Recent reports (and a slew of tweets) have circulated about the new Spotlight search on OS X Yosemite. Rene Ritchie at iMore explains the concerns, facts, and back-and-forth of the situation pretty well.
Especially damning was this lede from The Washington Post:
Apple has begun automatically collecting the locations of users and the queries they type when searching for files with the newest Mac operating system, a function that has provoked backlash for a company that portrays itself as a leader on privacy.
Ignoring for a moment the fact that this feature was first demonstrated months ago at WWDC, and also that the exact same feature debuted last month on iPhones to nary a whisper… the use of the word “collecting” is particularly loaded.
Yes, the data is technically being collected That is, it’s received from the user’s device by Apple. But it’s not stored for more than 15 minutes, so collected is probably a bit of a strong word. In that respect, Siri has been doing the same thing for over three years.
The first time you use the new feature, the privacy implications are pretty well explained, and it’s also described in high levels on Apple’s privacy overview pages. Additional details for how the feature works are given in the iOS Security Guide (see page 39).