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November 2, 1999

RealNetworks Issues Patch to Address RealJukebox Privacy

By CBR Staff Writer

RealNetworks Inc is issuing a patch for current users of its RealJukebox that will prevent the software from sending personally identifying information back to the company. Earlier this week, security consultant Richard Smith, the founder of Phar Lap Software Inc, discovered that RealJukebox covertly monitors users’ listening habits and the file formats they prefer. We made a mistake in not being clear enough to our users about what kinds of data were being generated and transmitted by the use of RealJukebox, said RealNetworks chairman and CEO Rob Glaser. We respect and value the privacy of our users, and deeply apologize for doing anything that suggests otherwise. The company says the data it collected was meant to provide statistics on aggregate use, not details of individual use. Even so, the company has agreed to cease collecting such data until it has procedures in place for obtaining clear and informed consent. A review of privacy practices is underway, and RealNetworks plans to bring in third party privacy experts to verify that in future it will do the right thing. á

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