[ubuntu-uk] Worrying article

Alan Bell alanbell at ubuntu.com
Mon Apr 9 09:29:02 UTC 2012


On 09/04/12 09:24, Bill Baker wrote:
> This has appeared on Linux Today site:
>
> "Should you be worried about Ubuntu Desktop's privacy settings?"
> "LinuxBSDos: I hope that I am wrong, but your new Ubuntu system could be
> used to spy on you."
>
> http://www.linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2012-04-09-002-41-SC-UB
>
> Should someone [in a position to do be authoritative on the reply]
> actually respond or reply to the article I wonder?
That whole article appears to be a journalist saying "I have no idea 
what this stuff is". This is a bit sad as the journalist in question 
could have actually done some finding out, and then explained to the 
readership what it was rather than publishing a content free article.

Ubuntu has something in it called zeitgeist. This tracks lots of stuff 
you do with the objective of making the computer better able to 
anticipate what you are going to do next and be more helpful about it. 
Quite a lot of applications in the file menu show recently used files. 
This is tracking you, but most rational people don't see it that way. 
The privacy control now allows you to control this kind of thing - and 
opt out. You should not be worried that there are privacy controls 
available. You should be worried about operating systems and devices 
that *don't* have privacy controls built in.
In terms of stuff submitted to Canonical, this is crash traces that get 
automatically added to bugs (Windows has a submit to Microsoft button 
when things crash - but in that case it vanishes inside Redmond never to 
be seen again rather than on a public bug report you can view yourself)

Alan

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