News has surfaced that Mac OS X Yosemite has been collecting user information through the Spotlight feature. Spotlight is Apple’s built in search function that not only searches a user’s hard disk, but also the internet through Microsoft’s Bing search engine. Aside from conducting the search, it will also return that search data plus the user’s location to the Apple servers.
Ashkan Soltani, an independent researcher, noted that Apple does not hide the fact that this information is being collected as it specifically says so in the terms of service. Naturally, this documentation is rarely looked at causing many to not be aware of what happens when they use the search function.
Ars Technica reached out to Apple for a comment were told that the company had designed the search feature to protect the privacy of users. While it admits that data is sent back to its servers, Apple claims that the location data that is sent back is blurred and IP addresses are not part of the data package. This would mean that the company only has a general idea of where the computer is, and cannot get a precise location.
Concerned users still have the option of turning off the data collection services. Fix-macosx.com lists steps for turning off the data collection and location functionality; which really shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
[Source: Ars Technica]