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xarthangrol

Does Affinity collect and send data from computers?

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Hello folks,

I'm thinking of buying Affinity Photo for Desktop (Windows), but I'd like to know if the program attempts to collect and/or send any data from users' computers. In these dark days of implied consent and telemetry as excuses to collect data I'd rather know before buying whether or not it does, and if it does, exactly what it does.

Thanks.


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If you buy the app from the Microsoft Store (as opposed to from the Affinity Store) Microsoft will of necessity collect whatever data needed to associate your purchase with your Microsoft Store account, but beyond that I don't know what other data Microsoft might collect.

As for the app itself, click on the "Privacy Policy" link at the bottom of any forum page for comprehensive information about what data Serif collects.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.0.135 & Affinity Designer 1.7.0.9 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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Okay. Thank you for replying.
I avoid the Microsoft store.


The privacy policy at the bottom of the forum is for the website not the actual product:

This Privacy Policy, together with our Terms and Conditions, and any documents it references, set out the basis on which any Personal Data (as defined below) or which you provide to us will be processed by us as a result of using or interacting with the Affinity website [...]

EDIT:

I found the section on applications further down the page, so the lead-in to the privacy policy is inaccurate as it clearly states that it applies to use of the website with no mention of the software applications. It looks like the programs do connect to the internet

Edited by xarthangrol
Found more information

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2 hours ago, xarthangrol said:

I found the section on applications further down the page, so the lead-in to the privacy policy is inaccurate as it clearly states that it applies to use of the website with no mention of the software applications.

I am not sure what you mean about the lead-in being inaccurate. It is just alerting you to the fact that since you are reading it on the web site, by doing so you are agreeing to be bound by the terms of their privacy policy, which also applies to the application software. That is why the second sentence of the very first paragraph of the web page literally begins with "Please read this Privacy Policy carefully ...."


Affinity Photo 1.7.1 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.0.135 & Affinity Designer 1.7.0.9 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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Hello RCR,

Thank you for your reply.

The 'lead-in' / preamble or whatever it is contains the sentence I quoted in my post. Here it is again:

This Privacy Policy, together with our Terms and Conditions, and any documents it references, set out the basis on which any Personal Data (as defined below) or which you provide to us will be processed by us as a result of using or interacting with the Affinity website [...]

It does not mention in that section of the policy the software apps, only interaction with the Affinity website, so it would not be unreasonable to not read it all as it is not explicitly stated as being a software app policy. Also, the 'Applications' section could pertain to any apps on the website (payment apps, forum apps, etc), not the actual software apps. Stand-alone software apps and websites are different things and should be treated separately. I think the software app EULA would be more appropriate, but I haven't found it on the website.


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2 hours ago, xarthangrol said:

It does not mention in that section of the policy the software apps, only interaction with the Affinity website, so it would not be unreasonable to not read it all as it is not explicitly stated as being a software app policy.

The second sentence of the first paragraph of the web page mentions that you should read carefully. It is not unreasonable to assume that applies to the whole thing, not just selected parts of it. Do that & there should be no misunderstanding.


Affinity Photo 1.7.1 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.0.135 & Affinity Designer 1.7.0.9 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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@xarthangrol 

I share your concerns as I also hate being spied on. :)

If you really want to be sure about this you will have to use the trial and run Wireshark while using.

Let us know what you find out.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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53 minutes ago, Grandpappy said:

So, are we being spied on or what? A reply in English and not Klingon is appreciated.

It depends on what you mean by spying, by whom, & for what purpose, but if you want a simple answer & you mean by Serif, it is "or what."


Affinity Photo 1.7.1 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.0.135 & Affinity Designer 1.7.0.9 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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2 hours ago, Grandpappy said:

So, are we being spied on or what? A reply in English and not Klingon is appreciated.

Read their Privacy Policy for the Applications (scroll down until you get to it) and you can decide for yourself. It's in English.

Edit: I agree it would be better if the text at the beginning mentioned that some of it applies to the website and done to the applications, to avoid confusion. And it should provide a link to the application portion.


-- Walt

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Affinity Photo 1.7.1.404 and 1.7.1.404 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.7.1.404 and 1.7.1.404 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.7.1.399 Beta

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The privacy policy only states "usage data" and as I understand the OP correctly this is not specific enough.

There is no sample how deep this data is.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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8 hours ago, R C-R said:

The second sentence of the first paragraph of the web page mentions that you should read carefully. It is not unreasonable to assume that applies to the whole thing, not just selected parts of it. Do that & there should be no misunderstanding. 

Okay, so reading the first line after the headings, it is actually clearer. Here it is: 'Welcome to Affinity from Serif. Please read this Privacy Policy carefully as you agree to be bound by it while using the Affinity website.' (my bold emphasis)

So, that means (probably also legally) that if I am using an app but NOT using the Affinity website, none of the policy applies.

I selected a part near the top because I read from the top to the bottom. :)But on the previous occasion I didn't read from the very top.


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21 minutes ago, Steps said:

The privacy policy only states "usage data" and as I understand the OP correctly this is not specific enough.

There is no sample how deep this data is.

Indeed, that is part of it.


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7 hours ago, Steps said:

If you really want to be sure about this you will have to use the trial and run Wireshark while using.

Oh, that's a good idea. I suppose I could sandbox it or block it via firewall.

