iTunes 7.2 Special Report: Embedded personal data, removal

iTunes 7.2 Special Report: Embedded personal data, removal

As noted by several readers, tracks purchased from the iTunes Music Store using iTunes 7.2 have personal purchaser data -- specifically names and email addresses -- embedded in them. The data are stored as MPEG-4 Atoms: 'name', containing the user's name 'user' which generally contains an email address.

The obvious concern among some users is that, if indeed this data is being used to track files posted to illegal file-sharing networks, it could be spoofed to maliciously indict an innocent user.

Users have so far experimented with a few removal methods, including opening the files with a Hexadecimal editor (like HexEdit), locating and deleting the personal data. Some users who have tried to do the same with standard text editors have rendered their files unplayable with iTunes, so keep backups if you attempt modification.

It also appears that running these iTunes tracks through Rogue Amoeba's Fission will remove the personal data.

Note that by performing any modification you may be violating the iTunes Terms of Service, which dictates:

"x) You agree that you will not attempt to, or encourage or assist any other person to, circumvent or modify any security technology or software that is part of the Service or used to administer the Usage Rules."

Feedback? Late-breakers@macfixit.com.

Index:

Resources
  • HexEdit
  • Rogue Amoeba's Fission
  • Late-breakers@macfixit.com
  • Release notes
  • Cannot install
  • Controlling iTunes Plus
  • Embedded personal data, re...
  • Errors when connecting to/...
  • iTunes will not launch
  • Persistent "checking for updates" -- fixes
  • Problems transferring to i...
  • More from Late-Breakers
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