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[liberationtech] Fwd: [greg at Ubuntu, Dash, Shuttleworth and privacy]

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at
Fri Feb 22 14:06:34 PST 2013

Rich Kulawiec:
> On Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 04:53:48AM +0000, Jacob Appelbaum wrote:
>> Sounds like someone should upload a package that fixes all of the
>> privacy problems, eh?
> I've thought about this for a couple of days and about 20 miles, and
> although my initial reaction was "yes, they should", I'm now going to
> reverse myself and say "well...maybe not".  Here's why.
> I think the problem here is not susceptible to patching, because the
> root cause isn't software: it's mindset.  The people who think that this
> is actually a good idea -- and persist in thinking so despite cogent
> (and in my opinion, highly persuasive) arguments to the contrary -- are
> unlikely to shift course.  The course they've embarked on inevitably leads
> to more of the same -- oh, with different technical details and levels of
> impact, of course, but still: more of the same.  I am reminded of one
> of my favorite quotes:
> 	"I could warn you of course, but you would not listen.  I could
> 	kill you, but someone would take your place.  So I do the only
> 	thing I can.  I go."
> I don't think the situation is salvageable; I think the effort that could
> be put into trying to do so is better spent elsewhere.
> I think it's time to go.

The Opt-out strategy is useful. The question is - how does it make
Ubuntu safer or more privacy preserving? For example - what if we were
able to make a privacy preserving version that was also reasonably
secure and everyone was happy? Perhaps one where people might even be
able to opt-out of the privacy enhancements?

I'd be fine with such a choice - I don't feel like it is a lost cause
either, I think it is, if anything, a lot of work. Who is more likely to
experiment in this space? It isn't Apple, it isn't Microsoft, it isn't a
lot of Free Software projects; Ubuntu could really improve on their
privacy in a way that few others are able to do and in doing so, they'd
find a privacy preserving way to make a profit with the consent of those

I think the first step is to design such a thing, encourage people to
use it and then to show those who are skeptical that the work is done.
Now, if they say no, yes, I agree - time to consider it a lost cause.
Such a dialog hasn't happened and as a result, I think it is too early
to quit.

All the best,

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