back to article Privacy group damns Ubuntu's Amazon search marriage

Privacy activists have taken Canonical to task for exposing users' web searches and searches of their local hard drives to sites such as Amazon, Facebook and the BBC. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has called Canonical's integration of the Ubuntu 12.10 Dash search feature with results from Amazon "a major privacy problem …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It used to be a good distro until unity arrived. Should name the next release Dead Parrot.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ubuntu

      No, can't do that. The names have to have the first letter the same.

      Petrified Parrot

      but then they increment also, so would have to start R

      Reposed Rabbit maybe

      1. Euripides Pants

        Re: Ubuntu

        Rotting Rotweiler

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ubuntu

      Tsk. Its like you've no idea how the naming scheme works. P, alas, is already taken so there will be no Putrefying Parrot, but the way may yet be open for Rotting Racoon, followed by Struggling Slimemould and with any luck finishing at the hands of a Timely Terminator.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: Ubuntu

        Seeing as how it seems to be becoming more and more invasive and user unfriendly with each new release, how about "Rabid Rat"?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ubuntu

          "Rampant Rabbit" because if you use it you get fucked over?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I started with Linux using Mandrake but with the very first release of Ubuntu soon after I switched to that and remained there for many years, until I left just before the arrival of Unity.

    I remember why I used it, because of 'Ubuntu', or humanity. Sad to see it has gone so far from its roots and is now in fact actively spying on its users and taking away their choices, some of the very reasons I distrusted and left Microsoft in the first place, although I'm not sure that even Microsoft have gone to that extent of spying.

    I was going to quote Nietzsche, ah feck here it is anyway.. "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you" but I'm not quite sure it's fully apt - this is more like pure stupidity, greed, stupidity, short-term thinking and money grabbing on the part of Shuttleworth and Co.

    I'd be quite happy to pay over money to use an o/s and in fact I have donated to Ubuntu many times, but to spy on me my default goes far beyond the boundaries of what is acceptable. Has Shuttleworth become another 'emperor' surrounded by yes-men who field away any criticisms?

    It'll be interesting to see how this pans out, but all of the systems I maintain for friends and family have gone to Mint for a long time now and most certainly will never be returning if this sort of thing carrys on.

  3. sjsmoto

    I really don't understand why they didn't plug this into the Software Center instead, where it would make more sense. You search for GIMP and hey, maybe there's a book on it in Amazon.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge


      Yup, I don't mind them using referrals to make a buck although I'm not sure what Amazon are going to make of the data they recieve.

      Software Centre or a separate 'shop' would be the best place for this, not least because of the slow typist/slow internet issue... I did try a 12.10 install and lasted a few hours before using the kill switch in system settings.

    2. Anonymous C0ward

      Or an ad for something entirely different.

  4. NB

    Xubuntu it is then.

    Was considering an upgrade to 12.10 but it looks like I'll be doing clean root partition installs of xubuntu instead.

  5. Robert Moore
    Thumb Up

    It seems to me that 50% of all searches that these vendors will get access to will be something like "disable amazon in ubuntu searches"

    Here is my thinking.

    One search for "ubuntu install PACKAGENAME" or "ubuntu configure FEATURE"

    Some profanity.

    One search for "disable amazon in ubuntu searches"

    No more results.

    Annoying, but hardly the end of the world.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Gnome 3 started this

    Trying to out tablet-os Apple, Google and Microsoft. Tile interfaces are for teenagers looking to "consume multimedia content", not for adults who have to get actual work done throughout the day. As for the privacy issues, invasive schlockware for Linux was actually long overdue. It figures that we'd see it first from Ubuntu, because they're the most prone to "Windows envy". Of course I never really thought much of the "Linux for the masses" thing. Most people actually don't have a clue what to do even with the limited computing power in their smartphone or media tablet. I've come to the conclusion that they must really like the flashing lights and shiney widgets that only ask that they "click and swipe". I use RHEL at work because that's how we deliver the power of a few thousand servers to the business. I use RHEL clones at home because they're rock solid stable and don't turn the world upside down every few weeks. If everyone else wants to continue running the Windows treadmill, they're welcome to it. If Ubuntu wants to morph into Windows with a Linux Kernel that's their business.

