Instead he says that there are three points at which manufacturers are collecting your private info: when you buy,
set up, or register your warranty for the player (duh, you give them that info, it?s called opting-in), when
you download music from the Internet (if you?re buying music then they usually have your credit card info, and if
you?re getting it over P2P you should be smart enough to know that you?re almost certainly not anonymous?either way,
unless you?re buying from Apple, the manufacturer is almost never the content vendor), and when you?re sharing or
uploading music to other devices (huh?).
We?d maybe be convinced if he provided some evidence that jukebox software apps like iTunes and MusicMatch were
collecting information about what music people have in their collections and then secretly sending it back to the
mothership, but he doesn?t even bring this up as a possibility, let alone present any evidence that it?s
He then really muddles things by mentioning how some MP3 players now have Bluetooth, which means that someone could
wirelessly grab you personal info. First off, hardly any MP3 players come with built-in Bluetooth, and even the ones
that do typically only support the hands-free and headset profiles?and that?s even assuming there was any personally
identifying information on the thing except maybe those potentially embarrassing MP3s (Kelly Clarkson, eh?).
But it gets worse still. He then mentions that ?some MP3 players are now equipped with additional peripherals such as
digital cameras. The wireless capability of these devices make digital images equally insecure.? What? Wireless
capability? Insecure digital images? Name one MP3 player with a built-in digital camera that ALSO has wireless
capability, either integrated or as an add-in.
He then also throws out some BS statistics (also courtesy of the Ponemon Institute) about how most people say they
would stop using their MP3 player if they had become the victim of a privacy breach and that manufacturers should make
sure there are limitations on the sharing of personal information. Yeah, who wouldn?t say that?
The advice he then gives on how you can prevent your MP3 player from being the source of a privacy violation are
either obvious or befuddling. He says you should read your EULA carefully and understand the manufacturer?s privacy
policy, but then he goes on to recommend that you figure out how to ?opt-out of data collection or transfer by turning
off polling features within the device itself? and to make sure to keep that Bluetooth-enabled MP3 player you almost
definitely don?t own or use out of ?hot zones,? which could be ?almost anywhere, including in proximity to someone
else?s mobile phone.? Yeah, really helpful advice there!
Sinrod then concludes with the only part of the column that actually does make sense: that ?MP3 users, as a population
segment, do not seem too worried about privacy risks,? and that ?perhaps this is because there have not been many
privacy breaches in terms of the use of these devices ? yet.? Or at all. It?s one thing to talk about how software apps
or online stores are collecting personal data, but it?s completely weak to try and get people scared about the prospect
of their iPod divulging sensitive data, especially when there has never been an instance of this happening. Look, we
know that before and especially after the
Paris Hilton thing it?s been pretty fashionable to write
scare pieces about how our gadgets are going to give us
away, but this is drivel, plain and simple.