Apple is now delivering DRM-free music from the EMI label on iTunes. However, there are some aspects of Apple’s DRM-free tracks that are objectionable to privacy advocates. The files include the user name and email address of the person who purchased the tracks. The comments section of this Ars Technica articlecontains some interesting discussion about why Apple may have included the data, whether the company also places watermarking data into the files, and whether these files constitute an important privacy issue.Danny Weitzner of the W3C sees Apple’s approach as evidence that “we may actually be heading toward a sane, scalable approach to copyrighted commercial content on the Web.” According to Weitzner, focusing on DRM is something of an all or nothing approach, while “information accountability” is a more rational means of balancing interests:

The reality is that even when information is widely available, society has interests in whether or not that information is used appropriately. Information policies should reflect those interests, and information technology should support those policies.

In a later post, Weitzner does point out that Apple dropped the ball by not updating its privacy policy to inform customers of the fact that personal data was embedded in the files.

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