Apple’s iOS EULA: All Your Content R Belong to Us!!

Posted: September 24th, 2012 under Digital Migration.
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Every time I read through one of these EULAs, it just keeps getting worse and worse.

I upgraded the iPad to iOS6, because I wanted to test it out, and I’m not ready yet to turn the Maps feature on my iPhone into a hot, steaming mess. But part of the whole upgrading regimen is, as is depressingly familiar to Apple users, having to agree to a new, dense and even more piracious End User Licensing Agreement (aka those damn “I Agree” screens that 99.9% of the population never actually reads, but just clicks on to make them go away).

apple's abusive privacy agreement for iCloud

I can’t believe the language in these things. The privacy policy has obviously been re-worked to try to put it in words that an actual human being would use – which kinda makes things even more insidious. They make an outrageous statement about how Apple is going to spy on you, and then they offer up a carefully worded explanation that makes you kinda go, “Hm. Well, I guess I can see that … that’s not so bad…”

So here, as a service to any of you who might be interested in just what rights you irrevocably, permanently, idiotically, signed away without ever actually bothering to check, are some choice bits from the EULA that is now part of your iPhone/iPad/iPod:

First, it turns out that using the new iCloud service comes with a few little quirks … if by “little quirks” you would understand this to be a term of art for a giant legal pole the size of the Burj al-Arab Tower famous from MI: Ghost Protocol being jammed into your nether regions.

Basically, you store stuff in iCloud, and Apple now has the rights to use it however they want. I will repeat this: Apple can take your photos, music, your documents, your videos, your spreadsheets, and use them however they want. You got confidential company information in there that you are using iCloud to share with your lawyers? Prepare to see it used in a marketing video. Been collaborating with your team on the design sketches for a new product? Soon to appear in Apple stores (or whoever of their partners is the highest bidder). Private photos of your kids looking cute in the bathtub that you share with your spouse? I won’t even bother to continue with that line of thought…

Here’s the graf that made me bonk my head on the desk:

 “by submitting or posting such Content on areas of the Service that are accessible by the public or other users with whom you consent to share such Content, you grant Apple a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Service solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available, without any compensation or obligation to you.”

So unless you totally lock down iCloud and use it only for yourself, anything on there might as well be put out on a great big Time Square billboard. Nice.

Moving on.

Apply can nark you out to the MPAA and RIAA:

“Apple reserves the right to take steps Apple believes are reasonably necessary or appropriate to enforce an/or verify compliance with any part of this Agreement. You acknowledge and agree that Apple may, without liability to you, access, use, preserve and/or disclose your Account information and Content to law enforcement authorities, government officials, and/or a third party, as Apple believes is reasonably necesary or appropriate, if legally required to do so, or if we have a good faith belief that such access, use disclosure or preservation is reasonably necessary to (a) comply with legal process or request, (b) enforce this Agreement, including investigation of any potential violation thereof; (c) detect, prevent, or otherwise address security, fraud or technical issues or (d) protect the rights, property or safety of Apple, its users, or a third party, or the public as required or permitted by law.

So you use iCloud to share some Owl City mp3s with your cousin serving in Afghanistan, to cheer him up and keep him current on what’s hot in the U.S. The MPAA deep-packet inspection sniffers pop up this web traffic as being suspicious. They go to Apple with these “good faith beliefs” that someone might have used iCloud to share music with someone else. Apple rolls over and gives up all your account information.

Say hello to the lawsuit. Moving on.

Whenever you reach out to a friend or family member, Apple is watching and collecting data on them too:

“When you share your content with family and friends using Apple products, send gift certificates and products, or invite others to join you on Apple forums, Apple may collect the information you provide about those people such as name, mailing address, email address and phone number.”

Apple is watching you wherever you go, and telling whoever they please about it:

“To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device.”

And if it all goes wrong, well, that’s on you, pally:


So what did I do? Yeah, I clicked “I Agree.” Whaddayagonnadoabouddit? I feel like a total mook. At least I know to handle iCloud with tongs, which is something, I guess.

UPDATE: Crikey. Now the iPad is bitching that there’s not enough room on it (32Gb) for all the app updates. This thing is getting to be like a colicky baby – it wants you to constantly be reaching out and touching it. Sheesh. I thought these things were supposed to ADD to our lives, not reach into them and DEMAND more attention be given them from, oh, I don’t know, actually getting something done with your day…

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