Electronic Freedom Foundation Criticizes Ubuntu
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) publishes a blog post critical of the new search feature included in Ubuntu 12.10.
A blog post on the EFF website written by Micah Lee said, “Starting with the latest release of Ubuntu, Dash is also starting to search the Internet for you. While some people find this convenient, others find it a violation of their privacy. Luckily, Ubuntu makes it easy to turn this off.”
The feature can indeed be turned off by removing the “unity-lens-shopping” package, and instructions for doing so are provided within the EFF statement as well as elsewhere online.
However, the EFF also stated, “It’s a major privacy problem if you can’t find things on your own computer without broadcasting what you’re looking for to the world.”
The EFF mentioned that Ubuntu’s Third Party Privacy Policies webpage lists the third parties to which they may send search terms and IP address information, including Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and YouTube. However, the webpage simply refers users to those third parties for clarification on their privacy policies. In other words, the EFF said, “once they give your data away, it’s no longer their problem.”
The post also noted that Canonical has listened to users’ feedback and is working on changes. The EFF said, “These changes are great, but it doesn’t change the fact that users’ search queries automatically get sent to third party companies without giving users a chance to opt-in.”
So, the EFF has outlined a list of policies and features they’d like Ubuntu to incorporate into future versions. These include:
- Disable “Include online search results” by default. Consider displaying a dialog upon first login that asks if users would like to opt-in.
- Explain in detail what is done with search queries and IP addresses, for example: how long they are stored and in what circumstances they’re given to third parties.
- Allow users to users toggle on and off specific online search results.
- Make sure that you respect your users’ privacy and security.
Version 16 of the popular Linux desktop reveals new tools, edge-snapping, and performance improvements.
Symantec says Linux-Darlioz burrows in through PHP.
Dell renews its quest for the ultimate developer machine.
Innovative back door looks like normal SSH traffic.
One of CeBITs most successful forums opens the new year with a new name. The popular Open Source Forum continues in 2014 under the name Special Conference: Open Source. This year, the forum will be bigger and offer a wider range of possibilities for sponsors.
New release offers better graphics drivers and expands filesystem support.
New mail protocol will shut out the NSA and prevent snooping on metadata.
A new web application helps users visualize distributed denial-of-service attacks.
Ubuntu 13.10 takes a step toward convergence, with lots of mobility, but Mir only partly here.
Galileo board is targeted to embedded developers and educational institutions.