Sunday, January 15, 2006

iTunes 6.0.2. goes clandestinely adware with MiniStore

Okay, there’s a lot of hoopla out there about iTunes 6.0.2 software having the new “MiniStore feature,” which, if open, will send info to Apple about what songs you click or listen to in your library and then present songs in the MiniStore pane similar to those songs clicked or listened to in your library.

First of all, you can disable this feature easily by clicking the button below the Mini-Store pane or select Edit > Show MiniStore (↑-⌘-M) to turn it off. No data are sent out once it’s disabled. Remind others who use your computer and have their own accounts to also disable this feature, because it will open for them as well; I’m sure Apple is counting on someone in the household not knowing how to turn the crap off.

The problem with this mess is that Apple doesn’t explicitly state anywhere they’re going to monitor your habits; they’re not forthcoming with information on turning it off; and they have it set to activate automatically when you first open iTunes after upgrading, which means until you figure out what the hell is happening you’re being watched. Regardless of whether you’re staunchly defending Apple (like many of the zealots over at the Apple Discussion boards), Apple has been less than honest by sneaking in this “new feature.”

I’m really not too concerned if Apple knows what I’m listening to (as I’m a faithful customer who has bought many tunes on iTMS--and I own 3 Macs, an Airport Express, and an iPod), but they’re also sending data to some 3rd party company called Omniture, Inc. Apple unofficially has claimed to dispose of data instantly (info used to target the advertisements to you in iTunes), but what does Omniture have to do with it? Why are they also getting the data? Are they also instantly disposing of the data? Something in me says NO!

Others on the net have found that your Apple ID is also sent with this data if you’re logged in, and though Apple may not store any data sent, there are some cookies and other info stored on YOUR computer. So in this regard, it is arguably spyware and at the very least adware. So users be-WARE!

Other reads on the subject:

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