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EFF Wants Ubuntu To Disable Online Search By Default 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-works-vs.-just-works-correctly dept.
sfcrazy writes "Ubuntu 12.10 met with some controversy before and after its launch about the inclusion of Amazon product listings alongside local search results. Now, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has raised concerns around data leaks and Amazon Ads. The EFF has asked Canonical to update Ubuntu so it disables 'Include online search results' by default. 'Users should be able to install Ubuntu and immediately start using it without having to worry about leaking search queries or sending potentially private information to third party companies. Since many users might find this feature useful, consider displaying a dialog the first time a user logs in that asks if they would like to opt-in.'"
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EFF Wants Ubuntu To Disable Online Search By Default

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  • Someone has to pay (Score:3, Informative)

    by bjourne (1034822) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @05:42PM (#41823937) Homepage Journal
    Developing a Linux distro isn't cheap. Even if they are mostly just assembling free software components, it still costs money to create a reasonably polished user experience. Canonical seem like a decent enough company and have sponsored lots of conferences for example. Back in the day you could request install cd:s from them which they sent you free of charge so that you could give to friends and family. So why not be nice back and let them have some small Amazon affiliate income? If that's what it takes to keep Ubuntu running, it's fine by me.
  • EFF's suggestions (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @05:58PM (#41824183)

    What EFF Wants From Ubuntu

    Ubuntu is the third most popular desktop operating system, and it's the most popular free software one. Many of EFF's employees run Ubuntu on their own computers. Here is what we would like to see from future versions of Ubuntu.

            Disable "Include online search results" by default. Users should be able to install Ubuntu and immediately start using it without having to worry about leaking search queries or sending potentially private information to third party companies. Since many users might find this feature useful, consider displaying a dialog the first time a user logs in that asks if they would like to opt-in.

            Explain in detail what you do with search queries and IP addresses, how long you store them, and in what circumstances you give them to third parties.

            Make the Search Results tab of the Privacy settings let users toggle on and off specific online search results. Some users might want Amazon products in their search results, but never anything from Facebook.

            We love that Ubuntu is bold enough to break new ground and compete directly with the large proprietary operating systems, but please make sure that you respect your users' privacy and security while you're doing it. Windows and Mac users are used to having their data sent to third parties without their express consent by software companies that are trying to maximize profits for their shareholders. Let's make sure Ubuntu, like the GNU/Linux operating system at its heart, remains an exception to this.

    Really if Ubuntu had implemented these suggestions to begin with, they could have avoided this controversy.

  • Re:Useless (Score:5, Informative)

    by c (8461) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @06:50PM (#41824823)

    > Every time I search for "tentacle rape furry herm hentai" I get
    > zero results from Amazon anyway.

    Try amazon.jp...

    Ah... I wish I was joking.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by mister_playboy (1474163) on Wednesday October 31, 2012 @04:41AM (#41827899)

    He's probably referring to the fact that Mint has been getting more pageviews on DistroWatch than Ubuntu for some time now. I'm certain Ubuntu still has more actual users.

    That said, I had a friend inquire about Linux recently and I recommended Mint to them over Ubuntu because of this advertising injection. I use KDE so the Unity thing wasn't a big deal to me, but I can't excuse the ads/infomining. That's not what Linux is about.

Given its constituency, the only thing I expect to be "open" about [the Open Software Foundation] is its mouth. -- John Gilmore

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