Is RealPlayer Spyware??

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Nov 27, 2000, 2:17:20 AM11/27/00

I've heard rumors that RealPlayer by Realnetworks is spyware, which
a user's activities on the Net and phones home to transmit the info
back to company headquarters. I've run Adaware and apparently
RealPlayer doesn't have any of the ad-based spyware which Adaware is
able to detect.

Does anybody know what the real story is on RealPlayer. Is it spying on
users, or not??


Martin R. Davies

Nov 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/27/00
In article <>, Use-
Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[127.1] says...

> Does anybody know what the real story is on RealPlayer. Is it spying on
> users, or not??

RealPlayer does have some reporting functionality, but this can be
disabled in the settings. You're thinking of RealDownload, the story of
which is here....

Ś Martin R. Davies Ś Back at base bugs in the software Ś
Ś ICQ: 1679000 Ś Flashed the message "Something's out there..." Ś


Nov 27, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/27/00
RealPlayer has settings that make it look as though you can disable
reporting, BUT, as soon as you go online with RealPlayer running it
attempts to make a connection and send information. Try it with a
good firewall installed and you will see.

On Mon, 27 Nov 2000 11:21:17 -0000, Martin R. Davies
<> wrote:

>In article <>, Use-
>Author-Supplied-Address-Header@[127.1] says...

>> Does anybody know what the real story is on RealPlayer. Is it spying on
>> users, or not??


Nov 29, 2000, 3:00:00 AM11/29/00
I recently checked several players on Win98 DUN with a netowrk anlayzer.
Winamp, Windows MediaPlayer, RealPlayer 8, and Freeamp. I wasn't to
careful about charting my results, but I noticed that MediaPlayer and
RealPlayer seem to send client GUIDs and the name of the computer (from
your network settings). For some reason, the RealPlayer GUID was all 0's
on my system, but YMMV. The MediaPlayer GUID is probably assigned at
install or first run, and is saved in the registry, and would be unique
to the user, not machine, its in the user settings part of the registry

"Client ID"="{00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000}"

I zeroed out my GUID and MediaPlayer still seems to work ok. It's not
technically challenging to download at least a demo copy of an alynozer
and test these players. In an hour or so you can complete the study. It
pretty clear that the broadcasters can track the GUIDs, and the GUID is
also sent when you do live software updates, so if they ever are able to
connect the GUID to a real person that's how that goes. For a demo on
this see the downloaders story on, this is where I got the idea.
Given the latest scrutiny, I think the broadcaster may be content with
just tracking unique users, for analises purposes. My conclusion is that
they can track if they want and you draw your own picture. Somebody
needs to make a big comparison grid for privacy, with columns for each
bit of info tested as transmitted, and then a row for each software

(Paranioa on.) What may happen in future is that the analyzrs become
more restricted ala munitions catecory products since they are so
powerful, and they will be crippled or less available. Read on cryptome
for the carnivoer docs where they comments very openly on these products
and their utility, this is how carnosaur works. As for the players, I
think that users music collections can be tracked or studied using the
innocent little cd title lookup databases like CDDB and Brainstromz.
(Paranoia off.)

Dec 1, 2000, 3:00:00 AM12/1/00
In article <3A25CDF2...@address.not>,
Sounds as if that would break the law in Europe. Collecting and
tracking personal information without the knowledge or consent of the


Sent via
Before you buy.

Ian W Rudge

Dec 20, 2000, 5:42:08 PM12/20/00
Whether realplayer is spyware or not, it certainly can be expensive if
you have to pay for dialup time. It sits in the sytem tray and
phones-home to all the time the machine is running. On
a networked system all it takes is one user to install relaplayer and
you've got a 24/7 phonebill..

Like to see realnetworks having to PAY one or two such bills... <lol>


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