Popular Audacity audio app dubbed “spyware” by users following new owner’s policy changes


Since its first release in 2000, Audacity has been a useful audio editing tool for Windows and Mac. Audacity quickly gained popularity thanks to its being both free and open source. Earlier this year, Muse Group acquired the development project and will continue the main fork. There weren’t many issues with this change until now.

Audacity’s privacy notice was updated on July 2 to include new provisions on data collection. The New Owners break down the two main types of data they collect, including data for analysis and law enforcement purposes.

Scans are limited to more specific information including OS version, processor, user’s country (based on IP), and error codes. The main problem with the change is the vague and comprehensive wording, especially in the section on law enforcement.

They list the personal data they collect as “Data required for law enforcement, litigation, and authority requests (if applicable)” without any limitation. This is a significant change for Audacity after more than 20 years of development.

Screenshot of Audacity’s privacy notice.

Users weren’t happy with this latest change. Much of the user base is privacy advocates, and this worrying wave of change is seen as a betrayal of users and Audacity’s history. So what can we do?

Fortunately, Audacity is open source, so you can always download other versions of the program. Although the Muse Group may own the major version development, there are several versions of the program on the web.

You can also download older versions of the Audacity program at the moment that do not have a “home phone” feature. Or if you’ve read the privacy policy and don’t mind the terms, you can continue to use the main version. This change simply brings Audacity in line with countless other apps that collect your data.

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