Thank you.


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8 minutes ago, Steps said:

The privacy policy only states "usage data" and as I understand the OP correctly this is not specific enough.

There is no sample how deep this data is.

But it explicitly states that all collected usage data is anonymous, why they collect that anonymous data, & that no personal data is collected. An exception is crash report data, which presumably collects some personal data, but only if a user opts to submit it.

This, together with the rest of the policy, seems adequate for users to decide if this constitutes "spying," or is in any other way so unacceptable that it is reason enough not to buy & use the software. What more do you need to know than that?


Affinity Photo 1.7.1 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.0.135 & Affinity Designer 1.7.0.9 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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Our software does use the internet connection. If turned on there is a call on startup to check for updates (currently optional on Mac only). It also gets images and links for the welcome feed that are appropriate to the software (and source for the software). NONE of this includes personal data and none is stored, other than a call count. 

To explain the program passes anonymous data to get the right feed to announce new versions, offers and related applications or content . The parameters passed to us includes info whether the software originated from the Affinity store or the Apple store or Microsoft store. Then we can pass back the right images and links for your software. We do not personalise that feed or store the information. So, for example, everyone running the Microsoft store Affinity Photo will see the same images in the Welcome screen.

If you agree to use the beta then crash reports sent include more useful machine data but still nothing personal, just info to help us reproduce the crash. Crash reports sent with the release builds contain even less information than that.

All of our software will work blocked from internet access, but please check occasionally for updates.

Patrick Connor
Data Protection Officer
Serif Europe Limited


Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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2 hours ago, Grandpappy said:

So, are we being spied on or what? A reply in English and not Klingon is appreciated.

Being spied on is a concern on the internet in general, but I trust Serif enough not to stoop to that level, but not knowing exactly what is being collected from my computer without showing me is a concern.

I come from a time when if companies wanted information, they asked for it, not just assumed consent because I bought their product.

Some people might say I'm being over the top, but I have been a victim of credit card fraud, and my wife's name was used to set up a mobile phone account. I am perhaps more cautious about where my info is and what happens to it. I can tell you, it is not nice finding out someone spend over £3k on my card on medical supplies in New York! Sure, internet banking was quite new back then (Egg Bank), and getting a bailiff letter was equally disturbing. The experiences have made me weary about vague use of language and non disclosure of where my details go.


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1 minute ago, Patrick Connor said:

Our software does use the internet connection. If turned on (currently optional on Mac only) there is a call to check for updates. It also gets images and links for the welcome feed that are appropriate to the software (and source for the software). NONE of this includes personal data and none is stored, other than a call count. 

To explain the program passes anonymous data to get the right feed to announce new versions, offers and related applications or content . The parameters passed to us includes info whether the software originated from the Affinity store or the Apple store or Microsoft store. Then we can pass back the right images and links for your software. We do not personalise that feed or store the information. So everyone running the Microsoft store Affinity Photo will see the same images in the Welcome screen.

If you agree to use the beta then crash reports sent include more useful machine data but still nothing personal, just info to help us reproduce the crash. Crash reports sent with the release builds contain even less information than that.

All of our software will work blocked from internet access, but please check occasionally for updates.

Fantastic! Thank you Patrick. Nicely explained.

Maybe the Serif legal team could tidy up that privacy policy to make it completely clear from the beginning or have separate ones for the website and apps.

Thanks again. :)

 


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1 hour ago, xarthangrol said:

Fantastic! Thank you Patrick. Nicely explained.

Thanks again. :)

You are welcome

1 hour ago, xarthangrol said:

Maybe the Serif legal team could tidy up that privacy policy to make it completely clear from the beginning or have separate ones for the website and apps.

No that's for the website and is correct for that purpose. Please see my later correction to this reply

and from the software license (where this agreement belongs and already exists)

Quote

Consent to Use of Data

You agree that Serif and its affiliates may use any information you give to us as part of product support and other services provided to you, if any, related to the Serif Software solely to improve products or to provide customised services or technologies to you and will not disclose this information in a form that personally identifies you.

Patrick Connor
Data Protection Officer
Serif Europe Limited


Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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2 minutes ago, Patrick Connor said:

No that's for the website and is correct for that purpose.

Okay. So, I was right about it being for the website and not the apps?

Thank you for the link to the product EULA. I couldn't find it before.

 


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30 minutes ago, xarthangrol said:

So, that means (probably also legally) that if I am using an app but NOT using the Affinity website, none of the policy applies.

But very clearly you are using the web site, so what is your point?


Affinity Photo 1.7.1 & Affinity Designer 1.7.1; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 1.7.0.135 & Affinity Designer 1.7.0.9 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iOS 12.3.1

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Just now, xarthangrol said:

Thank you for the link to the product EULA. I couldn't find it before.

I am not surprised. Looking at this I think it is only linked to from the Store Help [license section] and that the Help link itself is only available in the burger menu when logged into the store. I think that should be improved for a start.


Patrick Connor

Serif (Europe) Ltd.

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@Patrick Connor

Thank you for clarification.

But if this is all data that is exchanged what does "usage data" mean?

I assumed by that the tool would anonymously collect which functions/features/Personas I use, what file types I open, which resolution my files have... just how I use it... a "usage profile".

Does that happen?

Edited by Steps

Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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