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Apple has embedded personal information into music files bought from its iTunes online music store. Techonology websites and computer geeks discovered that personal data, including the name and e-mail addresses of purchasers, are embedded into the AAC files that Apple uses to distribute music tracks.

The information is also included in tracks sold under Apple’s iTunes Plus system, launched this week, where users pay a premium for music that is free from the controversial digital rights (DRM) software that is designed to safeguard against piracy.

The Electronic Freedom Foundation, the online consumer rights group, added that it had identified a large amount of additional unaccounted-for information in iTunes files. It said it was possible that the data could be used to “watermark” tracks so that the original purchaser could be tracked down were a track to appear on a file-sharing network.

Is Apple using steganography to include personal information about the buyer’s account as a way of tracing illegally shared files?

Of course you didn’t see this in the latest APPLE Press Release.

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