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

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at
Fri Feb 22 14:59:57 PST 2013

Micah Lee:
> 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.

Will they ensure it always traverses the network with HTTPS, with SSL
certs/CA material pinned? Will they always support connections from the
Tor network?

> 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.

Seems like a good step forward.

> 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.

If we merely wait for them to find solutions in a problem space they
hardly understand, they will likely produce an outcome that makes
everyone unhappy.

All the best,

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