Two weeks after the launch of Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal), the Electronic Frontier Foundation is making a powerful statement against Canonical, regarding its shopping lens debacle.
The Dash searches in Ubuntu 12.10 are probably the most controversial decisions made by Canonical, and even by any distribution developers.
Long story short, the search in Ubuntu 12.10 returns responses from Amazon (and Canonical's own shop) in a manner that could leak the information.
Electronic Frontier Foundation, through the voice of Micah Lee, has made some clear demands of Canonical, regarding its Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal).
• Disable "Include online search results" by default. Users must be able to install and just use the operating system without having to worry about their privacy. Canonical should consider displaying a dialog the first time a user logs in that asks if they would like to opt-in.
• Canonical has to explain in great detail what they are doing with the search queries and IP addresses, how long are they stored, and if they are given to third parties.
• The Search Results tab of the Privacy settings must let users toggle on and off specific online search results.
“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,” explained Lee.
“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,” he ended.
It's rather unusual for a distribution to attract so much attention, but we have to keep in mind that Ubuntu is the most used open source operating system, so people are going to take notice if Canonical doesn't behave properly.
If you want to see what the fuss is all about, download Ubuntu 12.10right now from Softpedia.