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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

iTunes Update Contains Spyware?

Before you go and update your Apple iTunes, you may want to read a little farther. Marc Garret over at Since1968 has uncovered a portion of Apple's newest update 6.02 which maybe spyware.

The new feature in itunes called 'MiniStore' apparently relies back to apple and another site what song and album you are listening to in order to promote others to you as well. In his piece, Garrett states:

Each time you play a different song, the MiniStore features information about the artist currently playing, as well as “Listeners Also Bought…� Here’s a full size capture of Apple marketing in action: as you can see, I’m playing Mary J. Blige covering U2’s “One�, and the MiniStore shows other albums from Mary J. Blige and U2.

This means, of course, that every single time I play a song the information is sent back to Apple. You can turn off the MiniStore at the click of a button, but it’s not clear whether turning off the MiniStore is the same as turning off the flow of data (one doubts it). And don’t bother looking for a way to turn this “feature� off in the Preference pane: it’s not there.

Garrett continues on in his piece picking apart the iTunes Privacy Policy (a favorite past time of a certain owner of this blog):

Either the privacy statement means something, or it doesn’t. My sense is that it doesn’t: the general exceptions Apple carves out for itself in the Privacy Policy are large enough to drive a truck through, making the specific exceptions in the iTunes TOS meaningless.

So what it comes down to is if you get your music from, lets just say a service your grandma wouldn't use and your 12yr old brother would, then either use an open source player or do what I do and don't update your itunes!

By Evan Roberts at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

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