Today, The Arizona Republic has reprinted an article (headlined: “Danger accompanies music downloads”) by Don Oldenburg, Washington Post Staff Writer, that was originally published by The Post on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 under the headline, “Trouble Can Be Downloaded Along With Music.”
Oldenburg’s article contains this passage:
…Technology-security experts warn that many owners of MP3 players don’t know what dangers lurk behind some music.
“The risk has skyrocketed,” says Kraig Lane, group product manager at Symantec, a maker of computer-security products. “The bad guys are putting evil agents into music files and even videos that we are downloading. Music files especially. And you don’t know it’s there.”
The big problem is that some music services deliver something in addition to free software and music. They sneak in adware or, worse, viruses and spyware. Particularly suspect are the free and legally questionable peer-to-peer (P2P) file-swapping networks such as Kazaa, BearShare and LimeWire, that connect millions of home-computer users.
Even reputable online music stores sometimes install adware. Considered the most benign of such programs, adware hides in the background of a computer to track user online behavior and report it to advertising companies so they can target ads. The practice is legal, and users often grant tacit permission to receive it when accepting licensing agreements at Web sites.
Such downloading has become big business for those sites. Apple reports that music fans have downloaded more than 200 million songs from its iTunes Music Store since its launch in 2003. Featuring more than 1 million tracks at 99 cents each, iTunes now sells nearly 5 million songs a week.
MacDailyNews Take: The original Post article comes complete with a photo of an Apple iPod U2 Special Edition (incorrected credited: “Rio Audio Via AP”) along with the caption, “Digital devices such as the Apple iPod U2 Special Edition allow their owners to play music files downloaded from the Internet, but experts warn that those downloads may contain more than just a favorite song.”
If your average Joe read this article, what impression would he come away with regarding Apple’s iTunes Music Store? Would he read it and understand that some files on P2P file-swapping networks can contain “adware, viruses, and/or spyware?” Or would he come away with the wrong idea and think that the same “evil agents” lurk within files purchased from Apple’s iTunes Music Store. What do you think?
So, was the writer Don Oldenburg uncertain about the facts, or was his intent to create uncertainty about Apple’s iTunes Music Store, or did his editor chop up a perfectly logical article into the complete mess we see today, or perhaps something entirely different?
Related MacDailyNews articles:
Windows Media songs and videos found to carry Windows malware payloads– December 30, 2004