Apps Like Music Tracker Are Quickly Raising Privacy Concerns

Apps Like Music Tracker Are Quickly Raising Privacy Concerns
Text Size
- +

Toggle Dark Mode

A new app called Music Tracker has been released to the Apple App Store which is designed to keep track of changes made to the user’s music library on iPhone and iPad. After the app is downloaded, it scans the library of the user and tracks all changes introduced, including things like song changes, deletion, metadata changes, and so on. Once a change is made, a notification is sent to the user.

This is great for users with large libraries who need to keep track of changes being made to their music library, however it also happens to come in handy for Apple Music subscribers. This is because of the fact that songs can be changed or deleted by Apple due to things like licensing issues with record labels.

image1As it so happens, it seems as though while developing Music Tracker, its creator, Ben Dodson, ran into a number of privacy issues that he feels as though users should be aware of. With many third party apps, permission for things like location, contacts, photo access, and so on is asked of the user, however that isn’t the case with a music library.

According to Dodson, the app basically accesses a user’s music library and send data on what is in the library back to an Apple server, allowing that data to be used for things like advertising or tracking. Apps can scan through entire music libraries in only a few seconds, soon being able to tell what kind of music a user prefers, including details like how often songs are played. Dodson suggests that this information could potentially be used for advertisers to track users across different devices.

“When iOS first came out there was something called a UDID which basically identified your device uniquely,” said Dodson in a blog post. “This was used by marketers to track you across multiple apps and build up a profile. This was stopped by Apple a few years back and replaced with an advertising identifier which you can turn off and which can only be used between apps from the same company (where they are probably already tracking you). However, with a full music library, it would be fairly easy to track someone across multiple apps as periodic snapshots could be compared on a server.”


Music Tracker itself doesn’t have any in-app purchases and doesn’t require an Internet connection to run. It also does not collect any data from customers to be sent to any servers. It’s not yet known if there are any other apps that are collecting music data from customers, however Dodson has filed a report to Apple to warn the company of the potential privacy issues.

Of course, it’s one thing for data to be collected, and its another thing entirely for Apple to actually use that data for advertising purposes. Not only that, but it’s pretty unsurprising that Apple knows exactly what’s in our music library.

Apple has been at the center of plenty of privacy concerns in the last few years, especially when it comes to things like government collection of data. In fact, tech companies in general have somewhat been butting heads with the NSA and other government agencies, saying that they will not hand user data over to the government, and aiming to protect the privacy of customers. In fact, Apple even argues that it now encrypts user data and itself doesn’t have access to that data, so even if government officials came to Apple with a warrant for certain user data, Apple wouldn’t be able to hand that data over.

Despite this, government agencies argue that they’re aiming to protect citizens by tracking criminals and using the data of criminals in an attempt to either fid them, or to convict them. Considering heightened concern of terrorism of late, this plays into the fears of people, many of whom will argue that they have nothing to hide when it comes to their data.

In any case, Music Tracker is a helpful app for those wanting to keep tight control over their library, and one that can be downloaded now straight from the App Store. The app costs $0.99, and is also Apple Watch compatible.

Social Sharing