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Ubuntu Privacy

Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth Wins Austria's Big Brother Award 116

sfcrazy writes "Austria's Big Brother Awards awarded the coveted Big Brother Award to Ubuntu's founder Mark Shuttleworth for Ubuntu Dash's privacy reducing online extensions to local searches." From the article: "What’s bad here and raises question here is that despite repeated requests Canonical refused to make the tracking option opt-in. The feature is installed and enabled by default so the moment one install Ubuntu it starts sending info to Canonical servers until the user deliberately disables it."
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Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth Wins Austria's Big Brother Award

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  • Wut? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 28, 2013 @07:06PM (#45263867)

    If that is the biggest brother in Austria, they are living in paradise.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It just means that they dare not offend the Bigger Brothers.

    • The problems with Ubuntu are a big deal because getting people to switch to free software was supposed to be the solution to these privacy problems. We had a nice, simple message: "GNU/Linux doesn't spy on you". Ubuntu muddies the waters, which is annoying because solutions are pretty thin on the ground.

  • selling data (Score:5, Insightful)

    by I.M.O.G. ( 811163 ) <> on Monday October 28, 2013 @07:10PM (#45263901) Homepage
    Most people within core mass market demographics don't realize or care how much data they send, so defaults are important economically. If the financial motivations are in the wrong place, the wrong decision will be made for invested parties. I don't know of any business that is successful and doesn't exploit this general sort of opportunity. It paints Ubuntu as a villain, but its more business as usual and isn't unique to Ubuntu.
    • That just means that all the other totalitarian assholes running those other companies deserve to share the 'award.'

  • You are small time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sqrt(2) ( 786011 ) on Monday October 28, 2013 @07:11PM (#45263923) Journal
  • Riiiiiight... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FuzzNugget ( 2840687 ) on Monday October 28, 2013 @07:14PM (#45263943)
    Because, of all the privacy violators made apparent in the past several months, Canonical is clearly the worst offender.
    • The NSA has won the Austrian Big Brother Lifetime Award this year. There's no higher "honour". Google and Facebook have won in the last couple of years, so from the last remaining options they chose the worst.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They are talking about typing something into a field labeled "Search your computer and online sources. I repeat: "SEARCH YOUR COMPUTER AND ONLINE SOURCES" (caps seems to be necessary).
    Besides that, you can very easily enable/disable sources (by clicking them in the same dash), completely remove sources with your package manager, or disable all online searches.

    But, why in Kropotkinsname would anyone want to disable the online search? If you want to get the weather, calculation, wikipedia page, wouldn't you j
    • Re:FUD (Score:4, Interesting)

      by foobar bazbot ( 3352433 ) on Monday October 28, 2013 @09:06PM (#45264767)

      They are talking about typing something into a field labeled "Search your computer and online sources.

      Call me crazy, but I normally have a real good idea whether I'm searching for something on my computer or on the interwebz. And the only use case I can think of where I'd ever want to search both for the same thing is if I want to run an app (say, Google Earth) that may or may not be installed, so I want to find and execute the installed instance, if any, and failing that, I'll search the web to find and download the installer. Even then, I want to search first one, then conditionally search the other.

      So to me it's pretty obvious that the more useful behavior is two search boxen, one to search my computer, and the other to search online sources. Or perhaps one search box with two buttons, so I can click the local one, and if I don't get a result, click the web one.

      But, why in Kropotkinsname would anyone want to disable the online search? If you want to get the weather, calculation, wikipedia page, wouldn't you just lookup the result on the web instead? Or even worse: search it with Google?

      Well, there's two points of objection. One is an issue of how many and whose computers see your search queries -- which is ultimately addressable by changing which sources are enabled. In order to do an internet search, you've obviously gotta trust somebody with your search query -- so pick somebody and set up your sources correspondingly.

      The other, and IMO bigger point, is that somebody -- whether it's canonical's search service, google, duckduckgo, or ixquick -- is receiving info every time you use that tool to search for a local document. No matter how much I trust ixquick, it's senseless to entrust them with more data in exchange for no benefit, so when I know I'm searching for a local file, I'd like the easy choice to not have my search query posted to any web search engine. Again, give me two search boxes, or one box with two (or more -- one for each source, one for all sources, etc.) buttons.

  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Monday October 28, 2013 @07:31PM (#45264057)

    Just like Google - YOU are the product, not the search (or other) services.

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Tuesday October 29, 2013 @07:24AM (#45267363)

      You are not the "product" just because you use something appears to have no dollar value assigned to it, and just because I don't pay to use Google or any of their services does not mean they aren't services.

      I pay them with my information and they allow me to use their services. They in turn sell this information to others who associate a dollar value with it. This is not unlike the bartering system where I give you a goat in exchange for you building me a table and you then give the goat to someone else in exchange for gold.

      Yes Google makes money off our information, but good luck getting that information without enticing us with the ability to use their products and services which in turn cost them quite a lot to supply. Anyone who claims that a person is the product is woefully ignorant of the flow of value through Google's intricate web.

