A View From The Handbasket

Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Posted by neros_fiddle at 2:22 PM
Apple introduced a new version of iTunes last week that included a feature called the "ministore," which was a window at the bottom of the screen that displayed stuff you might want to buy from the iTunes Music Store based on the song you clicked on in your existing library. (Just like Amazon's "people who bought this liked this" feature, in other words.) I saw it, thought it was annoying, and turned it off with a single click.

However, legions of iTunes users freaked out and labelled the new iTunes as "spyware." Since, after all, the ministore had to know what song to look up, that information was sent to the Music Store. So, in a hypertechnical sense, it was sending information over the Internet! Horrors! Someone might know I'm listening to Magma! For including this easily defeatable feaure, Apple was pilloried as the worst thing since Gator.

Now we hear that Apple is disabling the ministore and warning users that their ultra-secret listening habits will be known to Apple if they enable it. Total transparency. Kudos!

So, let's review.

1) Utterly trivial information being disclosed to the Apple store while using the application that interfaces to the Apple store is inexcusable, cause for uproar and requires immediate rectification.

2) George Bush listening to any phone conversation and reading any e-mail he damn well pleases without a warrant is a "vital tool," and those who object to it must be on the side of the terrorists.

I think the idea of "privacy" is seriously out of whack in America.

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