Apologetic Audacity rewrites privacy policy after 'significant lapse in communication'

Of course kids are allowed. Whatever gave you the impression they weren't?


Open-source audio editor Audacity this week posted an apology on GitHub in response to the entirely predictable furore over the platform's privacy policy.

An updated privacy policy accompanied the apology, in which the team insisted it had just been misunderstood, and that a look at the source would have shown its intentions.

"We are deeply sorry for the significant lapse in communication caused by the original privacy policy document," it said. The fact that it didn't regret the actual document itself seemed to alarm a good many users.

The update removes phrasing that "discourages children under 13 years old from using Audacity." The wording has also been updated to emphasise that no additional data is being collected for law enforcement purposes and that no personally identifiable information is being stored.

We'd wondered if the age restriction was perhaps related to consent for data collection and, indeed, the company said: "After extensive further consultation with our lawyers, we have determined that this provision is unnecessary given the actual mechanics of data transmission and storage. The provision had been included out of an abundance of caution, but in the end turned out not to be required."

It sounds like somebody got a bit too handsy with the copy and paste buttons, popped in some boilerplate text and sent it out into the wild world of GitHub without first considering the implications. Coming so soon after the telemetry fiasco, one would have hoped that Audacity's new owner, Muse Group, might have paused before poking an already angry open-source bear.

Alas, it seems not. The company said: "We are now taking steps to improve our processes for releasing any information related to Audacity in the future to ensure that users are appropriately informed."

It has taken a while for the change to occur, and at least one user observed it was "too little, too late," although the majority opinion on the update appears to be positive. New boss Martin Keary (aka Tantacrul) apologised for the tardiness and laid the blame on the time-consuming process of getting legal teams involved.

"What we want more than anything else," he said, "is for people to see clearly what we are doing."

Which, we suspect, might be the problem in the eyes of many of Audacity's users. ®

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