    1. keithpeter Silver badge

      Re: Gnome 3 started this

      "I use RHEL clones at home because they're rock solid stable and don't turn the world upside down every few weeks."

      Guess you are looking forward to RHEL 7 then? Based on Fedora 18.

      I gather it will ship with XFCE4 as well as Gnome desktops...

    2. Sel

      Re: Gnome 3 started this

      I think Ubuntu follow Apple closer than Windows. E.g. disappearing scroll bars, one menu bar for the focused app (completely messing up mouseover focus) etc.

      They should have followed Apple or Microsoft a little closer though. Apple do ask if you want to integrate with FB etc. but they don't do it on the sly. I'm pretty sure Microsoft would not try to pull a fast stunt like this either. Completely insane.

      Yes people do indeed like the flashing lights and things that work as if they were real physical things. There are several million years of evolution behind our 'intuitive' understanding of physical things. A vast proportion of our brains are dedicated to visual processing. Why not use it to help the user feel comfortable that they understand what they are doing? The processing power for good graphics is there now we don't have to present people with a CLI unless they need to do something linguistic in nature.

      I'm an 'RPM hater' (for over 10 years now I've avoided any system that uses them) so couldn't possibly comment on RHEL/CentOS etc. But I feel confident in saying that there are better alternatives for the Ubuntu refugee.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Gnome 3 started this

        "'m an 'RPM hater' (for over 10 years now I've avoided any system that uses them) so couldn't possibly comment on RHEL/CentOS etc. But I feel confident in saying that there are better alternatives for the Ubuntu refugee."

        Debian. It's what Ubuntu is based on. And I'm with you on RPMs.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FFS, don't "recommend", file formal complaints

    AFAIK, a lot of Ubuntu work is done in the UK. UK uses the EU approach to data protection, which means that this distro is automatically in violation on two major points (note, IANAL but fairly well up on most of these laws):

    1 - any data sharing must be opt IN. Defaulting to share with all and sundry is non-compliant

    2 - data sharing permission must be given EXPLICITLY. This means that a separate statement, with details of the data sharing must be provided and agreed to. IMPLICIT obtaining of permission by embedding it in a contract printed in light grey 6 point characters on a white background is not acceptable under Data Protection laws.

    Now, I've stopped using Ubuntu a long time ago so I cannot file a complaint in good conscience - but any of you who do can. And you should. This sort of creeping and creepy exposure will otherwise continue.

    If they want to monetise Ubuntu, that's their choice. But not by breaking the law. Time to face the music IMHO, if you live anywhere near Europe you damn well know what the law says by now, it's not like it's not very easy to find out. I know that Google and Facebook presently get away with minuscule fines, but that too will change.

  8. HeyMickey

    New level of Reg proofreading fail

    How the fuck do you manage to take the initial letters of Electronic Frontier Foundation and end up with EEF?

  9. Steve Knox

    Just Fork It

    EFF should just fork Unity and distribute their own version. Call it EFF-U for short.

  10. preppy

    "...moving to Gnome 3, KDE or Cinnamon".

    No....not Gnome 3.....but what about's the closest you will get to Gnome 2.

    1. Ian Johnston Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Agreed. I have just moved from Ubuntu 10.04 to Xubuntu 12.04. That's mainly because Xfce is brilliant at supporting two monitors, but I've also been pleasantly surprised it was to configure it to look and feel very similar to Gnome 2.

  11. allan wallace


    "Pathetic Penguin"

  12. Camilla Smythe


    So I still have to 'hack' the supposedly deprecated Xorg.conf to get a decent screen resolution but Mr ShuffleBum thinks it will be 'cool' to present me with Amazon shit in my searches on a 640 x 480 screen?

    Parse any one, pair, or more, from four.





  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The good ol' days...

    I remember when Ubuntu was a great distro. But then, l'm getting on a bit...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      When I were a lad

      t' closest we had to adverts was t' town crier.

    2. Ian Johnston Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: The good ol' days...

      That would have been in the days when Firefox was a decent browser and not a buggy bloated browser, a pointless OS and a pathetic app store.

      It's the curse of FOSS - very few people want to get what's already there working well when there are exciting roadmaps of developments five years down the line to wank^H^H^Hork on.

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