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Question: Apple violates personal privacy with Photos

I don't recall Apple asking permission to browse and catalog my family Photos. Today I discovered that is why my computer has been slow. This is an egregious violation of privacy. Apple: Our times are a changin'...wanna be like FaceBook? You need to ask permission! Thoughts from the community?

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That's what Photos does. Not sure why you think it has changed or in some way violates your privacy. You're the only person that has access to your "browsed catalog," unless you share it out to others.

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May 28, 2018 7:16 AM in response to BiomedMusician In response to BiomedMusician

Do you reside in Europe where the new law just took effect? If you are in the US, there isn't such an extensive privacy law; however, Apple is quite good about privacy here is a link to their Privacy policy:


Legal - Privacy Policy - Apple


Well, if you object to what the app Photos does, then you can easily avoid that: simply do not use it. If you are concerned about privacy, do not use iCloud, do not upload/share private info/photos online. If you enjoy the ease with which you can share/sync files and photos and find them by using Faces, there is a price to be paid: the photos need to be catalogued. I do not care for Photos' file system, so I have a Photos folder set up in my Documents folder with many subfolders ("trip to coast" or whatever) where I have all my photos. Of course, I have to manually arrange them and there is no syncing, etc, but I can live with that.


And, you may want to read the license for the OS which explains that you are agreeing to certain functions of the OS:


https://www.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/macOS1013.pdf

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May 27, 2018 12:57 PM in response to BiomedMusician In response to BiomedMusician

That's what Photos does. Not sure why you think it has changed or in some way violates your privacy. You're the only person that has access to your "browsed catalog," unless you share it out to others.

May 27, 2018 12:57 PM

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May 27, 2018 2:22 PM in response to BiomedMusician In response to BiomedMusician

Are you referring to the people/face recognition that's part of the Photos library? If so then: 1 - it's been there for much of iPhotos life so isn't new; 2 - it's built into the application and the cataloging remains on your Mac and is not uploaded to iCloud or the cloud without your specific approval.


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May 27, 2018 2:22 PM

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May 27, 2018 2:59 PM in response to BiomedMusician In response to BiomedMusician

Hello BiomedMusician,

Photos will catalog and index your pictures. However, all the processing and storage stays on your machine. Unless you turn on one of the iCloud options for Photos, all of your information stays on your machine and never leaves. So, there is no privacy issue. However, it may take some time and consume significant processor time to do all of that cataloging and indexing. Once that completes, then it won't consume any more processor time.

May 27, 2018 2:59 PM

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May 28, 2018 7:16 AM in response to BiomedMusician In response to BiomedMusician

Do you reside in Europe where the new law just took effect? If you are in the US, there isn't such an extensive privacy law; however, Apple is quite good about privacy here is a link to their Privacy policy:


Legal - Privacy Policy - Apple


Well, if you object to what the app Photos does, then you can easily avoid that: simply do not use it. If you are concerned about privacy, do not use iCloud, do not upload/share private info/photos online. If you enjoy the ease with which you can share/sync files and photos and find them by using Faces, there is a price to be paid: the photos need to be catalogued. I do not care for Photos' file system, so I have a Photos folder set up in my Documents folder with many subfolders ("trip to coast" or whatever) where I have all my photos. Of course, I have to manually arrange them and there is no syncing, etc, but I can live with that.


And, you may want to read the license for the OS which explains that you are agreeing to certain functions of the OS:


https://www.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/macOS1013.pdf

May 28, 2018 7:16 AM

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May 28, 2018 7:09 AM in response to Eric Root In response to Eric Root

When I noticed with Activity Monitor that iPhoto's Analytics software was spontaneously running in the background and consuming a significant percentage of the CPU, it came to my attention that photos with my face in my Photos were labelled with a name obviously derived from the internet. I'm not comfortable or interested in my photo data being used to make those comparisons. Whether or not this feature has been around for a long time or whether Apple has disclosed this feature within a long complex disclosure released as part of an update is not the point. In order to make such a comparison Apple must access and analyze the images in consumer's Photos collection relative to an external database. I'd prefer this feature were presented by Apple as an available option rather than a default operation. This undermines my confidence in Apples' respect for consumer privacy.

May 28, 2018 7:09 AM

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May 28, 2018 7:15 AM in response to babowa In response to babowa

I agree you're right we may simply choose not use Photos. I do feel that Apple should be more explicit in describing features that access consumer data, such as a personal Photo collection. For example by presenting it as an option rather than a default the first time you use an updated product. My impression is that the facial recognition feature involves comparisons to data outside one's personal computer. If I'm wrong about that, then please explain how this get done.

May 28, 2018 7:15 AM

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May 28, 2018 7:26 AM in response to babowa In response to babowa

I read the OS license via the link you supplied. Nothing explicitly about Photos Faces feature I see there. Are you of the impression that all of the cataloging is based on the user's own data, or it includes data derived from the internet?

May 28, 2018 7:26 AM

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May 28, 2018 11:32 AM in response to BiomedMusician In response to BiomedMusician

Photos will catalog objects in photos, i.e. tables, chairs, lamps, dogs, cats, cars, trees, boxes, motorcycles, etc., as well as faces. Once the cataloging is completed you'll be able to put a name to the faces. This is all done locally.

May 28, 2018 11:32 AM

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May 28, 2018 11:47 AM in response to BiomedMusician In response to BiomedMusician

Are you of the impression that all of the cataloging is based on the user's own data, or it includes data derived from the internet?


Well, yes. Why? Because it wouldn't be logical or make any sense to catalog whatever is in your own photo to a gazillion of particulars in photos all over the world. This is a feature someone at Apple thought would be cool or helpful to people looking through their own photo library to find other photos of the same friend.


In order to make such a comparison Apple must access and analyze the images in consumer's Photos collection relative to an external database.


No. Where did you get the idea that someone needs to use an external database?


I'd prefer this feature were presented by Apple as an available option rather than a default operation


Well, Apple touts the feature openly, so you do have a choice: if you don't like it, don't use the app. Here is one of the articles which states that Photos scans the photos in YOUR library:


https://support.apple.com/kb/ph21306?locale=en_US

May 28, 2018 11:47 AM

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May 28, 2018 12:46 PM in response to Barney-15E In response to Barney-15E

As I mentioned in a reply to Babowa, I am happy to learn this is not a privacy issue and appreciate each reply. But regarding your point that "You have to name the face it identified", I do not think that is exactly correct. Because I found a face in one of my photos with a title that was definitely NOT assigned by me. Perhaps the software located it on a photo sent to me by a correspondent.

May 28, 2018 12:46 PM

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Question: Apple violates personal privacy with Photos