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OS X Operating Systems Privacy Apple

If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data 313

fyngyrz (762201) writes It would seem that no matter how you configure Yosemite, Apple is listening. Keeping in mind that this is only what's been discovered so far, and given what's known to be going on, it's not unthinkable that more is as well. Should users just sit back and accept this as the new normal? It will be interesting to see if these discoveries result in an outcry, or not. Is it worse than the data collection recently reported in a test version of Windows?
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If You're Connected, Apple Collects Your Data

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  • Yay :D (Score:5, Funny)

    by jimmetry ( 1801872 ) on Sunday October 19, 2014 @07:14PM (#48182849)

    2015 will the the year of Desktop Linux!

  • Yes, worse (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Zaelath ( 2588189 ) on Sunday October 19, 2014 @07:17PM (#48182873)

    Of course it's much worse than the data collection from a "technical preview". It's whole purpose is to discover how people use the damn thing and you sign up to be a guinea-pig in exchange for getting the advanced access.

    However, it's "to be expected" from Apple. You don't own their phones or laptops, they own you.

    • by Brannon ( 221550 ) on Sunday October 19, 2014 @07:59PM (#48183111)

      Apple has an excellent track record on privacy issues. Not because they are super nice people, but because that's not their business model.

      They don't make money by selling user information to third parties or by selling ads, they make money by selling actual physical objects to end-consumers. I'm not sure what you mean by "it's to be expected from Apple", but I'm pretty sure you just made that up because you don't like Apple's customers (probably because you met somebody who likes Apple products who has a more expensive haircut than you).

  • by ToasterTester ( 95180 ) on Sunday October 19, 2014 @07:18PM (#48182885)

    That why I just use my Mac for work, and everything elses on my Linux box.

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Sunday October 19, 2014 @07:21PM (#48182903) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft is testing a release candidate and is informing users of what they're monitoring.

    So far no one has complained about onerous licensing agreements with Yosemite, which seems to imply that Apple is not informing users about it.

    Until Microsoft has a production release, it's not even fair to compare the two.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Until Microsoft has a production release, it's not even fair to compare the two.

      Agreed. Not to use the old joke, but in this case comparing a pre-release beta build to a finished, released product is an apples to oranges comparison (or maybe apples to lemons would be more appropriate).

  • No, they shouldn't. Are they? Yup. About 90% of them won't even be aware it's going on.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So lets see, they have 3 cases of "tracking" here.
    1) A tracking cookie gets set on apple.com, subsequent loads of apple.com send the cookie to the server [closed: behaves correctly] - this is exactly how cookies are meant to work. The only possible issue here is that there appears to be a bug that all applications using some API to load the URL (I'd bet on NSURLConnection) are sharing the same cookies
    2) When you search for something in Apple's browser, it contact's Apple's server and asks it what types of

    • by anagama ( 611277 ) <obamaisaneocon@nothingchanged.org> on Sunday October 19, 2014 @07:47PM (#48183045) Homepage

      I think I understand -- you are saying the software operates as designed, so no problems here.

      I think what you aren't getting is that the way the software is designed is what ticks off people who care about their privacy.

      Seriously, why should mail.app inform apple that I set up an account randomMailHost.com? That the software does leads you to write [closed: behaves correctly]. This is not at all "correct" from many users' points of view -- you should use a phrase that is more factual and uses words with less judgment involved, for example: [closed: behaves as _designed_ (and if you don't like the design, suck it)].

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Seriously, why should mail.app inform apple that I set up an account randomMailHost.com?

        Mail.app should do that because apple will then send back "oh, randomMailHost.com's smtp server is at smtp.randomMailHost.com, and it's imap server is at imap6.subdomain.randomMailHostcom, you should log into it with the full email address, not just the bit before the at sign". That's extremely useful. As long as Apple is not then storing that randomMailHost.com is associated with a particular user - then there's no issue at all.

        • As long as Apple is not then storing that randomMailHost.com is associated with a particular user - then there's no issue at all.

          As a NSA agent for example. it wouldnt be useful to check with apple all the internet searches person of interest has conducted and while it might be disapointing that apple does not have his email on file and contacts they do at least know his email account with another provider and may be able to give login credentials for that service even if its outside of us juristiction.

          sounds paranoid until you consider what edward snowden has said already.

        • Why is Apple even responsible for tracking that kind of information?

          Can I sue them if they get it wrong, rendering my mail client unable to connect to the correct server (or revealing my credentials to a third party) because it followed their instructions instead of mine? No, that wasn't a typo, but thank you for redirecting my login credentials to the wrong server, which then stole them and used them...

  • Seems Apples picking up searches from safari, even when told not too.
    microsoft decided to log all your key strokes. Both experiences are negative but the later situation seems worse although niether are acceptable why should safari be sending "where to bury the body" back to apple, perhaps they have been "asked" for this information.

