Apple tweaks iTunes following privacy concerns (C|Net)

By John Borland

Following a wave of privacy concerns last week, Apple Computer has begun prominently notifying customers about a new recommendation feature in its iTunes software, as well as spotlighting a simple way to turn it off.

The new feature, a “MiniStore” pane in the software, provides music recommendations to iTunes users based on the songs currently in the software’s active playlist. To do so, it sends information about those songs back to Apple, even if the tracks weren’t originally purchased from the iTunes Music Store.

The information exchange also includes a string of data linked to an iTunes customer’s unique ID number, which is also used for other Apple accounts, such as the .Mac service and the Apple Developer Connection, computer experts found last week. An Apple representative said last week that the company did not store or archive any of the information from this MiniStore recommendation process.

Previously, that information exchange was not disclosed in any user agreement or in the software itself. However, an update posted late Tuesday now prominently adds a notification inside the iTunes software itself when the MiniStore is turned on for the first time.

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