Why I won’t buy an iPod

I’m in the market for a new portable media player, since my current one is getting rather old, not to mention full. Naturally, I looked at the current crop of iPods. They’re excellent hardware and work well. But I won’t buy one, not because of the iPod itself, but because of Apple’s no-privacy policy.

You can read the full privacy policy for yourself, just to see the breadth and depth of personal information Apple collects when you use iTunes and the iTunes Music Store, or just browse around Apple’s web site.

Sometimes, Apple will even collect information about your music listening habits and send it to other companies without telling you first or giving you a chance to opt out.

This is bad enough, but it’s not, in my estimation, enough to boycott their products entirely. After all, Apple did quickly fix that privacy problem.

What is bad enough is this bit of insanity buried in Apple’s privacy policy on their Web site, and not disclosed during installation of iTunes:

“At times we may be required by law or litigation to disclose your personal information. We may also disclose information about you if we determine that for national security, law enforcement, or other issues of public importance, disclosure is necessary.”

If you listen to the wrong kinds of music or podcasts, you might be a terrorist, and Apple just might turn over all its records on you to the government.

Apparently, few other people read privacy policies, because as far as I can tell, only one other person has caught this ridiculous bit in the privacy policy.

What use the government might have for your music buying and listening habits, I couldn’t say. But it should worry you a lot more than marketers having your music buying and listening habits. After all, marketers can’t lock you up indefinitely without a trial or kill you with impunity.

In the meantime, for podcasts I’ve pre-ordered a 2GB USB “multi-gadget” from the Free Talk Live Store. And I’m still looking for something to carry around my ever-expanding music collection.

One thought on “Why I won’t buy an iPod

  • December 13, 2007 at 11:24 am
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    I don’t even think the part of the agreement that reads:
    “We may also disclose information about you if we determine that for national security, law enforcement, or other issues of public importance, disclosure is necessary.”
    is about actual disclosure to the government if asked. This is basically saying they can monitor you, sell your purchasing habits to anyone they want, and you can be Advertisement ridden for the rest of your life. “Public importance” could very well be Apple’s best interest and consist of making other public companies aware of your purchases or listening habits. That may not be what it’s intended for. HOWEVER if Apple chooses to sell your info to whomever, according to a court’s decision, they are able to do so– Just my $.02–

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