Thursday, January 12, 2006

iTunes is not spyware

At least according to an Apple spokesperson it’s not spying on us.

Ok, check out this Knowledge Base article (and note that it was created on Jan. 4, 2006, which is the same day that iTunes 6.0.2 was released and a day before everyone started freaking out that iTunes was transmitting data back to Apple).

You can also read this post on Boing Boing that has lots of information from an Apple “source” (that is rumored to be Steve Jobs himself) who states that any information sent to Apple is discarded.  There’s a lot more information on the Boing Boing post with lots of updates, so read up if you feel like it.

Is it ok that iTunes 6.0.2 installs MiniStore by default without informing you that it is transmitting information? No.  Is it ok that this is not specifically addressed in Apple’s privacy policy? No.  Is it ok that you have to access a Knowledge Base article to figure out what is going on rather than having it clear and obvious on the main iTunes page? No.

You can also read the post on MacWorld’s blog about iTunes 6.0.2 and the statement issued by Apple.

What’s the moral here?  People are smart.  Smart people have the instant ability to publish their findings on the web in real time.  Other people will pick up on what the smart people have found and greatly accelerate the dissemination of information.  Transparency is absolutely critical.  If you have designed a “feature” that potentially could cause concern and/or that a smart person can detect and construe as doing something malicious, disclose it and give people a way to disable it.

No comments: