Apple Computers has released an altered version of their iTunes Music Library software after many major news websites picked up word of a potential “spyware-like song recommendation feature.”
Apple said Tuesday that the update to iTunes prevents the “MiniStore” feature, a feature added early last week, from being on by default, and rather, gives the option for users to turn it on. The MiniStore window allows users to see suggestions for music and video related to what they are currently listening to.
The privacy advocates say that this feature gives Apple the ability to track what music people are listening to, and in turn, is a privacy invasion.
The MiniStore feature differs from say, Google’s suggesting of other potential keywords, because the user is aware that the information is being sent to Google, with the ministore, this information exchange occurs transparently.
“We’ve listened to our users and made access to the MiniStore an opt-in feature,” claims an Apple spokesperson.
The change implements a feature which asks the user whether they would like to use MiniStore or not, and warns that it will send information to Apple regarding the user’s listening habits.
Apple claims that they are not storing any data about a users listening habits, and that the data sent to their servers is used only once to generate the recommendation then it is discarded.
Apple is not the only company who has been accused of privacy invasion with automated recommedation services. TiVo Inc., developers of the popular TiVo personal video recording system was accused of tracking users viewing habits when implementing a “suggested watching” feature.