There is no privacy issue with iTunes Store DRM-free files
If absolute privacy is a concern critics are voicing against Apple's latest move with DRM-less tracks from EMI, they should have filed their complaints over four years ago when the iTunes Store first opened.
The fault with these complaints against Apple's latest non-DRM move runs more than skin deep, however, as this embedding of personal information didn't merely begin last week. Since the first day it was opened over four years ago, the iTunes Store has embedded an owner's email address in purchased files. You can easily verify this by importing a non-EMI iTunes Store track from a friend - iTunes will immediately notify you that your machine must be authorized to play the track, prompting you with a dialog requesting a password and the email address of the file's owner already filled in.
Watch out Cory - all your email addresses are belong to anyone who steals your iTunes Store files; just as they have been for the last four years.
The moral of the story is the same as ever, only a few of the details change this time around: While Apple certainly isn't the first to offer a DRM-free commercial digital download service (In the mainstream that title probably goes to eMusic), they are the first of the major services to take the leap of faith and offer a premium music catalog completely free of DRM. In all likelihood, if you aren't sharing your personally identifiable files over P2P networks, you don't have anything to worry about, and an email address is the last thing you have to fret over if someone steals your iPod. The thief is after your DMP because they want your gadget, not because they want to email you a great offer on viagra.
There is no more of a privacy issue with iTunes Store files (non-DRM or otherwise) than there is with the theft of your computer or mobile phone. Files bought from the store are supposed to remain just as private as the personal information embedded in them. Now, can we all go back to buying high quality, DRM free tracks - and not vindicating the RIAA by sharing them - so more record labels finally invest in DRM-free digital distribution channels like we've been asking for?