    • by Rosyna ( 80334 ) on Sunday October 19, 2014 @07:28PM (#48182933) Homepage

      Even if you change search engines in safari, it doesn't disable Spotlight suggestions in Safari. That's a separate checkbox in the Search tab in the Safari preferences. (There are a bunch of options in the Search preferences in Safari)

    • if you ask siri where to bury the body, she needs to go back to the apple servers to get the info.

    • microsoft decided to log all your key strokes.

      Microsoft released a testing product to gauge user interaction. The normal ways companies do this is ask users to sit and use a product and stand behind them watching their every move. No. The latter situation is not worse. If you don't want to participate in a testing release, then don't participate. It is completely expected that they log keystrokes, and though no one has mentioned it I wouldn't be surprised if they log mouse travel too.

  • ET Phone home (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ls671 ( 1122017 ) on Sunday October 19, 2014 @07:27PM (#48182927) Homepage

    Friends with wireless access and iphones coming to my place seem to be phoning home in some way.

    I detected apple trying to connect to some UDP ports on my router only when those iphones were around.
       

    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      Same here. I've been using that "feature" to check how long the maid stays when she comes by to do weekly housekeeping.

      Now I know how she can afford an iPhone, she charges for 3h but stays 2h!

    • It could just be some random app on the phone.

      If Apple itself wanted to upload data more stealthily, there is absolutely nothing to stop them - just wait until the next time you initiate a connection with apple.com, such as a software update. Devices are so connected now, with no real internal partitioning of data, it is all purely on the honor system (except the ToS generally say they can and will do whatever they want anyways!)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 19, 2014 @07:38PM (#48182995)

    So just out of ideal thought.... This wouldn't have anything to do with the settings clearly available for adjustment within the System Preferences -> Security & Privacy pane and then select the "Privacy" tab. Inside there you see a lot of clearly defined options for opting in or out of various settings:
    Location Services: Enable/Disable as a whole; Disable by specific user allowed apps
    Contacts: Allow/Disallow apps chosen by user to use your contacts
    Calendars: Allow/Disallow apps chosen by user to use your calendars
    Reminders: Allow/Disallow apps chosen by user
    Accessibility: Allow/Disallow apps chosen by user to control the computer
    Diagnostics & Usage: Allow/Disallow "Send diagnostic & usage data to Apple" as well as Allow/Disallow "Share crash data with app developers"

    Seems pretty obvious to me and very easy to find and adjust settings as desired by each user. Apple even goes a step further and within the "Diagnostics & Usage" option they have a button titled "About Diagnostics & Privacy" that provides the following information:

    About Diagnostics & Privacy

    Apple would like your help improving the quality and performance of its products and services. OS X can automatically collect diagnostic and usage information from your Mac and send it to Apple for analysis. The information is sent only with your consent and is submitted anonymously to Apple.

    If you opt-in to sharing diagnostic data with app developers, Apple may share your crash data with app developers so they can improve their products.

    If you opt-into sending diagnostic andusageinformation to Apple, it may include the following information:
    Details about app or system crashes, freezes, or kernel panics
    Information about events on your Mac (for example, whether a certain function, such as waking your Mac, was successful or not)
    Usage information (for example, data about how you use Apple and third-party software, hardware, and services)

    Diagnostic and usage data contains your computer’s hardware and software specifications, including information about devices connected to your Mac and the versions of the operating system and apps you’re using on your Mac. If you want to add a description of your actions when the problem occurred, click the disclosure triangle and enter your comments. Please do not provide personal information.

    Data can be sent automatically or manually if one of these events occurs:
    An app quits unexpectedly
    You choose to force an app to quit
    A system error occurs that causes your Mac to restart, or requires you to restart your Mac

    Report anonymously

    All diagnostic and usage information is collected and sent to Apple anonymously. None of the information submitted identifies you personally.

    Set reporting options

    If automatic reporting is off and a diagnostic event occurs, you’re offered the opportunity to collect information about the problem and send it to Apple.

    You can specify one of these options for information collection:

    Automatic reporting: When prompted, make sure “Don’t ask me again” is selected, then click OK. After you click OK, automatic reporting of diagnostic and usage information begins, and information is periodically sent to Apple anonymously. You are not prompted again unless you deselect “Send diagnostic & usage data to Apple” in the Privacy pane of Security & Privacy preferences.

    No reporting: When prompted, make sure “Don’t ask me again”

  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Sunday October 19, 2014 @07:44PM (#48183029)

    For most users, complete privacy from all internet services is not an option. When you enter a query into a search engine, you are providing the server with knowledge of your often very private interests. Your IP address and cookies make it easy for anyone determined to discover your identity as a person.

    So the first question is, do you directly benefit from your personal information being collected and retained? In case of a search query, collecting it for the purpose of showing search results is obviously necessary. Long term retention in the form that can be traced back to you is murky. Forwarding it to Apple seems unnecessary and I hope that the company provides an explanation.

