Apple and Privacy issues

I've been an Apple guy since the beginning, always felt smug about how reliable their platform was and how Apple treated customers with respect and honored the highest standards of privacy.

Lately there has been a growing problem with Apple, probably some of you using Apple for music or movies know about this but seems most do not.

For instance, the new Apple (Safari) browser will load Google track cookies even if you choose Ixquick (private browser) as primary and Yahoo as backup.

This occurs if Safari is loaded and UNUSED in 15 minutes or less. In other words there is an autoload of Google track cookies before you use the browser or visit any web site.

I searched forums at Apple and other computer sites and there are a few people aware of this. Seems it occurred in the last 30 days or so via automated updates of system and Safari browser software.

Worse still, the latest version of Apple system software (Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard) DOES NOT allow removal of Google cookies, even via security tab when you select and press delete.

As if that were not enough, the CIA and Google are building a massive network to track all internet traffic. They refer to it as "Predictive Analytics."

I'm an honest person, nothing to hide but I resent the attack on privacy this represents. I'll continue to use Ixquick and have switched to Firefox as my primary browser and removed Safari from my menu bar.

Never thought I would see the day I griped about Apple, I've never owned anything else and now they are looking worse than Microsoft with their privacy snooping.

My favorite browser for the MAC is Camino. Check it out.

Apple does what is best for Apple.

Not that other competitors do not as well, but the proprietary nature of Apple technology has always led me to steer clear as much as possible.

"Predictive Analytics" means that the data will be mined for patterns of behavior of interest to whoever is doing the "mining". Like most things, that info can be used or abused.

I use Mozilla exclusively in that is an open source browser where many parties have more of a skin in the game. That helps to deter or at least delay potential abuses of the technology, or at least that is what one would hope for.
I went to the security tab under safari, searched for google and was able to delete the cookies.
I went to the security tab under safari, searched for Google and was able to delete the cookies.

You are fortunate or maybe different software version. Maybe this article and discussion will help?


What does Safari, Google or CIA have to do with listening to audio? Please take your soapbox elsewhere.
Albert, It's all about national security.

The CIA got word about your humor and how that often comes out in jokes. They want to compile a list of all of your comments. Then flood Al Queda with it. While the terrorists are laughing...they'll do what needs to be done.

(that is if the jokes don't get em first) :) !!!

I for one am glad you posted this. I am toying with computer based audio. So I think this is a pertinent topic for Audiogon since browers like safari are a critical component in this audio source.

No one is forcing anyone to read it and it's appropriatly labeled.

So if you're on a soapbox, then we have another now to. Besides, isn't what these forums are about? Expressing opinions and sometimes facts, sharing viewpoints, and discussing with others...

Thanks for posting
I personally don't consider tracking cookies to be a significant privacy concern, although in principle the potential for abuse cannot be completely ruled out.

It should be kept in mind that tracking cookies do NOT provide the capability of recording ALL website visits from the particular browser on the particular computer. They just provide the capability of recording visits to sites that subscribe to the particular cookie.

In this case I would expect that to mean sites which use Google's advertising services to place third-party ads on their sites. The tracking cookie would allow them to avoid repetitious placement of the same ads for a given user, and to target selection of the ads based on what other sites the user has visited that also use Google's ad services.

-- Al
Thanks for the informative posts!!! I found them pertinent to my life and not at all provocative!!!

Thanks again for making me aware of this practice!!
Larry_S must work for Apple, Google, or the CIA (when he's not "listening" to audio).

Thanks for the info Albert, I wasn't aware of this news till reading your post.

You are quite right. Your Apple computer has major privacy issues, which I was able to confirm yesterday.

BTW, for $10,000 I will return all your compromising photos and mum's the word about your mistress from me. I promise. Nudge nudge wink wink - say no more!

BTW, for $10,000 I will return all your compromising photos and mum's the word about your mistress from me. I promise. Nudge nudge wink wink - say no more!


Snap snap, grin grin, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more?

Holiday snaps, eh?

No, no I'm afraid we don't have a camera.
I've been aware of Apple's trend to embrace "predictive analytics" and have viewed it with some suspicion. I'm not paranoid or anything, but the endless desire on the part of marketers to delve into the mind of consumers just annoys me. I've switched to using Mozilla Firefox with Ghostery software to keep an eye on who's watching me. Ghostery is pretty cool. It tells you who is keeping tabs on your cookies, what they purport to do with the info gathered, and what their privacy policies are. If you don't like what you learn, you can block their snooping.
i have done web and predictive analytic marketing projects as part of my work. as performed normally bymost private companies, they are harmless to the individual consumer and used mostly to better determine target groups that may be more receptive to marketing initiatives.

as i indicatedearlier,any techno
ogy can be used or abused so it is right to be concerned about what information is out there and how it may be used.
"Larry_S must work for Apple, Google, or the CIA (when he's not "listening" to audio)."

No, I just post on topic for the forum/site I'm reading. Just because people use MACs for audio doesn't mean all the software on the system is a subject for discussion on an audio related forum/site. I use the player in my car to listen to music but don't come here to talk about what to do if my car won't start.

Apple privacy issues are the one of the least things you should be worrying about if you connect your system to a public network.
Apple privacy issues are the one of the least things you should be worrying about if you connect your system to a public network.

Except for the fact you must connect to a public network to download the software to listen to music, use the public system to download high resolution music files and perhaps even use iTunes to playback digital files for listening in your home.

More like the software is the gasoline for your car and the guy selling you gasoline wants all your private information before you leave the driveway.


I agree with your concerns. I believe this behavior started with the 5.0.1 update.

That's just one of the reasons I use a nice little donationware program called Safari Cookies. It gives me complete control of which cookies I want to keep and which ones to automatically delete when Safari quits (or delete manually before I quit).

(just one of the features listed from the website) - Safari Cookies will automatically remove all Google Analytics cookies when quitting Safari.

If you want to prevent Google from loading its analytics in the first place, you can use (read: should be using anyway) Little Snitch to block access to those specific areas of Google. It costs $30 for a single user. It works for any connection (not just Safari). Without Little Snitch you are really never sure to whom you are connecting to.

Granted, Apple should have informed everyone about the auto-connection to Google, the intentions behind doing so and a way to turn it off in the preferences. But until Apple does come clean, at least there is a way of defeating this without having to switch to yet another application.

Valuable information, especially the link to Little Snitch. Looks like Macworld gave it a near perfect score.

Thank you Chris.