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  • Apple Issues a Statement Regarding Spotlight Suggestions Privacy "Backlash"


    A recent report from The Washington Post painted the implementation of Spotlight as a privacy issue on Apple’s part. The publication cited a “backlash” from the public where it claims the function’s lack of privacy is strong as it automatically collects user search ad location data through Spotlight Suggestions. The report mentions the following regarding the matter:

    Once Yosemite is installed, users searching for files - even on their own hard drives — have their locations, unique identifying codes and search terms automatically sent to the company, keystroke by keystroke. The same is true for devices using Apple's latest mobile operating system, iOS 8.
    Apple turned around and responded pointing out how the system actually works. Based on Apple’s response, the system is much less intrusive than the accusations make it out to be. That being said, certain bits of data are sent to Apple servers but the information isn’t stored for purposes of identification and only lasts for a 15-minute window before it is recycled. The Cupertino California company’s response mentioned the following:

    We are absolutely committed to protecting our users' privacy and have built privacy right into our products. For Spotlight Suggestions we minimize the amount of information sent to Apple. Apple doesn't retain IP addresses from users' devices. Spotlight blurs the location on the device so it never sends an exact location to Apple. Spotlight doesn't use a persistent identifier, so a user's search history can't be created by Apple or anyone else. Apple devices only use a temporary anonymous session ID for a 15-minute period before the ID is discarded.

    We also worked closely with Microsoft to protect our users' privacy. Apple forwards only commonly searched terms and only city-level location information to Bing. Microsoft does not store search queries or receive users' IP addresses.
    The tech giant continued by reminding users that they can easily opt out of Spotlight Suggestions, Bing and Location Services through the System Preferences on a Mac and the Settings app in iOS. These options are also noted with links to system settings by default when using Spotlight on Apple’s mobile and desktop operating systems. Users can also find an outline of how Apple uses customer data in a page on the company’s website dedicated to privacy. Cook has been quite vocal on the subject of “customers as products,” which is a notion exemplified by Google’s increasingly aggressive attempts to monetize personal information. The Apple CEO is always pointing out that Apple restricts its data collection activities to those that offer a better experience for the end user. As a result, the new Spotlight Suggestions appears to hold to those same standards.

    The revamped Spotlight feature in OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 ties in results from both local files and folders, but extends to the Web with Spotlight Suggestions offering up information from Wikipedia, Microsoft’s Bing search engine and Apple’s first party services like iTunes and the App Store. As mentioned before, users can opt out of these services in Spotlight settings, restricting the search tool to local drives which means no data is sent offsite.

    Have any of you noticed this? If so, how do you feel about the whole situation?

    Source: Apple (Privacy), The Washington Post, iMore via AppleInsider
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Issues a Statement Regarding Spotlight Suggestions Privacy "Backlash" started by Akshay Masand View original post
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. fleurya's Avatar
      fleurya -
      ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME?!?!

      Are they seriously talking about this is the age of Google and Facebook, who COLLECT ALL YOUR DATA and EVERY KEYSTROKE, READ all your EMAILS, including ATTACHMENTS, find backdoor ways of tracking your internet activity, even when you try to opt out, and in Facebook’s case, even use your phone’s location and mic to collect information about you with NO OPT OUT?!?!? Are they seriously trying to make this an issue with crap like that going on everyday where nobody even bats an eye???

      Talk about some sensationalist BS reporting that is clearly for nothing more than grabbing mouseclicks! This is just shameful! This kind of “journalism” ranks right up there with the tabloid trash you see in supermarket checkout lanes.

      Pathetic
    1. StuG III's Avatar
      StuG III -
      Quote Originally Posted by fleurya View Post
      ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME?!?!

      Are they seriously talking about this is the age of Google and Facebook, who COLLECT ALL YOUR DATA and EVERY KEYSTROKE, READ all your EMAILS, including ATTACHMENTS, find backdoor ways of tracking your internet activity, even when you try to opt out, and in Facebook’s case, even use your phone’s location and mic to collect information about you with NO OPT OUT?!?!? Are they seriously trying to make this an issue with crap like that going on everyday where nobody even bats an eye???

      Talk about some sensationalist BS reporting that is clearly for nothing more than grabbing mouseclicks! This is just shameful! This kind of “journalism” ranks right up there with the tabloid trash you see in supermarket checkout lanes.

      Pathetic
      Oi listen up. It is irrelevant who spies on you currently, it's still wrong. People need to be informed of what is going on. This isn't clickbait. Go to Gawker and see what real clickbait is.