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

Micah Lee micahflee at
Fri Feb 22 14:30:17 PST 2013

On 02/22/2013 02:06 PM, Jacob Appelbaum wrote:
> 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
> involved.
> 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,
> Jacob

Ubuntu has said that they won't disable online search by default.

However, they do make it really simple for users to turn it off in the
settings, and I believe they're working on making the privacy settings
have more options, letting you turn off online search directly from dash
(a "private mode"), and things like that.

I think it's possible to create the kind of usability they want to
create and also protect privacy. They haven't gotten there yet
obviously, and so far haven't been responsive to criticism. But I'll
still keep an open mind and hope that they eventually come up with
something great. Until that happens I'm using Debian.

Micah Lee

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