Tiger "Phone Home" Features Raise Privacy Concerns

Some Mac users are voicing concerns about their privacy after the discovery that Mac OS X 10.4.7 contacts Apple servers on a regular basis. In his Red Sweater Blog, Daniel Jakult noted that after installing the Mac OS X 10.4.7 updater, his Mac started contacting Appleis servers via the Internet.

Mr. Jakult uses a utility called Little Snitch to monitor his network and Internet activity, and it detected the new communication between his Mac and Appleis servers. His research, along with others, determined that a new process called dashboardadvisoryd is initiating the communication to verify that certain Dashboard widgets are the same versions as the ones on Appleis servers.

So far, it appears that no personal information is being transmitted to Apple.

A post on OmniGroupis Mac OS X admin discussion board notes that a .Mac service called dotMacTranslator, new to the latest Tiger update, attempts to contact configuration.apple.com when ever a new email account is created in Appleis Mail application. This happens even if the new account is not a .Mac email address.

What seems to be the biggest concern for most users is that Apple didnit disclose that Mac OS X 10.4.7 would be in communication with Apple servers, and that the update doesnit include any way to disable the feature.

Apple previously upset users when it didnit clearly state that an iTunes update was transmitting information to the iTunes Music Store. The company later released an update that disabled the feature by default.

[This article has been updated with the term "discussion board" instead of "listserv," which is a trademark owned by L-Soft.]