Audacity 3.0 Appears to Be Spyware

Podcasters who are using Audacity should delete it and find different audio software to use instead. FOSS Post is likely the first to report that Audacity is now a possible spyware. It recommends you remove it ASAP.

According to FOSS Post, Audacity was acquired by Muse Group two months ago. Muse Group also owns Ultimate Guitar (a website for guitar musicians) and MuseScore (open source music notation software). Obviously, people who are using those may want to consider not doing that anymore.

According to FOSS Post:

The parent company is a multi-national company and it has been trying to start a data-collection mechanism in the software. While Audacity is nothing more than a desktop program, its developers want to make it phone home with various data taken from users’ machines.

Audacity recently updated its privacy policy. Personally, I found some of the information in the privacy notice to be disturbing.

For the purposes of this Notice, WSM Group with registered office at Moskovsky pr-t,40-1301, Kalingrad Russia, 236004 (“Audacity”, “us”, “we”, or “our”) acts as the data controller for the Personal Data that is collected via the App and through the App. As a data controller, Audacity is responsible for ensuring that the processing of Personal Data complies with applicable protection law, and specifically with the General Data Protection Regulation.

Personal Data Audacity will collect includes:

  • OS version
  • User country based on IP address
  • OS name and version – which they collect for app analytics
  • CPU – which they collect for “improving our App”
  • Non-fatal error codes and messages (i.e. project failed to open)
  • Crash reports in Breakpad Minidump format.
  • Data necessary for law enforcement, litigation and authorities’ requests (if any) – which Audacity will collect for legal enforcement.

Audacity’s reason for collecting the OS name and version is: Legitimate interest of WSM Group to offer and ensure the proper functioning of the app.

Audacity’s reason for collection data necessary for law enforcement is : Legitimate interest of WSM Group to defend its legal rights and interest.

The App is not intended for individuals below the age of 13. Audacity states: “If you are under 13 years old, please do not use the app.” I’ve seen some people on Twitter pointing out that it is illegal to collect data about minors.

Here’s who Audacity will share your personal data with:

  • Their staff members
  • Any competent law enforcement body, regulatory body, government agency, court or third party
  • Audacity’s auditors, advisors, legal representatives and similar agents
  • A potential buyer
  • Audacity states that all your personal data will be stored on their serves in the European Economic Area (EEA), “However, we are occasionally required to share your personal data with our main office in Russia and our external counsel in the USA.”

Out of curiosity, I searched for the Audacity app on the App Store. It wasn’t there. Perhaps Apple noticed that something was a bit off about Audacity and has excluded it from the App Store. I wonder if Audacity’s newest privacy policy was intended to get around the App Store so it could grab data from OS users? If so, that’s one more reason to delete Audacity!