Some Kodi Users are Being Forced to Install Anti Piracy Spyware

By Tom Pritchard on at

The battle between Kodi and piracy has been ongoing for quite some time, and now it looks like some add-on developers are getting a bit devious with their users. How? Well some users that have third-party skins installed have discovered that some of these extras have been coming bundled with monitoring software that checks to see if any other add-ons they have are legitimate (read: not piracy related).

The monitoring is being carried out by an add-on called KN Addon Caretaker, which essentially functions as a form of spyware. It's been found bundled with the skins Estuary MOD V2 and Embuary, forcing users to install it if they want to take advantage of those skins and jazz up the look of their Kodi player.

Once installed it checks a users add-ons against a central database, ensuring there's no illegitimate software installed. If it does, then it constantly displays messages to the user until they disable the 'problematic' software. But the database of 'problematic' add-ons is also fairly problematic in itself, and at least two legitimate add-on depositories (created by official Kodi developers) have been blacklisted by mistake.

The bundle has come about because developers are tired of their software being used alongside the piracy-enabling add-ons that have rights holders all worked up. So they decided to make KN Addon Caretaker a mandatory installation. The add-on itself isn't the problem, seeing as people could previously consent to its use to ensure they weren't accidentally breaking the law. But forcing it on users has annoyed a lot of people - and is seen as yet another step towards vilifying Kodi users.

So it looks as though yet another fight is breaking out within the Kodi community. A war between those who want to avoid the platform being used for piracy at all costs, and those who want to preserve its open nature (the thing that made it so popular in the first place). According to TVAddons at least one official Kodi developer has spoken out against the move, which says a lot seeing as how much effort has gone into Kodi distancing itself from the infamous piracy-enabling software that keeps making headlines.

The real question here is who are these devs trying to protect? They claim it's a matter of self preservation, but is it up to them what the end user has installed on their device? Yes piracy and so-called fully-loaded Kodi boxes gives the platform a bad name, but it's not their place to decide what people can and can't do. Forcing them to install spyware to use a skin, of all things, is just plain wrong. particularly since individuals using piracy add-ons doesn't affect these devs in the slightest.

There are plenty of ways to tackle piracy on Kodi, but this is not one of them. [TVAddons via TechRadar]

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