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Apple backpedals on iTunes MiniStore

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By LC Angell

Contributing Editor
Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2006
News Categories: iTunes

The recently released iTunes 6.0.2 update brought a new feature called the iTunes MiniStore, which analyzes the the music in your library and suggests similar offerings for purchase. Following complaints from users and tech writers who said the default feature was akin to spyware, Apple has quickly responded to easily explain the feature to iTunes users and make it more optional.

While the MiniStore was always able to be turned off by selecting Edit > Hide MiniStore, Apple now explains that iTunes users can use a button at the bottom of the iTunes window to quickly turn the feature on or off. Apple has also updated the MiniStore so that iTunes users are now met with the following message explaining the feature:

“The iTunes MiniStore allows you to discover new music and videos right from your iTunes Library. As you select items in your Library, information about that item is sent to Apple and the MiniStore will show you related songs or videos. Apple does not keep any information related to the contents of your music Library. Would you like to turn on the MiniStore now?”

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Comments

21

They have a responsibility to inform users that information is being collected.  For those of us who enjoy our privacy and who don’t want this dumb feature enabled, we need to know 1., that it exists and 2., that it can be disabled.  If Apple didn’t do these things, then they are being irresponsible.  It’s like Sony’s BMG fiasco.  Not only were people not informed, but you can’t uninstall it (at the time - is this still the case??).

Posted by dantan98 on January 18, 2006 at 2:38 PM (PDT)

22

Apple should have asked before it collected and used this data, just as any other company should, and most of them likely do.

Is it a serious infraction? No, since it’s just music, but it is, without permission, collecting data that isn’t theirs without permission.

Is it the same as looking over my shoulder when I’m picking out a CD at a physical store? No, since this data COULD be collected in a more significant way, COULD be sold to other companies, etc.

Apple made a minor error, it got noticed, and they responded the best any company could… they corrected the problem, made it more clear what was going on, and spelled out how to avoid it (which was already in place, just not clear).

I’m glad they offer the feature, I’m glad they make it a choice, and I hope they improve on it’s ability to really suggest songs!

Posted by Tim on January 18, 2006 at 2:40 PM (PDT)

23

OOOOOhhhhh they adding spyware/adware. So what if they are? What do you got hide? Their all kind stuff that you click on every day. Where do you think that information is going. We have a President spy all the time. Ture or False?

Posted by bond2kill on January 18, 2006 at 2:43 PM (PDT)

24

“PRIVACY IS THE VEIL OF THE DUBIOUS.” - R. Datema, c. 1998

Posted by Rotten Tuba Corps in Chicago on January 18, 2006 at 2:44 PM (PDT)

25

Big deal, everyone in the world can already see what I’ve been listening to.
http://www.last.fm/user/Galley99/

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on January 18, 2006 at 2:47 PM (PDT)

26

Now - I think it was noted last week on MacOSXhints.com that only the information regarding the tracks that you select are sent to generate the mini store content, ie., track info as a result of iTunes playing music via shuffle or as an album or playlist will not be sent. If I stop midstream and click on Soundgarden, then that is sent - if go to my library and abitrarily pick an artist, that will be sent, if I begin to play a track any subsequent artists/album info is not sent.

Posted by dburney on January 18, 2006 at 2:57 PM (PDT)

27

Amazon creates a page just for me based on what I’ve purchased.

That’s a significant point… Perhaps you can see the difference? Amazon creates a page for you based on what you’ve purchased (from them). They’re not collecting information that has nothing to do with them, from your computer. Apple are.

Oh my God, they know what music I listen to! It’s the end of the world as we know it!

I don’t care who knows what I’m listenning to. But information is money. Apple were collecting valuable information from you (and this information IS valuable), without notifying you or asking your permission. That’s theft.

Posted by Dingo on January 18, 2006 at 6:16 PM (PDT)

28

The bottom line is that Apple thought they were above it all.  They thought their s*** didn’t stink.  They thought they would trot this new feature out and everyone would just love it.

Well, they’re no better than anyone else who does it and everyone else who has done it has caught hell for it.

I personally don’t think it’s the end of the world, nor is it very inventive.  MusicMatch has done it for years (with the option to opt-out, or maybe the option is to opt-in).

Fanboys shouldn’t dismiss the facts, nor should haters refuse to forgive Apple.

Posted by Talking Madness in Los Angeles on January 18, 2006 at 11:39 PM (PDT)

29

Look people,

I respect you guys for being apple followers/supporters like myself but I think that mostly people have over reacted to be quite honest this feature is there to help and may introduce you to new content that you may not have considered before!

They are not the first or the last to offer some form of recommendation scheme and as someone above said ... your data would be on the apple servers for 10 seconds at the most!

lighten up has the world turned into a mad paranoid society where everyone thinks someone is out to get them or get something from them ...

Posted by Till in UK on January 19, 2006 at 8:00 AM (PDT)

30

I just wish the panel would go away instead of occupying about 25% of my screen real estate!

Posted by dantan98 on January 19, 2006 at 10:33 AM (PDT)

31

Worry Worry Worry Cry baby! If you scared get rid of your IPOD. Then go buy some other crap!

Posted by bond2kill on January 19, 2006 at 11:13 AM (PDT)

32

you can turn the thing off dantan98. At least it gives you that option.

Peace

Posted by Go Seahawks beat them Panthers on January 19, 2006 at 5:20 PM (PDT)

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