Apple Spying on it's Customers; Is Nothing Sacred?

Privacy is one of the lead growing concerns in our society today. Apple doesn't seem to be helping (not surprised on that one). With the release of Apple's OSX Yosemite comes the deceptive "Spotlight". What is this? Well why not take Apple's answer for what it is:

When you use Spotlight, your search queries, the Spotlight Suggestions you select, and related usage data will be sent to Apple. Search results found on your Mac will not be sent. If you have Location Services on your Mac turned on, when you make a search query to Spotlight the location of your Mac at that time will be sent to Apple. Searches for common words and phrases will be forwarded from Apple to Microsoft’s Bing search engine. 

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I did not ever think I would ever see Apple sending search queries to Bing, a search engine owned by one of their chief competitors, Microsoft. So basically, with spotlight search enabled, anything you search on the internet, will be sent to Apple and Microsoft. Apple can now have a night out with their partners-in-crime, drinking wine over your search queries. In addition to this, Apple is going to keep tabs of where you searched it, for that extra kick in privacy. Who needs it anyway.

Even using a search browser like DuckDuckGo, something meant to keep your search queries anonymous, won't help since this happens within the Operating System and not over a network.

Linux

So now Apple knows what you search and where. Is it finally time to switch to MacOSX's long lost brother Linux? (Except Ubuntu. Just, don't use Ubuntu.)

Fortunately, not yet.

By heading to System Preferences > Spotlight > Search Results and unchecking Spotlight Suggestions and Bing Web Searches, you get rid of most of the menace.

To disable the evil within Safari, go to Safari > Preferences > Search, and disable Spotlight Suggestion their as well.

Although even disabling these settings does not totally get rid of Apple honing in on your private searches.

A GitHub Project is dedicated to finding and documenting the privacy issues found within Apples new Operating System. And according to the project, even disabling these settings does not stop Apple from automatically sending network communications from your computer, straight to Apple HQ.

According to the project, even selecting DuckDuckGo as your search provider and disabling Spotlight Suggestions still sends your Safari searches to Apple.

Is nothing sacred?

Using a browser such as TOR and pairing it with DuckDuckGo may be the best course of action, at least for now. This is, of course, if you truly want to stay anonymous. (Honestly who wants Apple looking over your shoulder and documenting your searches?).

If anything, Apple should at least not do this without users consent. Things like this are usually opt-in, not opt-out. Maybe everyone has just accepted others snooping around as no longer noteworthy, the  "why fight it?" mentality.

What do you think of Apple and Microsoft snooping around in your searches? Should we be worried, or is this just another false alarm?

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Andrew Plaza

Nerdy Tech fanatic interested in the intricacies of life, technology, and high existence.

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