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Not for children: Audacity fans drop the f-bomb after privacy agreement changes

'Fork.' What did you think we meant?

A few more litres of accelerant were poured onto Audacity critics' fire late last week as an update to the sound editor's privacy agreement seeped out to the consternation of users.

Eyebrows began rising on 2 July, and continued skywards with an update on 3 July as the implications of the refeshed privacy policy became clear.

Gems such as the collection of "Data necessary for law enforcement, litigation and authorities' requests (if any)" on the grounds of "Legitimate interest of WSM Group to defend its legal rights and interests" set teeth a-gnashing within the application's community of users.

A ban on the use of the app by the under-13s (more to do with consent to data collection than audio pr0n, we'd wager) is also in the terms as well as "All your personal data is stored on our servers 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."

The Russia-based WSM Group, owner of Audacity did, however, insist: "We have put in place appropriate safeguards (which includes the European Commission’s Standard Contractual Clauses) to ensure that whenever your Personal Data is transferred outside the EEA to countries that are not deemed adequate by the European Commission, your Personal Data receives an adequate level of protection in accordance with the GDPR."

Oh, and that data might also be shared with a potential buyer (or its advisors) as part an acquisition.

The Audacity app itself does not yet require the creation of an account, nor the input of personal or contact information and such terms will not come as a surprise to users of other apps in the group (such as MuseScore, which insists on parental consent for "data processing" for the under-13s.)

Audacity fans, already jumpy about the whole telemetry fiasco and Contributor License Agreement (CLA) have reacted in predictable fashion to the change. The words "GPL violations" and "unacceptable" have been bandied around, as well as the inevitable f-bomb: "fork".

Indeed, this latest change to the world of Audacity may be an indicator of the direction of travel. While the company did not respond to The Register's request for comment, it would seem that users unhappy with the alterations being made by the app's new owners have little alternative but to consider alternatives. ®


The Register this morning ran a profile feature looking at the music software before we, or the writer of that feature, became aware of the changes made. As we pointed out this morning, "if Muse Group's stewardship takes a wrong turn, there's always the fork button."

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