Re: Ubuntu and Amazon
It would have been very easy for me to say "Ubuntu 12.04 does not send any information about you, ever, to anyone" just so you'll start using Ubuntu, but no computer operating system made in the last ten years can make that claim. If a little knowledge is dangerous, maybe a lot of knowledge will be beneficial?
Ubuntus 8.04 and above, plus many other Linux distributions and Windows XP and above: If a program crashes, it asks you if you want to send a bug report. If you do, it collects system information and the program traceback to Launchpad, which is run by Canonical. Your IP address is also sent.
Ubuntu 4.10 and above, plus nearly every Linux distribution ever, plus every Unix and Mac OS X: On boot, your system time is set by a Network Time Protocol server; as a result your IP address is sent to the NTP server.
Ubuntu 4.10 and above, plus Debian and all Debian-based distributions (non-Debian distributions may have something similar): You can participate in Popularity Contest (off by default) which sends your package selection and IP address to Canonical, so they know what packages people use most often.
Ubuntu 11.04 and above: Search queries performed in the Music lens, plus your IP address, will be sent to 7Digital so you will see search results from the Ubuntu One Music Store.
Ubuntu 11.10 and above: Search queries performed in the Video lens, plus your IP address, will be sent to several websites (you can see which ones in the Video lens) including the Chinese equivalent of Youtube, for the purpose of showing search results from these sites.
Ubuntu 12.10 and above: Search queries performed in Dash Home will be sent to Canonical with IP address, and then sent onto Amazon without your IP address. Results will come back to Canonical's server and then back to you.
Ubuntu 4.10 and above, plus most web browsers made since the beginning of the Internet on every platform: Searches performed in Firefox will be sent to the selected search engine, along with IP address, OS version, browser and browser version, and screen resolution.
Ubuntu 4.10 and above, plus every web browser on every platform EVER: Visiting any web page will send IP address, OS version, browser and browser version, screen resolution and the previous page you were on, to the server containing the web page you have requested.
Ubuntu 12.04 and above: Ship with a package called Geoclue, which allows programs to obtain information about your approximate location, similar to what your mobile phone does all the time.
Android: Your position and any visible wifi networks are sent, along with your IP address and probably some other information, to Google. When using Google Maps, your average speed along a road is sent to Google along with IP address.
iOS: Probably the same. Plus more; I don't know much about Apple products.
All mobile phones: Send information about your current location and phone's identification number to the carrier.
Windows and Mac OS X, and a lot of proprietary software on these platforms: Send information around the internet without your knowledge, or mine for that matter. The information may be personal or not. It may be sent to somewhere harmless, or not. It might be encrypted, or not. You would need to run a packet tracer to find out what programs or operating systems are sending information, and what that information might be. At least with Linux, we have some idea of what is going where.
TL;DR: You'll never be entirely private on the Internet, especially not if you use search engines and the World Wide Web. Although 12.04 does not contain the Amazon shopping lens, any searches you perform in the Videos lens will be sent to the Chinese (and other sites) and any searches you perform in the Music lens will be sent to the 7Digital music store. The same is true for Ubuntu 12.10, but at least with 12.10 you have the option to switch Unity to "local searches only".
So, slightly counter-intuitively, you can probably preserve your privacy better on 12.10 than on 12.04. Also, slightly counter-intuitively, your Amazon search queries are stripped of identifying information when performed through the Dash and are therefore more private than if you did a regular Google search in your web browser.
Last edited by 3rdalbum; January 28th, 2013 at 03:53 AM.
I try to treat the cause, not the symptom. I avoid the terminal in instructions, unless it's easier or necessary. My instructions will work within the Ubuntu system, instead of breaking or subverting it. Those are the three guarantees to the helpee.