Apple Monitoring Video Chat Connections?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by LucasLand, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    LucasLand

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2002
    Location:
    New England
    #1
    I've gotten word that since iChatAV video connections are sent through Apple's servers, they have the ability to actually watch and monitor people's video chats with one another. This will enable them to prevent people using them for illegal or pornographic purposes. If caught, they can cancel your mac.com account.

    Even if you're not doing anything wrong, how would you feel if someone at Apple was sitting at their desk just watching you and another person having a video chat?

    Just something to think about regarding this powerful new technology.
     
  2. macrumors 68030

    medea

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2002
    Location:
    Madison, Wi
    #2
    I doubt this is true, or at least the part about cancelling .mac accounts, apple can't dictate how you use iChat in your personal life.
     
  3. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2002
    #3
    Re: Apple Monitoring Video Chat Connections?

    ROFL! Post of the day :D
     
  4. Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #4
    Is it true that the data is sent through their servers? What about people using AIM names?

    It seems to me that having all the data go through their system rather than directly between clients would be an inefficient system.
     
  5. macrumors 68030

    Flowbee

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Alameda, CA
    #5
    And who exactly did you get this information from?

    A) A friend of a friend

    B) Your dad, who was delivering donuts to Apple HQ and overheard it

    C) AOL chat room

    D) I can't tell you, the guy would lose his job

    E) All of the above

    :eek: zzzzzz
     
  6. macrumors 68040

    tazo

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2003
    Location:
    Pacific Northwest, Seattle, WA actually
    #6
    This seems extremely unlikely, but should it be true, just use Yahoo instant messenger. It has webcamming capabilities in an extremely easytouse format.
     
  7. macrumors 68030

    Flowbee

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Alameda, CA
    #7
    Re: Apple Monitoring Video Chat Connections?

    Now *that's* a job I wouldn't want... monitoring thousands of naked men sitting in front of their computers at 2a.m.
     
  8. macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #8
    Sure they can. I highly doubt any of this is true, but if it were, it would be mentioned in the TOS... It's Apple's service, they can do whatever they want with it, within the bounds of contract law.

    :)
    pnw
     
  9. Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Whakatane, New Zealand
    #9
    But you don't need a .mac account to use iChat, so I don't think it would be fair to cancel the accounts of people who do happen to have them.
     
  10. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    LucasLand

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2002
    Location:
    New England
    #10
    the more i think about the more likely I think its possible. Everyone knows there are tons of pedophiles out there contacting kids. The law catches them by pretending to be a child on the other end of the instant message. They can't do that with videochat. The only way you could prevent someone from contacting children is to be secretly watching the ongoing video chat. And if they can watch it, they can record it too.
     
  11. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    I accidentally my whole location.
    #11
    Re: Re: Apple Monitoring Video Chat Connections?

    Me too.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    macphoria

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2002
    #12
    I highly doubt that is true. What about right to privacy? This simply does not make sense.
     
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Jerry Spoon

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Location:
    Historic St. Charles
    #13
    Re: Re: Apple Monitoring Video Chat Connections?

    That's the truth...and Flowbee, stop trying to v.chat with me in the middle of the night. I'm sleepin' man! ;)
     
  14. macrumors 68030

    Flowbee

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Alameda, CA
    #14
    Of course it doesn't make sense. For a number of reasons. Not the least of which is that if Apple was really monitoring iChat AV conversations, nobody would continue to use it. It would be a huge scandal, and Apple's reputation would be damaged permanently.
     
  15. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #15
    Find out the easy way.

    Kill everything but iChat, open an AV connection, then netstat and look at the connections.

    I'd do it but im at work and all my buddies are PC/Linux users...plus im too busy toying with panther.
     
  16. macrumors 604

    MacsRgr8

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #16
    I can't see it happening.
    Apple is not responsible for the (mis)usage of their services. If you use iChat AV as a pornographic webcam app, Apple is not the one to blame. Like KaZaA is not responsible for the content of the shared files...
    BTW, imagine youself flying around the world, and finally in some hotel you're able to get a broadband internet connection. You at last have a video connection with wife & kids, where one of 'em is very scarcely dressed..... Yeah, Apple is watching.... NO WAY.
    Maybe the FBI, or CIA, or Interpol, but not Apple.... gimme a break. Ha ha.
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    peterjhill

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2002
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #17
    Yep, not to difficult to test. I would use

    lsof -i

    to find out. It would tell you which application is talking over the network. Very easy to test, just let me know your aim name, I have an iSight
     
  18. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    Location:
    Kamloops BC
    #18
    OK, let's try and correct your major misconception here about the way iChat AV works:

    Your iChat AV conferences are NOT transferred through Apple's servers!

    Don't believe me? Grab a copy of tcpdump (you can get it via the Fink project) and sniff your own network connection when you start up an iChat AV conference.

    Here's what happens:

    When you attempt to establish an audio or video conference, an initial packet containing the invitation is sent to the recipient via .mac / AIM. This contains wonderful thinks like your IP address, so that you don't need to exchange this info manually.

    A response is then sent from the recipient to you via .mac/AIM. Once that's complete, then the machines use a .mac server called snatmap.mac.com to setup some sort of NAT forwarding. This is how iChat AV functions through NAT routers such as Linksys and Dlink, without having explicit portforwarding configured.

    However, once all this negotiation is complete, your actual video and audio data is sent from your system to the recipient's. Apple servers are NOT involved. Think about the bandwidth costs otherwise! Apple would be hemorrhaging money faster than the iTunes Music Store could make it if it had to act as a reflector for every iChat AV conference going on out there.

    Additional details as to iChat AV's protocol can be found here:

    http://www.macintouch.com/ichatav.html#jul01

    http://zeitblog.zeitgeist.com:8668/comments/2003-06-25

    (note: When the author of the above link speaks of iChat using Apple's servers, he's referring to having to have a .mac or AIM account in order to participate).

    Again, if you want to verify this yourself, get a copy of tcpdump from the Fink project (http://fink.sourceforge.net) and run something like this before you establish a connection:

    tcpdump -i en0

    (replace en0 with your ethernet/airport device name ... /sbin/ifconfig will help you determine this).

    You'll see all the traffic going across your network, and you'll notice that once the invitation is over, nothing goes up to Apple's servers during a conference.
     
  19. macrumors 68020

    daveL

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2003
    Location:
    Montana
    #19
    Zorkon: Great post! I read the original post and thought: What a large load of smelly stuff, well that's not exactly what I thought :)

    In addition to your points, just think about the logistics of doing that kind of monitoring! What happens when iChatAV for Windows comes out? Imagine how many people would be required to monitor all the connections!

    Rubbish.
     
  20. macrumors 68020

    Phil Of Mac

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2002
    Location:
    Washington State University
    #20
    Why would Apple cancel your .mac account if you were using iChat to porn people? What's the rationale? Apple's a pretty open-minded company.

    (Yes, I just used the word "porn" as a verb. Verbing weirds language.)
     

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