I have exchanged e-mails and been having chats with people about the new Amazon Product Results in the Ubuntu 12.10 Unity Dash. One of the people I reached out to was Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation a visionary who I have much respect for after all he pioneered much of the foundation and principles that guide the Free Software Community.
Stallman pointed out two things he thought were bad about the new feature landing in Ubuntu 12.10:
1. Users’ privacy. If Canonical gets this data, it will be forced
to hand it over to various governments.
2. Amazon. People should not buy from Amazon (see
html), so it is bad to suggest buying from Amazon.
I guess from the start I was never really concerned about Canonical handling this data because I know they are good stewards of our community and I trust that they take our privacy seriously. I guess it never dawned on me that Canonical might start getting requests for search data as a result of this new feature and there is no doubt that various governments are now aware this feature exists after all its been in the news for weeks.
Hopefully those who are doubtful about this new feature or have fear about Government getting their search data through a warrant or even in the case of warrantless data seizure which is now allowed in some cases in the United States with little oversight will simply toggle it off under the Privacy Settings or remove the package entirely.
Remember folks sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-shopping or System Settings – Privacy and a click can remedy your concerns if you still have some!
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below and if your interested make a donation to the Free Software Foundation!
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