    As far as safeguards go, it's reasonable that available information is provided to authorities with a subpoena which is narrowed down to minimum required for investigation. Like a list of queries with specific, obviously incriminating keywords made in the last month.

    But the notion of complete anonymity is about as practical for most people as living in the cabin in the woods. As a matter of principal, I don't think either should be made illegal. But most people will not be happy with the results, and most crooks will be too dumb to follow these lifestyles so strictly that they don't slip up and get caught.

  • *nix on the desktop has been discussed for yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaars but if Joe and/or Jane and/or little Billy Average ever get serious about privacy, could that cause a dramatic shift to open source? And where the users go, the devs are sure to follow. Just need to shift away from 99% of command-line configuration/installation/navigation and Billy Joe Jane Smooth, IMHO, will finally get on board. I'm a 25+ year nerd with my beginnings on an IBM PS/2 (shudder). 36 now, on Windows 7, and I pretty much loathe th
    • I don't think the command line is an issue. I don't think instructing a user to open a terminal and issue commands is any harder than having them open regedit and add obscure keys.

      The really sweet spot is a well designed GUI configuration utility which allows you to generate approriate command line scripts to allow the configuration to be duplicated. Unfortunately, this is rare in the Unix world and non-existent in Windows.

      Compared to GUIs, command line interfaces are stable. I am still using command

  • Windows is a TEST VERSION...MS talked loudly and publicly about the data collection and said it was for troubleshooting and optimization and that it will be ripped out of the final bits...Apple is doing this sneakily and for no clear benefit to the end user or the community of users as a whole.

    The last line of this summery is just flame bate...Editors, please edit these things!

    • The last line of this summery is just flame bate...Editors, please edit these things!

      The Editor did edit the submission -- to add the flame-bait!

  • In other words, assuming the data is being collected in order to improve the OS, will they actually be able to analyze this huge amount of data and come up with actual fixes?

    I'm asking because my past experience as an OSX user is that there is a massive amount of garbage warnings and errors in the OS's system logs, which never seem to get fixed (and that's kinda annoying). You would think that they would analyze the data and fix those issues, being the "thorough" and "detail oriented" people they purport to

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@@@nerdflat...com> on Sunday October 19, 2014 @09:01PM (#48183453) Journal

    Should users just sit back and accept this as the new normal?

    It doesn't matter if they sit back and accept it or not... it *IS* the new normal.

    Of course, it is much easier to live in a reality where you believe what makes you happier about living in the first place... so the desire to want to resist this sort of thing is entirely normal.

  • It doesn't matter. Enough of them already have, so that the rest have no choice if they want to use Apple products.

  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Sunday October 19, 2014 @11:00PM (#48183909) Homepage Journal

    Indubitably. Win10 Test is a product demo. So Microsoft is going to monitor it in a way that would be unfeasible for a shipping OS. They're trying to collect user data to make sure people are using Win10 the way they THINK people are going to use it. This is a byproduct of the Windows 8 metro/modern UI fiasco. If they don't disable/remove this level of monitoring when the OS ships, corporate customers will simply opt not to run with the OS...AGAIN.

    Seriously, NO company that's in ANY way serious about security is going to put up with a built in keylogger that's reporting back to MommySoft.

    Apple is doing the same thing with a live, shipping OS. Which is completely fucking heinous.

    Now, will they get away with it?

    Probably, because the rabid, turtleneck-and-jeans brigade of Mac fanatics will buy absolutely ANYTHING from Apple, so long as it has the Apple logo on it.

  • by markhahn ( 122033 ) on Sunday October 19, 2014 @11:21PM (#48183991)

    What kind of antisocial fiend would blame Apple for wanting to play a role in customer's lives? After all, isn't that sort of why Apple people buy Apple in the first place, the need to belong, to be involved in something bigger than themselves? You know: every sparrow, etc, etc.

  • by greggman ( 102198 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @01:03AM (#48184231) Homepage

    When I installed Yosemite the EULA said

    "Terms and Conditions: Important: Use of your Mac computer, ... is subject to these Terms and Conditions" [imgur.com]

    Note: It didn't say just say "use of this software", it said "Use of your Mac computer". It's effectively claiming if I don't follow the terms I'm not allowed to use the hardware period :(

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @01:25AM (#48184285) Homepage

    Sending the content of every search request to Apple? Notifying Apple if the user sets up a non-Apple email account? That's a blatant violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act unless Apple properly discloses that up front and gets the user's consent.

    Apple didn't do that.

    The EULA for MacOS [apple.com] isn't on line [apple.com] on Apple's own site. This matters. It violates the FTC's "clear and conspicuous" rule on disclosures. It's just like bundling spyware, which the FTC and state attorneys general have routinely hammered vendors for trying.

    This puts Apple in the uncomfortable position Sony was in when they put a root kit on an audio CD. [wikipedia.org]

  • by hooiberg ( 1789158 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @02:37AM (#48184453)
    Did anybody seriously even consider that they would not do that?

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