Re: RealNetworks is spying on Internet users again

From: Ross A. Finlayson (
Date: Tue May 30 2000 - 17:56:46 MDT

Hi, wrote:

> Ross Finlayson writes:
> > I would call that a serious breach, and RealPlayer a serious beatch.
> >
> > Do you happen to have copies of their user agreements that we might dissect?
> The privacy policy for RealDownload is at
> It says:
> 2. File Download: Whenever a download is initiated using
> RealDownload, the product sends the name and URL of the file
> you are downloading along with relevant product and Internet
> communication information (including IP address, connection speed,
> whether downloads were finished or incomplete, use of pause and
> resume) to RealNetworks. RealNetworks does not store the IP address
> with this information, and no unique identifier or any personally
> identifiable information is sent with this information. RealNetworks
> does not associate file downloads with individuals without express
> consent. This information is sent so RealNetworks can display
> appropriate advertising, and for aggregate, anonymous statistical
> analysis.
> The site also has information on cookies, advertising and a unique
> identifier which is used at install/uninstall time.
> Hal

I had read that, there are at least two privacy notices, the web site privacy
notice and the software privacy notice.

What is at issue is whether RealPlayer logs network activity that is not initiated
through RealPlayer and a RealPlayer media file.

I was interpreting Newstrom's report to be that RealPlayer was monitoring activity
that was not expressly using RealPlayer software to interpret and execute the
downloaded file.

Also at question is if RealPlayer hijacks regular network access methods to
technically be the initiator.

There is some ambiguity in the software usage privacy notice that is either a sign
of unprofessional legal output or purposeful misdirection, in regards to third

Does RealPlayer follow its own privacy policy?

A completely unrelated question is the ready availability of standards to write
one's own software to interpret these media files.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:12:12 MDT