Apple's iTunes update gets vetted for spyware like feature

Summary:By way of ZDNet reader "Tic Swayback" who responded to today's post about the questionable behavior of Apple's RSS technology, we have a link...

By way of ZDNet reader "Tic Swayback" who responded to today's post about the questionable behavior of Apple's RSS technology, we have a link to Boing Boing where Cory Doctorow and his readers have spotted even more questionable spyware-like behavior in the lastest iTunes update without enough or properly positioned disclosure on what sort of information Apple is collecting:

Yesterday, I blogged about Apple's latest iTunes update, which, by default, switches on the "MiniStore," an advertising/recommendation section that uses your current song-selection to recommend other songs that you can buy from Apple. In order to accomplish this, it must transmit your listening habits to Apple.... The problem is that Apple doesn't inform you when you update your iTunes that you're also turning on a system that transmits your private information to Apple and third-party partners. There's no indication (apart from the recommendations) that this is going on, nor is there any information about what Apple will do with that information.

In the comments under Doctorow's post, his readers tear apart the data stream with their protocol analyzers and report their findings.  Meanwhile, in something of an acknowledgement that the data is being sent to Apple, Steve Jobs claims that his company isn't retaining the data.  My take: Microsoft was crucified for potential privacy incursions before its Passport technology ever made it out the door.  What standard should Apple be held to here or is this like Apple's digital restrictions management technology that iPod and iTunes users (in what we don't know can't hurt us fashion) can't seem to absorb enough of, or care less about?

Topics: Apple

About

David Berlind was fomerly the executive editor of ZDNet. David holds a BBA in Computer Information Systems. Prior to becoming a tech journalist in 1991, David was an IT manager.

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