Personal data: clarifications from Audacity

Here is a case that has concerned many users of this free open source software used for more than 20 years by many radio and podcast enthusiasts: the collection of personal data by Audacity.
At the beginning of June, one month after its acquisition by the Russian Muse Group, Audacity indicated that, in its new privacy policy, the software now collects information on the operating system, IP address, country (depending on the IP address), processor model, error codes and messages, crash reports and “data necessary for law enforcement, litigation and requests from the authorities (if any)”, all stored on servers in Europe, but with this clarification: “We are occasionally required to share your personal data with our main office in Russia and our outside counsel in the United States.”
However, Muse Group assured that it was doing what was necessary regarding the RGPD for Europeans with a supposedly “adequate” level of protection. By the way, all the changes prevented users under 13 from using the software.
The communication of this new privacy policy had triggered a wave of concern among users, some calling Audacity spyware. But Audacity communicated at the end of last week to ease the situation. The apology can be read in full on GitHub. The new privacy policy can be found here.
Here is what was said, summarized by :

  • The wording has been adapted to remove any ambiguity or promote transparency, in particular that we do not collect additional information for law enforcement or any other purpose.
  • We have explained the purpose of the two network functions, error reporting and update checking.
  • We have removed the clause that discourages children under the age of 13 from using Audacity.
  • We have taken steps to ensure that we never store a full IP address and have reflected this change in the privacy policy document.
  • We have made some changes to the way we handle error reports to ensure that we never store potentially identifiable information.

This should reassure users, some of whom have high expectations of the Muse Group buyout. If the software remains free, new features are expected to be added for a fee. Finally, the interface, which is indeed rather old, should be revamped.