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Mark Shuttleworth Addresses Ubuntu Privacy Issues 279

Posted by samzenpus
from the lets-have-a-look dept.
sfcrazy writes "Mark Shuttleworth has for the first time talked about the privacy issues in Ubuntu Dash after being criticized by EFF and FSF. He mentioned some changes in the way use can 'disable' the search results. However the company has showed that under no circumstances they will disable the online search by default as demanded by EFF and FSF. Shuttleworth was simply spinning the wheel moving things around to give an impression that something has been done where as the core problem remains — Dash sends keystrokes by default and legally every user agrees to send such keystrokes to PRODUCT.canonical.com server to be shared with partners like Facebook."
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Mark Shuttleworth Addresses Ubuntu Privacy Issues

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  • hello hosts file (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday February 18, 2013 @01:49PM (#42936961)

    127.0.0.1 product.canonical.com

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday February 18, 2013 @01:55PM (#42937017)

    All that will happen is people will move to fedora or mint or countless other Linux distros.

    Mark, if you want to make some money try selling something worthwhile. Games would be one idea, hell get steam to give you a cut if you make installation of steam optional during OS install. Selling users data is a bad idea.

  • Amazing. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Virtucon (127420) on Monday February 18, 2013 @01:56PM (#42937037)

    It amazes me that when somebody does something as a business that it infuriates people especially when they get something for free. Yes, Ubuntu is taking free software, wrapping it as a supportable bundle and distributing it. So now they've hooked into the information sharing arrangement. It's easy enough to disable as well and the hosts file solution is also there. I wonder if just charging $10 a download / dvd would make more sense then adding another keylogging data collector out there. Frankly Facebook is the worst and the network of data collectors it's partnered with is becoming more and more troublesome.

  • The End of Ubuntu? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fallen1 (230220) on Monday February 18, 2013 @01:58PM (#42937055) Homepage

    I would say that pretty much ends the usefulness of the Ubuntu line. Anyone who thinks that sending all my keystrokes to their server - which they can in turn sell off to third parties - is, in my not so humble opinion, bat fucking crazy.

    You should not have to edit hosts files or anything else to make a product usable, because that product should not be spying on you from install forward. I do believe my personal response to Mark is a big "FUCK OFF AND DIE". End of story. End of Ubuntu.

  • Re:Amazing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by redmid17 (1217076) on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:02PM (#42937091)
    It amazes me that people in charge of projects like Ubuntu think that a policy like that won't have a significant impact on the popularity of the distro over the long term, especially with heavily slanted tech crowd that uses Linux distros in the first place.
  • Re:Amazing. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:03PM (#42937101)

    It amazes me that when somebody does something as a business that it infuriates people especially when they get something for free.

    It amazes me when some people seem to think that free products or services are somehow above criticism. It's as simple as this: if it isn't changed, people who care enough about it won't use it or will stop using it. There is nothing wrong with either of those.

  • by accessbob (962147) on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:05PM (#42937129)

    I replaced Ubuntu with Mint when I was first confronted by Unity because I couldn't abide the new UI.

    Sounds like that was the least of the reasons to go...

    I was thinking that it's been a while and that I should have another look at how Unity has evolved, but not if they are reduced to doing this to stay in business.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:07PM (#42937155) Homepage Journal

    I would say that pretty much ends the usefulness of the Ubuntu line. Anyone who thinks that sending all my keystrokes to their server - which they can in turn sell off to third parties - is, in my not so humble opinion, bat fucking crazy.

    Yeah, I've defended a lot of their questionable behavior, but this is utterly indefensible. This is spyware by definition. I hope they get their peepees smacked. Nice to know my last ISO download was a waste of time, as I won't be using it. I guess I'm headed for Mint...

    +

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:13PM (#42937249)
    Exactly. Or even just ask me if I'm ok with stuff like this. Tell me what I'm sharing, who with, and ask if I want to enable it. Depending on what that says, I might well have said, "Yeah sure."
  • Re:Amazing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:15PM (#42937269)

    Agreed. You can disable it. And you don't even have to fiddle around with apt or anything, it's an option present in their own GUI. Slashdot, Google and the whole rest of the internet is much more annoying, since to disable ads you have to download AdBlock. Canonical is giving you a choice. "Here, use our ad-supported OS. You don't want ads? Ok, then, just use the damn thing entirely free anyway!" I fail to see how that can be anything other than completely ethical.

    Except they aren't offering that choice, they where sneaky and underhanded. As other have said, it's spyware. Ubuntu did a great job for a while, but first it was Unity and now this. They're treating their users like we don't have a choice. I do and won't be installing Ubuntu again.

  • by nadaou (535365) on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:15PM (#42937283) Homepage

    > We will aim to enforce this at the kernel level, hence
    > the CC to Jamie S who leads our security team.

    WTF? Why is that needed? To keep jr devs from accidentally re-enabling it? Or, in fine /. conspiratorial tradition, is the keylogging built into the kernel?!

  • RIP ubuntu (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:17PM (#42937307)

    RIP ubuntu now you're the evil empire of linux..

  • Re:LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:18PM (#42937319) Journal

    Parent is flamebaiting a bit, but I agree. There are no lack of Debian-based distros which don't come with the increasingly concerning baggage that Ubuntu is being bundled with. I retired my last Ubuntu machine about eight months ago and am Debian-only now.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:19PM (#42937341)

    Mark Shuttleworth has devolved. He's decided to accept the definition of User as something other than Owner. He's raised the port cullis and thrown open the doors for third parties to hunt User metadata, revealing his allegiance, defaulting to a state of non-concern for the least among us.

    I'm sure it's convenient for him to imagine he's still engaged in promoting Linux, but at what cost?

