Spotlight Suggestions Sends Minimum Amount of Data to Apple, Exact Location and IP Addresses Not Collected
The search terms were being shared with Apple in order to enable Spotlight's new capabilities, which include searching sources like the Mac App Store, Wikipedia, and the web.
When you use Spotlight, your search queries, the Spotlight Suggestions you select, and related usage data will be sent to Apple. Search results found on your Mac will not be sent. If you have Location Services on your Mac turned on, when you make a search query to Spotlight the location of your Mac at that time will be sent to Apple. Searches for common words and phrases will be forwarded from Apple to Microsoft's Bing search engine.While Apple noted directly within Yosemite's Spotlight preferences that the search terms were collected only to improve Spotlight Searches and directed users to turn off Spotlight Suggestions and Bing Web searches in System Preferences if they didn't want their data uploaded, the issue still received quite a bit of attention over the course of the weekend, with one developer even uploading a Python script to prevent Apple from collecting data.
Apple has now given a statement on Spotlight Suggestions to iMore, stating that the company is "absolutely committed" to protecting user privacy and that Spotlight Suggestions minimizes the information that's sent to Apple.