Ubuntu’s Privacy FUBAR

The EFF has a particularly good accounting of how the most recent changes to Ubuntu are intensely problematic from a privacy perspective. Specifically, performing local searches will (and does) leak information to third-parties such as Facebook and Amazon. Though not explicitly mentioned, remember that in many jurisdictions if you ‘give up’ or ‘abandon’ information to third-parties then you often lose considerable (legal) privacy protections. As such, Ubuntu’s decision to leak data to third-parties whenever users perform local searches on their computer could have significant implications for Ubuntu users’ legal protections concerning personal search information. If Microsoft or Apple did something similar then there would almost certainly be complaints filed to federal bodies: will similar reactions emerge from the Linux and Ubuntu communities?

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