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Thread: Disabling privacy-invasive Zeitgeist, Geoclue, Whoopsie (and NTPD)

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    Jun 2012

    Lightbulb Disabling privacy-invasive Zeitgeist, Geoclue, Whoopsie (and NTPD)

    Release after release, Canonical's Ubuntu is increasingly turning YOUR personal computer into a personal surveillance machine enabling ad companies, intelligence and law enforcement agencies, curious spouses and the occasional Google wifi war driver to harvest personal information on YOU. Aside from that, these processes also waste processing power, memory and internet bandwhich. A couple of weeks ago, a colleague installed Ubuntu for the first time complaining to me how slow it was running on his older computer. The reason offcourse were processes like Zeitgeist and Geoclue.
    Below some guidelines on how to remove some of these programs and still maintaining some basic OS functionality.

    The commands below remove:
    Zeitgeist: Zeitgeist is a service which logs the user's activities and events (files opened, websites visited, conversations hold with other people, etc.) and makes the information available to other applications.
    Geoclue: GeoClue is a software framework that enables geospatial awareness in applications. In human language: physical location tracking software.
    Whoopsie-daisy: Daemon that submits (sensitive?) crash data to the Ubuntu server.

    sudo apt-get remove zeitgeist zeitgeist-core zeitgeist-datahub python-zeitgeist rhythmbox-plugin-zeitgeist geoclue geoclue-ubuntu-geoip geoip-database whoopsie
    Because geoclue has been intertwined with indicator-datetime, you won't be able to see the time in Ubuntu anymore. To overcome this, you can download the original sources ( of indicator-datetime, replace "src/datetime-service.c", "" and "" by the ones located in the archive here: Then offcourse, recompile it and install it. All references to GeoClue have been removed. For the lazy people, a deb "executable" is also included. Installing deb files downloaded from the internet is a very bad practice as they can contain rootkits!

    The SHA1 checksum of is "42962afcfd56ec8277ae007c90f740f6b99388c0"
    To compare the checksum:
    Removing Zeitgeist will cause Unity to malfunction. As I've never been a fan of Unity I didn't care. Installing Gnome3 goes as follows:
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install gnome-shell gnome-tweak-tool
    sudo reboot
    To disable NTP call home requests on every Ubuntu boot, the following can be performed
    sudo gedit /etc/default/ntpdate
    On the first line, insert a new line containing:
    exit 0
    Note that your system time won't be updated automatically anymore from now on so you'll have to do this manually.

    After all the above has been performed, only the occasional connection to the following server domains will occur, mainly for keeping your Ubuntu version secure and up to date:
    • ubuntu.mirrors server

    The following domains won't be contacted anymore
    • (only once at boot time)
    • (sporadically called during user session)
    • (sporadically called during user session)
    • (Sporadically called during user session, don't know why it's even used let alone by which process. If someone can enlighten me, I'd be happy to learn.)
    Last edited by besouro; June 9th, 2012 at 08:59 AM.

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