a line stating that the audacity "is not intended for persons under 13" and asking people under 13 "please do not use the program". To avoid further complexity and cost, follow the rules governing collections of children's personal information.


The first thing to note is that neither of these privacy policies nor the telemetry required by the software have been implemented - both versions 3.0.3 are targeted in the future, while the latest version Available is 3.0.2. For now, this means that no one needs to panic about the version of Audacity already installed.

The new privacy policy was first sent on May 4 as an appeal. In this original release, the policy stated that Audacity uses libcurl to transmit remote tracking, and Google Analytics tracks the following:

Error at the beginning and end of the session, including errors in the sqlite3 engine, because we need to take advantage of corruption issues that Reported on the Audacity community. Effects, sound generators, and analysis tools, so we can prioritize future developments. Using file formats for importing and exporting operating systems and Audacity versions

The original version of PR telemetry continued to identify the session via UUID, which was generated and stored by the client machine, and from Yandex Metrica to estimate daily users. Finally, you mentioned that “Telemetry collection is optional and configurable at all times” and “[If] data sharing is disabled - all contacts with telemetry reporting functions are prohibited.

It is a telemetry software Nice talk telemetry, of the kind that even other open source software - such as Mozilla Firefox - includes. The biggest problem with the main telemetry manifest is that it requires selection rather than collection of revocation data. However, it should be noted that even telemetry in Firefox has now been scrapped.

Despite the fact that early PR was very vanilla, open source users tend to enjoy tremendous privacy. There was an immediate boost - which the Audacity developer responded to three days later on May 7 With a major PR update.


Now in the May 7th update it says "Telemetry is completely optional and disabled by default" (crsib's), this telemetry is only available on builds generated by GitHub CI from tank Official Business Anyone who collects Audacity from source will be given the option to CMake to enable value code Telemetry - But this option, which results in the creation of telemetry functions, will be off by default.

This three-day update to the remote tracking policy still in effect temporarily removed the only plausible logical point: whether user data should be collected without their verification. be or not. Not only is the selection of data limited, but the functions used to gather data in the first place are very easy, easy to design, and are automatically deleted for anyone who builds the source code themselves (which would include Linux distribution repositories).

Since then, the entire pull request has been canceled and replaced with the new PR #889, which aims to clear all telemetry issues. “We have no interest in collecting or selling personal information, and the audacity will always be free and open source,” the new PR official said, adding that the answer to the original request “was fulfilled at the museum.” Ease of use. Yandex and Google go against the general concept of reliability, so we'll be our host instead.

Community Response

Although media focused on free and open source software, including FOSSPost and Slashgear, reported negatively over the weekend, with agents and commentators working On the Github project, they appear to be pretty satisfied with the May 13 update, with the Muse group announcing that instead of using the third session, your telemetry sessions host the libraries and host parties.On the same day as the second request for direct execution, he said Github Megaf user, "Good stuff. As long as the data doesn't go to [third-party tech giants], we should be happy. Collect data, you really need it, host it, privatize it, choose and we'll help you.” This is a small sample, but it appears to have 66 positive reactions and 12 negative reactions. Sentiments are fully supported.

Megaf response reflects user response for updated request which currently stands at 606 positive, 29 negative and only 300 positive reactions.

We believe the user community has done the right thing - Muse Group appears to take the community's privacy concerns very seriously, and their genuine policies appear to be reasonable List of photos by Catherine Falls ad via Getty Images / Jim Salter

No, Audacity Audio Editor is not a free "spyware" source.
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