      Bottom line is that Google offer many products and services and we pay for them with information.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        When you buy low and sell high over time in a one-way flow it's a supplier/customer relationship and the people you buy low from are your suppliers, the people you sell high to customers. We supply Google with raw information and get paid in free services, they process it and sell it to their customers. Of course they want us to use their services because it means they have more product to sell to their customers but we're the "supply" part of the market, not the "demand". Both can be mutually beneficial re

        • No we're the supply side of only one part of the market. Again you can't look at it as one customer base. If google don't supply us with the relevant products and services we won't use them and hence we can't in turn be the supply to their other customers.

          My point was any attempt to define any part of the Google system by a single moniker (product, supply side, etc) completely ignores the economics of how the company works.

  • Then what is left for Obama? Big Grandfather? And there is a lot of players in the middle ground, (Cameron, Cook, Zuckerberg, Ballmer and a long list of etcs) that are heads and shoulders over whatever Ubuntu could ever do.
  • by umafuckit ( 2980809 ) on Monday October 28, 2013 @07:50PM (#45264225)
    There are better candidates for the Big Brother award than Shuttleworth.
  • Not the NSA? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by NoKaOi ( 1415755 ) on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:01PM (#45264315)

    The article blabs on and on about how this is a Big Brother-ish threat because the data could easily be obtained by the NSA. So why not just give the award to the NSA? Or, if it has to be an individual, then to the president or the head of the NSA? I though maybe it had to go to a company operating in the EU, since Canonical is from the UK, but then realized that we know the NSA operates in the EU too. So, maybe the company is being evil by doing this, but clearly not as evil as the US government and its TLAs.

    • The article blabs on and on about how this is a Big Brother-ish threat because the data could easily be obtained by the NSA. So why not just give the award to the NSA? Or, if it has to be an individual, then to the president or the head of the NSA?

      Seems logical, huh? But Obama's responsibility repulsion field apparently keeps that from happening.

    • You (and a lot of other people) are asking, why not the NSA? Well, here is the answer: The NSA alongside the austrian government (for saying nothing) has won the Big Brother Award in the category politcs. It was titled the german name of the movie "The Silence of the Lambs" (Das Schweigen der Lämmer).
    • by cccc828 ( 740705 )
      > So why not just give the award to the NSA?

      In fact they gave three awards to the NSA (Source in German []). They won "Lifelong Annoyence", the audience award (shared with GCHQ) and in the category "politics" (shared with the Austrian goverment).
  • Shuttleworth? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 28, 2013 @08:36PM (#45264573)

    I don't use Ubuntu as a result of the tracking, but they really couldn't find any product that invades privacy more in 2013? They aren't aware of any websites or applications that silently track users, or any tablet/smarthpone software that accesses private information it shouldn't?

  • Read a bit about dash and what it does and doesn't do. Much as I admire Stallman the man is into some serious polemics (otherwise known as FUD) at times.

    For instance read: [] []

    Has Stallman head of Machine Learning and its use to improve search results? How does this occur without training data from actual sea

    • As long as it is anonymized at the recording end I don't have an issue.

      ...and given that it's free software that can be verified (or implemented). I don't understand why some of the FOSS community is trying to alienate Canonical, we already know not everybody is going to share the same beliefs/morals so this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate how the benefits of free software can be utilized to take Canonical's product and also make it palatable to those who feel the search feature is a privacy violation.

      I'm not saying Canonical should be celebrated for this but instead

  • Personally i do not accept default option where Cannonical gets info even on local searches. So i don't use regular Ubuntu. I got couple older laptops that runs light version of Ubuntu.Thank god no mandatory warrant-less searches there. Im all for Cannonical to gain ad-revenue if they need it. But not at expence of them knowing what i search in my local repositories. I do coding sometimes and most of that is done either case by case basis or just for myself. I also have documents that im contractually obl
    • I don't run Ubuntu, but if my present OS attempted to do this to me, I'd jump ship and find a new one.

  • Hrm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Everyone seems to be making a mountain over a mole hill, the Amazon lens for Unity isn't spyware and can be easily turned off in the Settings panel and does not send any information personal to the user, it is fully open-source so you can examine how it works and Canonical tell you it's there... How is this spyware ??? Stop trolling a good Os and just turn it off, or better yet, use Xubuntu where XFCE is the default window manager and stop whining...

    • by Fruit ( 31966 )
      You can't switch it off if you don't know it exists. Or is reading slashdot mandatory now if you want to run free software?
  • Much more interesting are the ones in politics (eg. because of the completely absent reaction to the NSA scandal).

    Here are all the winners with a short description:

    Communications and Marketing: Marc Shuttleworth, Ubuntu

    Business and Finance: XBox One /Steve Ballmer, Microsoft

    Administration: Whistleblower-Platform which is hosted in another country by the same institution that hosts similar services for other countries and agencies / Beatrix Karl, ÖVP

    Politics: The NSA and the silence of the lambs / Werne

  • If a for-profit entity offers you a service for free, you're not the customer -- you're the product. Mozilla offers freebies and you are not the product. Ubuntu shifts the profit elsewhere from the sticker price, like Google does. That said, I'll take Canonical over Google any day. And Mozilla's products over both. I use both FirefoxOS and Ubuntu.
    Because it's the most polished distro, I realize I'm not cool for that.. and I can live with that.

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming