Are MP3 Players Calling Home?

from the evidence-please? dept

It’s not clear at all where this theory came from, but a lawyer writing for USA Today, using some fun lawyers’ language (“Notwithstanding the foregoing”) tries to imply, without ever actually saying it, that the makers of MP3 players are spying on what users do with the devices. Where’s the evidence? There isn’t any. The article just sort of dances around the issue, and says people should check carefully to make sure the makers of their MP3 devices aren’t secretly spying on their music listening habits. He also seems to suggest that Bluetooth is the culprit — though, there aren’t very many Bluetooth-enabled MP3 players, and its hard to see many music player manufacturers setting up Bluetooth spying posts all around the world for this data, considering that Bluetooth is a pretty short-distance technology, and not particularly well-suited for this task. If anything, it sounds like someone has been confused by all the Bluesnarfing hype — which isn’t as big a problem as described, and only puts a very small number of phones at risk. He also goes on to say that for people who have music players with Bluetooth, they should be careful whenever they’re in a “hotzone” — despite the fact that a hotzone refers to WiFi, and entirely different technology than Bluetooth. So, are there any MP3 players that phone home and let the manufacturer know what you’re listening to (whether or not they’re using the nearly impossible technology infrastructure this guy describes)? If so, wouldn’t that news get out pretty quickly and put the company in a world of PR trouble for building spyware into their device?

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Comments on “Are MP3 Players Calling Home?”

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Anonymous Coward says:


The guy isn’t even a journalist, he’s a freaking “hired gun” who I’m sure the RIAA paid to write up this supposed “article”.

Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris (, where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology disputes.

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