Users have been vocally expressing their displeasure at these updates, accusing Audacity of being “spyware” and speculating that it could monitor their microphones. Now Audacity has attempted to clarify its intentions.
Ray also clarified that the only data Audacity collects is users’ IP address, which is anonymised and becomes irretrievable after 24 hours, as well as their operating system version and CPU type. Users can also manually send data in error reports, but this is optional.
“We do not collect any additional data beyond the points listed above for any purpose,” said Ray. “We will not collect or provide any information other than data described above with with [sic] any government entity or law enforcement agency.”
He further stated that Audacity would not share any information to such agencies upon mere request, and would have to be compelled by a court of law to do so.
These policy changes aren’t anything other programs haven’t implemented before, but their unexpected addition to open-source stalwart Audacity understandably has users on edge.
Released in 2000, Audacity has been downloaded 100 million times and is the go-to program for anyone starting to dabble in audio editing. Few people likely thought it would ever start gathering user data, and despite Ray’s explanation, many remain convinced it’s an unnecessary overreach.
“The current version (3.0.2) does not support data collection [of] any data of any kind and has no networking features enabled,” said Ray.
So if you grab Audacity now, you’ll still be able to use it completely anonymously — provided you never update.