    How much did he get for his soul? How much did he get for everyone else's?

  • by jareth-0205 (525594) on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:23PM (#42937377) Homepage

    I don't know if you can call the person who owns the company that makes Ubuntu a 'shill'...

  • Re:Amazing. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:25PM (#42937407)
    It amazes me that there are people who will excuse the ethics of an action, if it is a business doing so to support a free product. Who cares if its "super easy" for the non-technical users ubuntu is marketed at to find and edit the hosts file. Giving users a product for free doesn't justify everything. Selling user data without an explicit opt-in is unethical, and I don't want to contribute in any way to a distro engaging in that practice.
  • Re:LOL (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:28PM (#42937445)

    I'm in the minority here because I really don't care about the advertising. Linux is for servers and development.

    However the feature is astonishingly retarded. I'm trying to launch the console and it shows me "Console" the movie? WTF, why would anyone ever click on that? What else is there, "Spreadsheet" the movie? This is the worst advertising placement ever.

    It would be another thing entirely if they only showed this stuff in a media query view. In fact iTunes and other media managers have a similar feature.

  • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:35PM (#42937507)

    That's the root of the problem, it's a company, not a community that's behind Ubuntu now, and companies need money to survive. I wouldn't be suprised if there was an Ubuntu Pro & Ubuntu Enterprise released soon that have licensing fees associated with them as "custom solutions for businesses". *shrug* if they bring at least some currently windows-only application vendors to Linux, the other distros will benefit also.

  • Fuck ubuntu (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WaffleMonster (969671) on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:36PM (#42937519)

    This is the problem with "success" of open projects as they grow they require more and more money to continue to reinforce their expansion and it only snowballs downhill from there. Before you know it your out there selling your soul and your users data to the highest bidder. You can still reap profit on support alone but you can't expect it to support an organization of any size with fat paychecks for all doing this. There aint any shortage of corporate customers happily willing to purchase yearly support subscriptions whether they actually need it or use it.

    Distributions put together by people who give a shit don't have this problem. The cost of packaging in time and effort is such a minsicule effort and mostly a solved problem contrasted with the effort required to produce operating system and software bundled with it.

    What if bash maintainers decided they need more money too and decided to ship your keystrokes off to facebook as well? What if the maintainers of every one of the thousands of packages that go into a modern distribution followed suite? Spying by default is indefensible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:36PM (#42937523)

    Are you sure you got the right host?

    $ ping product.canonical.com
    ping: unknown host product.canonical.com

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:39PM (#42937539)

    I use a couple of different Linux distros currently, many more in the past and also *BSD now.

    What Ubuntu does that no one has done was make it easy for the user. The way Ubuntu does things is a Windows killer - if it weren't for the pre-installation of Windows on every fucking thing that's not Apple or handheld.

    See, unlike everyother distro, when you install something on Ubuntu, it'll work (sample: everything I've installed) - and I mean using the distro's software manager - even Windows can't make that claim. Calibre for example. Updating Calibre on XP involves uninstalling and installing again; otherwise if you don't do the uninstall f the old version, when you run it, you get the old version. Ubuntu just upgrades with no hassles.

    Ubuntu does have a user experience that is superior to every other distro out there - and I think they know it.

    And don't get me started on how spell check for Slashdot on firefox foesn't work on Mint.

  • Re:Amazing. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:45PM (#42937609)

    It amazes me that when somebody does something as a business that it infuriates people especially when they get something for free.

    Shuttleworth picked the wrong crowd to spring this on. I don't think "Free" means what you think it means here or else you would understand.

  • by koan (80826) on Monday February 18, 2013 @02:49PM (#42937661)

    Using Ubuntu these days goes against why I used Linux to start with.

  • by Captain Hook (923766) on Monday February 18, 2013 @03:20PM (#42937929)

    Tell me what I'm sharing, who with

    The problem with that is that all your keystrokes go to a single Canonical controlled server and it's the server which then forwards the data to whoever it wants.

    Today you sign up for Amazon getting the search queries but without any changes to your machine tomorrow they go to Facebook as well, and then the day after they all get stored by Canonical as a way of providing historical context to the searches you've made (just so they can better server your queries... nothing creepy about it).

    Sure they say you are agreeing to Amazon get the search queries in all the big font agreements people are signing now but I bet the licence lets them send the data to whoever they chose to.

  • by jkflying (2190798) on Monday February 18, 2013 @03:24PM (#42937963)

    Try Kubuntu. You might like it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2013 @03:50PM (#42938195)

    I wish I was trolling, but up to now I've been a huge proponent of OSS: the fact that the source code is available for review makes it relatively secure. For the common user Open Source's flagship products are Libre Office, Firefox, and Ubuntu. Now I find out Ubuntu wants to sneak in ads and sell user data and I have to wonder, if they do this what other product is also doing it or plans to?

    Please, open source developers, do it for free or charge for it upfront, but don't sneak in hidden "features." It goes against the spirit of the movement and creates huge distrust in the community.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday February 18, 2013 @03:57PM (#42938279)

    Don't judge entire community by the actions of one person.

    Ubuntu is not all of open source.

  • Such a shame (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rastoboy29 (807168) on Monday February 18, 2013 @06:06PM (#42939277) Homepage
    It's a shame really.  I no longer have a distro that I feel really comfortable recommending to non-techie users.  In my opinion, Shuttleworth has pissed away most of his very well earned respect in the community.

    I've long felt that Ubuntu was the only really "complete" distro for the desktop.  Other ones come close, but they tend to have one major issue or another for regular users.  Ubuntu had the least, by far.  Sucks.

    First Unity, now this.  They both suck.  I mean, they really do.

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