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  1. #1
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.
    macgig's Avatar
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    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ? interesting article.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...n-information/

    I had no idea spotlight did this. the article is only 6 yrs old. not that long ago. I wonder if spotlight still does this?


  2. #2
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.
    harryb2448's Avatar
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    More interesting is that WP wants me to pay $1 a month to unblock ads when I choose to use AdBlock Plus lol!
    Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  3. #3
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.
    Rod's Avatar
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    Well, that was 6 years ago. Things have changed a bit since then.
    Don't be an April Fool: WORLD BACKUP DAY MARCH 31st

  4. #4
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.
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    I no longer use spotlight because the search capability is so poor.

    But I was wondering how Apple gets accuratelocation information of my Mac - certainly not using the IP address and I also don't have a cellphone somehow linked to the Mac.

  5. #5
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.
    Horsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krs View Post
    But I was wondering how Apple gets accurate location information of my Mac - certainly not using the IP address and I also don't have a cellphone somehow linked to the Mac.
    Just speculating, but... when you last installed your OS, did you fill in any location info then? Likewise, if you have an Apple ID, did applying for that entail submitting any personal info that might have indicated your location? A landline phone number, for example, which would include a local area code?
    Last edited by Horsa; 03-01-2020 at 12:41 PM.

  6. #6
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.
    krs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horsa View Post
    Just speculating, but... when you last installed your OS, did you fill in any location info then? Likewise, if you have an Apple ID, did applying for that entail submitting any personal info that might have indicated your location? A landline phone number, for example, which would include a local area code?
    When I install a brand new OS, I just select country and time zone as far as I remember - but not an actual address or even province/state.
    Apple obviously has my address because I bought several Macs from the Apple Store, but that has nothing to do with Spotlight - or spotlight somehow divulging my real location.

    When I try the various geo-location sites right now that google brings up, I get different locations for each on e (with the same IP address of course), Kingston, Toronto and Missisauga
    The closest one to my actual location is Kingston - however that is still more than 100 miles from me and Mississauge and Toronto is much further.

    PS: Just tried to search for "My location" in google which I thought might be more accurate since I order things on line quite often so they can probably pick up my shipping address.
    Turns out google shows Hamilton as my location which is even further away thanMississauga and Toronto.

  7. #7
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.
    IWT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krs View Post
    When I install a brand new OS, I just select country and time zone as far as I remember - but not an actual address or even province/state.
    Apple obviously has my address because I bought several Macs from the Apple Store, but that has nothing to do with Spotlight - or spotlight somehow divulging my real location.

    When I try the various geo-location sites right now that google brings up, I get different locations for each on e (with the same IP address of course), Kingston, Toronto and Missisauga
    The closest one to my actual location is Kingston - however that is still more than 100 miles from me and Mississauge and Toronto is much further.

    PS: Just tried to search for "My location" in google which I thought might be more accurate since I order things on line quite often so they can probably pick up my shipping address.
    Turns out google shows Hamilton as my location which is even further away thanMississauga and Toronto.
    I get the same when I sign into, say, iCloud from a new Device. I have 2FA and I get a code for the new Device. Then I get a message on my iMac saying you or someone has just signed in from... and a Map showing the location.

    It always shows I'm in the UK, usually England; but it can be all over the place, London, North England - and very occasionally it might even mention Wales, which is where I live, but not the exact location.

    Ian
    Ian

  8. #8
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.
    krs's Avatar
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    I think the fact is that Apple can't get accurate location data regardless of what the headline says:
    Apple’s Mac computers can automatically collect your location information
    ...and spotlight doesn't help in that regard either.

