iTune MiniStore now discloses privacy policy - Macenstein

iTune MiniStore now discloses privacy policy

Posted by Lab Rat

You may recall last week we ran a somewhat alarmist article posing the question as to whether or not the latest update to iTunes contained “spyware� in the form of the new MiniStore which suddenly appeared at the bottom of the iTunes window. It seemed that every song you clicked on in your iTunes library, whether purchased through iTunes or not, was then being used by Apple to suggest similar tracks you may wish to purchase through its store. Apple has claimed that none of the data being transmitted is actually being stored by Apple, but some users felt this was an invasion of privacy. At the very least, most users felt this “feature� should either be turned off by default, or at least be preceded by a reassuring blurb from Apple explaining what was going on.

Well, starting this morning, iTunes users have noted that a new message pops up explaining what the iTunes mini store is, then asks the user if they would like to turn it on, explains how to turn it off, and most importantly, explains the mini store’s privacy policies.

“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?�

Playing Devil’s Advocate

So while the debate may rage as to whether Apple should have just done this from day one, I am left wondering if this was always Apple’s backup plan from the start. You see, this ability to turn on the MiniStore is not dependent upon downloading a new update to iTunes. I am far from a code monkey. I have no idea how iTunes is written, and maybe server side code can change your preferences (not that I like the sound of that much either), but the little MiniStore’s “Turn On MiniStore� button seems like something that might have been built in to iTunes 6.0.2, waiting to be utilized dependent upon people’s reactions.

I am hoping the more “technologically gifted� readers of this article will use the comments form below to inform me as to how they think the “Turn On MiniStore� button is scripted. Is it soley housed on the music store, so Apple simply had to swap that screen with their normal song suggestion screen (meaning they can remotely change your preferences via the music store) or was it built into iTunes’ last update, and triggered somehow by the mini store? Surely some programmer out there has a (conspiracy) theory.

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