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EFF Wants Ubuntu To Disable Online Search By Default 124

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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  • Good Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @05:26PM (#41823669)
    Providing users with a clear, easy to change choice up front ought to be the new standard. Maybe some users will want to see sponsored search results (advertising) when they search for photos they took on their vacation to Scotland. Others may prefer to just see the photos they are looking for. Either way, letting the user choose and being honest about what they are choosing, rather than simply having sponsored results appear in a local search, is a much better user experience.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @05:26PM (#41823685)
    Everybody wants Ubuntu to disable online search.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mikeken ( 907710 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @05:28PM (#41823725)
    "...but I would expect most Linux users to know that and make an informed decision." Typically true, but it should make a difference that Ubuntu isn't targeting the average Linux user (IMHO). They are targeting everyday users as well by trying to make their interface as easy to use as possible.
  • Re:Good Advice (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RanCossack ( 1138431 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @05:45PM (#41823973)
    I'm not sure of the exact term for it, but your example assumes the user is looking for photos of Scotland that they took and have stored on their local drive. What if they want to search for Scotland on the internet? Maybe someone else said something about Scotland, so they type in "Scotland" to look it up on Wikipedia, or to see image results for Scotland from Google. Or, more relevant to the shopping lens, maybe they typed in "kilts" because they want to buy one, not search for pictures of kilts on their local drive -- or to search for an app named "kilt", which is how the original feature worked.

    I think that if Ubuntu had debuted Unity with web searches built in to the lens thing, people wouldn't be nearly as surprised and even outraged. It's the change from a purely local search (albeit one with several modules) to one that includes results from Amazon that's made it shocking. Nobody is protesting amazon being included in the search bar in Firefox, for example.

    Personally, I'd prefer it if there was a toggle for internet searches in the search bar, down where the privacy notice is now, and add way more useful lenses like the wikipedia one. I'd actually use that.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 ) <gaygirlie&hotmail,com> on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @06:05PM (#41824275) Homepage

    How about users just get a clue? Online search is a feature, not a bug.

    Not when you're trying to search locally.

  • Re:Good Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @06:11PM (#41824337)
    Nobody protests Amazon being included in the search bar in Firefox because nobody uses Firefox to search for local data. Local and remote searching should have a good clear line between them. It should take an active effort on the users part to merge them.
  • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by aaaaaaargh! ( 1150173 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @06:11PM (#41824345)

    Users should get a clue? What a charming view on users - I hope you're not a developer.

    As a long-term Ubuntu user I have to say that I really want a clear separation between online search and local search. The last thing I want to see when searching through my files is an advertisement by some company. Not even as an opt-in.

    (Apart from that general point, it should also be mentioned that Amazon sucks for a variety of good reasons.)

  • Re:Good Advice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mounthood ( 993037 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @06:19PM (#41824455)

    If Canonical had asked "Support Ubuntu by including Amazon searches?" they could have kept the money and the goodwill.

  • Re:Hmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @06:29PM (#41824573)

    I believe you'll find Mint took over the top spot when Ubuntu began pushing Unity on everyone.

  • Re:Good Advice (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Tuesday October 30, 2012 @07:25PM (#41825173)
    Of course there is. Having everything you search on submitted to every external site that you do business with is bad. Whether you are looking for local files concerning your birthday, the erotic letter your wife wrote you, or that letter you wrote to the GBLT suicide hotline, it is none of Amazon's business. Ubuntu tapping your searches for Amazon is not significantly different than if ATT tapped your phone line for Amazon.

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."