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EFF urges Canonical to make Ubuntu 12.10 Amazon ads optional

Wants more details on what Amazon does with user information
Wed Oct 31 2012, 17:26
ubuntu dash

THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION (EFF) has urged Canonical to stop sending search information to Amazon by default in Ubuntu 12.10.

Canonical's Ubuntu 12.10 release came with the now well rehearsed arguments against the Unity window manager and even more controversially, opt-out Amazon advertising. While Canonical has made it easy for users to disable the adverts, the EFF urged Canonical to make it an opt-in system and disclose what it does with the search queries.

Amazon adverts are placed in Ubuntu's Dash when the user initiates a systemwide search for applications or files. While Canonical claims these are not adverts, it is hard to see links to products on Amazon that include prices as anything other than ads.

Now the EFF has waded in by not only highlighting how to turn Amazon's adverts off in Ubuntu 12.10 but urging Canonical to change the advertising to an opt-in system and asking for more information on what the firm does with the information before sending it off to Amazon. Canonical has previously said that it anonymises searches before sending them to Amazon.

As part of the EFF's request it said, "We love that Ubuntu is bold enough to break new ground and compete directly with the large proprietary operating systems, but please make sure that you respect your users' privacy and security while you're doing it. Windows and Mac users are used to having their data sent to third parties without their express consent by software companies that are trying to maximize profits for their shareholders."

Canonical told The INQUIRER earlier that it will incorporate search results from other firms in future Ubuntu releases, which could facilitate another mass exodus from the popular Linux distribution. We have also detailed the two methods through which Amazon's advertising can be removed from Ubuntu 12.10 in our review. µ


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