Audio editing app Audacity is in hot water over concerning changes to its privacy policy

Audacity logo
Audacity logo (Image credit: Audacity)

What you need to know

  • Audacity's new privacy policy leaves the door open for user tracking.
  • Changes suggest Audacity's new owner could share information on its users with international officials.

Popular audio editing app Audacity is at the center of a privacy storm today after changes to its privacy policy left the door open for it to track users in concerning ways.

According to a Foss Post report, Audacity was recently bought by MuseScore, triggering an update to the app's privacy page. That update includes the news that the company could hand data over to regulators in the United States, Russia, and the European Economic Area — locations where it has servers and people working.

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 changes go on to note that the company could share data with entities it calls "third-party", "advisors," or "potential buyers".

The bad news continues, with real IP addresses of users being logged and in a readable format for 24 hours before they are hashed, a move that's odd for a music editing app.

Real IP addresses of users remain for 1 day on Audacity's servers before they are hashed, and hence, practical user identification is possible if one of the mentioned governments sends a data request. Things which should not have been possible with an offline audio editor.

It isn't immediately clear why these changes were made or why Audacity needs to track the IP address of its users, but it's enough to cause some users to call for a boycott of the app. That's unfortunate, with Audacity being one of the best music editing apps for Mac right now.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.