A number of sites are reporting that the new DRM free iTunes files are carrying personal information such as the buyers email address are encoded within the file such as your email address (Link to Privacy Concerns Surface Following iTunes Plus Launch ā€” Digital Music News).


Although having some form of deterrent to file sharing is understandable (although I’d suggest futile – you just need to watch the people behind hymn, CSS etc can quickly defeat a changed encryption). But something like an email address will upset the privacy lobby.  Which I understand and fully support after all your email address is effectively half the key into your iTunes account.  Apple could have so easily run a key system so that they could identify the original purchaser of a file, but no one else can.


The naive, may argue that if you don’t share your files, you’ve nothing to worry about. But it is probably those very naive people who don’t realise that their personal LAN with wireless have no security settings (or have managed to put some protection in place but don’t realise someone who knows what they’re doing can still break in without too much effort) on it and wide open for the casual person to help themselves to your nice DRM free music among other things and dump onto the web.


Of course having information like email addresses in the file does make it easy for the RIAA to find someone to accuse and exploit people’s naivety to get themselves a ‘collar’.  It does raise the question that if the RIAA where to do such an action are they breaching the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?


The concern I have with this is although Apple is removing DRM, these actions aren’t going to win the support of the anti DRM critics, and in the case of iTunes – there is still no a win for the interoperability argument. Which ultimately may kill the the momentum for DRM free thinking in the future.



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