  9. #9
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    All they have is your IP location, which shifts all over the place. In my case, the server issuing the IP to my modem/router is in a town about 100 miles south where the cable company has the routers for the area, so that's my "location" most of the time. In the case of the UK, because the services are nationwide, your IP could be issued by any of the servers across the country, which is why it jumps around so much. So, as an example, if you have BT service, your "location" is wherever the BT server is that just happened to issue the IP to your modem/router from BT. Now in the case of using an iPhone or iPad with cellular, they can have the closest cell tower or even GPS data if you allow it. But for a desktop, or a MBP in your home, IP is it.
    Jake

  10. #10
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacInWin View Post
    All they have is your IP location, which shifts all over the place. In my case, the server issuing the IP to my modem/router is in a town about 100 miles south where the cable company has the routers for the area, so that's my "location" most of the time. In the case of the UK, because the services are nationwide, your IP could be issued by any of the servers across the country, which is why it jumps around so much. So, as an example, if you have BT service, your "location" is wherever the BT server is that just happened to issue the IP to your modem/router from BT. Now in the case of using an iPhone or iPad with cellular, they can have the closest cell tower or even GPS data if you allow it. But for a desktop, or a MBP in your home, IP is it.
    On phones at least they use info on your WiFi router too if they can.

  11. #11
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobHas View Post
    On phones at least they use info on your WiFi router too if they can.
    That really does not make much sense. The only information on your WiFi router is the IP address, which they can see from the outside. The original article is behind a paywall, but if it says what you posted, that's a scare tactic by the paper.
    Jake

  12. #12
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.

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    If I have this right the idea is that from the device side they can tell the id of the router and there are databases built with info on locations of routers. If code runs on the device then it can look at the id and pass it out. It is a strategy that is used to refine GPS locations on phones (and other devices), particularly indoors where the GPS signals are weak at best.

  13. #13
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Mumbo-jumbo. Snake oil. Black helicopters and men-in-black. The bottom line is that the "location" of your router is based on one of two things: the IP number or the Internet Service Provider (ISP) business database. If your ISP is selling location information for where your router is, that's how a third party can get that information, but don't have to use a router from your ISP.

    However, even if you buy your own modem/router that is compatible with your ISP they will still know you have a router and where it is. Every device has a public address built in known as the MAC (Media Access Control) number assigned to use in network negotiations, so that MAC is associated with your account by the ISP, even if you provide your own router and don't use theirs. So that MAC is tied to your address but it is visible from the outside of your internal net along with your IP number. And none of that has anything to do with GPS. GPS uses the internet to download the ephemeris/almanac data that the satellite system is constantly broadcasting anyway. It's just faster to get the data from the internet instead of waiting for the satellites to transmit the ephemeris. (Ephemeris is information on where the satellites are in space, and is required for GPS to work. Your location is calculated from how far from three or four (or more) satellites you are, so you need to know where they are to know how far away you are.) Before smartphones, GPS receivers took 3-5 minutes to get a fix because they had to wait to gather the ephemeris/almanac from the satellites it could hear and only then could it calculate a ground fix. With smartphones, the ephemeris is available in fractions of a second over either cellular or wifi, so the GPS fix is similarly quick. But it has nothing to do with any mysterious database of router locations. If you turn off the cellular connection and Wifi, your smartphone with a GPS receiver can still get a fix, it just takes that 3-4 minutes for the first fix to calculate because it has to download the satellites ephemeris/almanac.

    It helps to have some actual science in the discussion. Here is more on how GPS works, if you are interested: What is GPS? An explanation into Global Positioning Systems

    So, don't sweat whatever that article said six years ago. There was a lot of noise about that at the time because Spotlight started offering to do internet searching that used Google/Bing/Yahoo, etc, and which divulged the usual information about your system as if you had done the search yourself. If you are worried, go to System Preferences/Spotlight and click on the About Search & Privacy button to see exactly what is going on.
    Jake

  14. #14
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.

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    I am well aware of all that. The point is there is something else going on. If a cell phone, any cell phone, or other device with GPS (or other good location information) connects with a router, it can, and often does pass on the id of the router, and the location is has. That information is accumulated in data bases and it is used to refine location determinations, particularly when GPS is not available.

    Agreed the IP address is often of very limited use. It depends on how the ISP manages their routers and IP addresses.

  15. #15
    spotlight searching sending personal info to apple.... ?  interesting article.
    pm-r's Avatar
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    If a cell phone, any cell phone, or other device with GPS (or other good location information) connects with a router, it can, and often does pass on the id of the router, and the location is has.

    Why bother with all my stuff if one really wants to know, they can just look up my address in the local phone book or Municipal Directory much easier??? ;-)


    - Patrick
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