Ignoring privacy sabotages Ubuntu's best chance for success

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at canonical.com
Thu Feb 27 16:20:03 UTC 2014

Hash: SHA1

Gerry A. wrote on 25/02/14 17:29:
> I have two "specific improvements" I would like to see in Ubuntu. 
> Thanks for mentioning this.
> #1 is the ability for users to uninstall elements that send their
> data onto the internet as it relates to Dash searches. 11.10
> appears to allow users the ability to uninstall scopes. But there
> is no way to uninstall the capability for Dash searches to be
> transmitted onto the internet. Users are left with a "Switch" in
> the System Settings to control this behavior. I would like to see a
> more permanent way to disable the possibility of data leaks.

You can uninstall those components in Ubuntu Software Center. It's not
nearly as easy as flipping the switch in System Settings, but that's
why the switch exists.

> A way for admins to uninstall the capability of the Dash to send
> data onto the internet, irrespective of the switch. This would be
> a "specific improvement" I would like to see.

Admin control over settings would be useful -- not just for that
function, but many others too. I've sketched how that kind of admin
control might be presented
<https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UserAccounts#access>, but that design works
only for individual existing accounts. The next step would be a design
for setting defaults for new accounts, and for changing multiple
existing accounts at once.

> #2 is for improved awareness (and hopefully control) of what 
> applications are accessing the internet. A way for users to more 
> easily be aware of what apps are accessing the internet and what
> data they are transmitting. It would be nice to be able to log this
> kind of info. Currently, if the firewall is set to allow outgoing
> on a machine then anything can transmit out on an open port. My
> guess is AppArmor could be used to setup some sort of mechanism for
> users to gain better awareness of applications' internet access
> behavior. Something that integrates with the Unity shell would be
> ideal.
> ...

Most of that would be achieved by the "Network activity" indicator.

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