A widely reported new function in Mac OS X 10.4.7 where the dashboardadvisoryd process connects to Apple servers is actually a security measure enacted by Apple -- not an attempt to retrieve private data.
As noted in Mac OS X 10.4.7's release notes, one new feature in the release is:
"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."
Apparently, the dashboardadvisoryd process handles this functionality.
In a statement to CNET, Apple says:
"The Dashboard Advisory feature is a security tool that ensures that the correct version of a widget has been downloaded from a third-party site and no personal information is transmitted back to Apple."
The verification comes in the form of an HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) GET command sent to Apple's servers, which determines whether or not widgets are authentic.
As such, it does not appear that any personal information is transmitted to Apple's servers -- instead, a GET command is used to cross-reference installed Widgets.
The security measures from Apple are in response to a potential Widget vulnerability reported in mid-2005, where Safari would automatically open a compressed .zip file and execute a potentially malicious Widget.
If you still would like to turn this function off, the most surefire way of doing so is to block the connection "'dashboardadvisoryd' wants to connect to www.apple.com on TCP port 80 (http)" using the utility Little Snitch.
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