Audacity’s New Data Collection Policy Labeled as “Spyware”

Dominic Mazzoni and Roger Dannenberg introduced Audacity in 2000, and since then, it has become a popular choice for music editors. Millions of people use this easy-to-use audio editor and recorder. However, the users’ number dropped after the renewal of Audacity’s data collection policy.

Many have switched to an alternative app, assuming Audacity is “spyware”.

But, why are people claiming this open-source program is spyware? Developers are now collecting users’ sensitive data for “app analytics”.

App analytics provide developers with insights into the app’s performance and usage. Audacity is simply accessing the data to improve the user’s music editing experience. However, this new data collection policy creates a security concern for millions of users.

Let’s learn more about the renewed Audacity data collection policy and if the app is safe to use:

Who Updated the Audacity’s Data Collection Policy?

You must have heard about Muse Group, right? Smart Data Recovery reported that the Muse Group renewed the data collection policy after Audacity’s acquisition. They updated the app policies on July 2, 2021. Even after all these years, Audacity still receives spyware criticism.

Who is Muse Group? They are the world’s most popular software development company. Muse Group creates online platforms for musicians across the globe. The company also owns the chord-based learning app Ultimate Guitar.

Why Does Muse Group Collect Audacity Users Data?

Foss Post verified that Muse Group-owned Audacity collects users’ OS versions. The app tracks sensitive data like operating system version and IP address. Additionally, it collects the app’s crash reports and error messages you receive when editing audio.

Muse Group claimed they process the data to ensure the app functions without glitches. The company also tracks users’ data for their “legitimate interest”. Music editors who use Audacity found the data collection on law enforcement grounds completely vague.

Does Muse Group Disclose the Audacity Users’ Data to Third Parties?

Most people have stopped using Audacity after the new data collection policy update. They stated that the app is unsafe to use as it tracks and shares data with third parties. Muse Group mentioned that it shares users’ data with government agencies.

Additionally, the company disclosed the data to law enforcement bodies and courts. Your data might be shared with potential buyers too. We think that this disclosure wasn’t necessary for Audacity’s smooth operation.

Many apps are available for Windows or Mac users to hide IP addresses. You can also prevent third parties from tracking your device’s OS version. However,  using these apps can cause security and privacy issues. So, looking for an Audacity alternative might be the best solution.

Where Does Muse Group Store the Collected Audacity Users Data?

Most Audacity users need to be made aware of the location where Muse Group stores the collected data. The company mostly stores the data in its European Economic Area servers. Sometimes, they share Audacity users’ data in their main office in Russia.

Where else does Muse Group send the required data, like crash reports? They share the users’ data with external counsel in the United States. The company avails adequate security measures when exporting data to EEA countries.

How Does Muse Group-Owned Audacity Store the IP Address?

Audacity is compatible with all the latest Windows, Mac, and Linux versions. Different operating systems use different IP addresses. Hence, Audacity stores them in an identifiable way before the day they are hashed. It helps governmental bodies to verify data requests.

Who will be Impacted the Most by the Renewed Audacity Data Collection Policy?

Muse Group made significant changes in Audacity’s data collection policy. It introduced new rules and restrictions regarding app usage. Foss Post reported that the company upgraded its privacy policy to prevent license violations.

Based on this new policy, the pre-teens are prohibited from using Audacity. The General Public License inspects who uses this free music editor. Developers might take action against the people who try to access the app fraudulently.

Can the Pre-Teens Use Audacity’s Fork Version?

Finding an alternative to Audacity that supports 32-bit and LV2 plugins is impossible. Thus, many users still use the app even after the spyware claims. Do you use Audacity for recording high-quality audio? We have good news for you!

Developers are planning to design the Audacity software’s fork for pre-teens. The new app version will be developed based on a source code. Privacy-conscious users must use the app’s fork to secure their data from third parties.

However, Muse Group has yet to disclose when the fork will be available for users. You must restrict the app access until then for data security. Besides, users must enable Firewall security to prevent Audacity from stealing their sensitive data.

Is It Safe to Use Audacity on Your Windows, Mac, and Linux Devices?

Thousands of people are asking if Audacity is safe for their devices. To answer these questions, let us clarify that users can install and access the app without security concerns. It has yet to be proved that Audacity is spyware or contains a virus.

The music editing software also doesn’t have any malware. Therefore, Audacity won’t compromise your device’s safety. Muse Group upgraded the data collection policy to the Audacity 3.0.3 version. So, you can use the older 3.0.2 version if you are concerned about your data safety.

The company stated that Audacity’s telemetry would be disabled by default. Users can’t turn off or use any third-party program to prevent the app from collecting their data. So, you must opt-in to the data collection process; there’s no way to escape.

Why are Audacity’s Spyware Claims Fake?

The chances of containing spyware in open-source apps like Audacity are less. Muse Group also claimed that the app is safe to use. Some users made false statements about Audacity for renewing the data collection policy.

You will encounter system crashing issues if Audacity contains “spyware”. However, continue using the app if the device runs smoothly without generating any problems. Here are the easy ways to find out whether Audacity is spyware:

Random Pop-Up Ads

Software that contains spyware displays malicious pop-up ads. However, Audacity doesn’t bombard users’ devices with random ads when editing audio. So, the absence of ads proves that spyware claims are fake.

Slow Computer

Spyware-infected programs run in the device’s background, reducing processor speed. Moreover, they consume disk space and make the PC slow. However, Audacity runs smoothly without slowing down the device’s performance.

The appearance of Mysterious Files

Unknown files might suddenly appear on the device when an app is spyware-infected. The icons on the toolbar might also disappear. However, users claimed they didn’t experience this issue when using Audacity.

Should You Switch to an Audacity Alternative?

It is proven that Audacity is not a virus and doesn’t have spyware or malware. Most spyware programs display a strange-looking homepage when using browsers. Besides, they modify the browser settings without users’ acknowledgment.

You won’t encounter these browser-related issues when accessing Audacity. However, we recommend using an anti-spyware program to increase web security. Though Audacity is spyware-free, it will protect your device from other malicious attacks.

So, stop finding an alternative app to Audacity. Use this free multitrack audio editor for recording live audio without worrying about cyber threats.


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