If you haven't read it then this Free Software Foundation article "Ubuntu Spyware: What to Do?" is an interesting and scary read.
"Ubuntu, a widely used and influential GNU/Linux distribution, has installed surveillance code. When the user searches her own local files for a string using the Ubuntu desktop, Ubuntu sends that string to one of Canonical's servers. (Canonical is the company that develops Ubuntu.)
This is just like the first surveillance practice I learned about in Windows. My late friend Fravia told me that when he searched for a string in the files of his Windows system, it sent a packet to some server, which was detected by his firewall. Given that first example I paid attention and learned about the propensity of "reputable" proprietary software to be malware. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Ubuntu sends the same information.
Ubuntu uses the information about searches to show the user ads to buy various things from Amazon"
This makes me think of AOL and Microsoft who also does/did this. The very reason I use Ubuntu is to get away from companies like them and software with this kind of privacy issues..
So, how do I get this stuff out of my computer? What packages are involved? I know it can be turned off but its default state is On (which it clearly shouldn't be) and I don't want to check it at every update to see if it is back at the default setting.