Shazam App Keeps The Microphone On Even When It’s Turned Off… WTF?

This has all the makings of a PR disaster.

According to Motherboard, if you run the Shazam App on your Mac, Shazam never turns the microphone off, even if you tell it to turn off. This was found by Patrick Wardle who is a former NSA hacker and posted to his blog.

That’s pretty bad. But Shazam doesn’t think so:

“There is no privacy issue since the audio is not processed unless the user actively turns the app ‘ON.’” James Pearson, the VP of global communications for Shazam, said in an emailed statement. ”If the mic wasn’t left on, it would take the app longer to both initialize the mic and then start buffering audio, and this is more likely to result in a poor user experience where users ‘miss out’ on a song they were trying to identify.”

I say that’s BS because if the behavior were so benign, they would have told users about it. They didn’t and now instead of doing the right thing and fixing it, they’re scrambling to spin this into a “feature.” Think about it. Any piece of malware that targets this “feature” could piggyback on this “feature” to record the user without the user being aware of it. That’s kind of scary. The possibility of that should be enough to make you want to remove Shazam from your Mac. It also poses another question: Is this “feature” present on iOS, Android or any other platform that Shazam supports? Rather than wait to have someone say that it is present on other platforms, or worse be the victim of a hack that leverages this “feature” because I guarantee that the forces of evil on the Internet are likely trying to leverage this “feature” right now, maybe you should remove it from your devices. Then maybe the makers of this app will get the message that this “feature” is unacceptable.

UPDATE: I guess the heat was too much for Shazam as they’ve now committed to updating their Mac software to remove this “feature.”That update should be out in the next few days.


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