Mac users are growing concerned about a new feature within Mac OS X 10.4.7, which contacts servers at Apple HQ on a regular basis.
The new Dashboard process is called dashboardadvisory. According to Apple's release notes for 10.4.7, the application contacts Apple's servers for just one purpose – to ensure a user's Dashboard widgets are up to date.
"You can now verify whether or not a Dashboard widget you downloaded is the same version as a widget featured on (www.apple.com) before installing it," Apple's release notes say, in effect preventing users accidentally downloading less secure widgets.
The feature was discovered by Daniel Jakult, who uses an application called Little Snitch to check for unauthorised network activity on his machine.
He writes: "In an era when consumers are being encouraged to take responsibility for their own safety in the interconnected world, Apple and others should respect the boundaries of our 'digital house' by at least keeping us in the loop about what is being done on our behalf. I can find no documentation about what Apple is choosing to send and receive on a regular basis from my Mac. Keep me in the loop, Apple. And if I'm not comfortable with it, give me an option (short of Little Snitch) for turning it off. It's my computer, after all."