BIG BROTHER IS LISTENING TO YOU?

Real Networks forced to issue 'privacy patch' after investigation reveals secret data collecting...

If you are one of the 13 million users of Real Jukebox, the computer desktop music application from Real Networks, you could unwittingly have supplied them with information on your listening habits, the CDs you play and the files you have stored in your playlists.

Real Jukebox is probably the most popular application for playing Mp3, Liquid Audio, Wav and Real Audio files, so the panic over security comes as a blow to the confidence of many users.

RealNetworks were able to identify users by a unique ID number and snoop on their listening habits whenever they were online. While many companies gather marketing information based on what people buy, what sites they look at and what they download, the Real Jukebox revelations have left a nasty taste in the mouths of users who were not informed that they were effectively being spied on.

Rivals such as Nullsoft, who make the WinAmp application, have said that they only collect data when new users register and even then it is optional.

Following a report in The New York Times on Monday, RealNetworks promised to make a ‘privacy patch’ available to users in the immediate future.

How secure is your personal info? Are you bugged that they are snooping on you or does it not really matter? Tell us what you think. Post a message on Angst