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

Douglas Lucas dal at
Fri Mar 8 19:24:32 PST 2013

A small but important point people might have overlooked. An opt-out
function for Ubuntu's Dash is less helpful if you're running Ubuntu as a
liveboot. If you're running it as a liveboot, you or your startup script
will have to disable the Dash leaks each and every time you boot up your
computer. It is easy to mistakenly type something sensitive into the
Dash before disabling the leaks -- especially when you boot up your live
machine three, four times a day across hundreds of days. You're drunk or
tired or something -- might sound silly, but that is life -- and you
type a passphrase or something else important into the Dash...bad!

The take-away point is that when you take live systems into account, the
"well you can just turn it off" argument is weaker.

On 02/22/2013 04:06 PM, Jacob Appelbaum wrote:
> 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
> 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
> --
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