Ubuntu Privacy Issues Eerily Similar To Windows 10

Users are eagerly looking for an alternative solution to the Windows 10 debacle. Naturally, the nix users are first to suggest a Linux platform. And when most Windows users hear the word “Linux” they automatically think of Ubuntu.

If you are planning to make the move to Ubuntu or already have, you may want to rethink that decision. It turns out, although the Canonical Privacy Policy is nowhere near as bad as the Microsoft Privacy Policy, it is still pretty scary. Unfortunately, the fact that Ubuntu collects user data isn’t the worst part of their policy either.

Ubuntu Security Team Summary

When opening the privacy policy, one can see that Canonical openly admits to harvesting user data. The first sentence of the first paragraph reads “Canonical collects personal information from you in a number of different ways.” They go on to explain why they share your data. “We don’t store personal information unless required for the on-going operation of services to you, to provide you with products, to comply with the law or to protect our rights”, reads a bullet point from the policy. This basically describes that Canonical’s use of your data is only collected when required to offer a needed service, such as the operating system itself. This goes without saying, they will always collect your data, in order to provide you the service of the operating system.

Ubuntu also collects user info for creating accounts on not only the Ubuntu distro but for forums and websites as well. Data collected includes items such as account names, addresses, passwords and credit card info. They also collect various data for error reporting and statistical information. Although most of this is normally expected when using a computer in today’s day, this isn’t the only thing collected by Ubuntu, nor is it the most honest way of collecting information on users.

The information provided to Canonical is also stored on company servers and may be “accessed by or given to our staff working inside and outside of the UK and to third parties, including contractors and companies within Canonical’s group”, which they claim is for the purpose of providing users with products or services. User information is processed and given to anyone that may provide Canonical or their users with any given “service”. Users consent and agree to the processing and transfer of said data when simply installing Ubuntu.

Most of those familiar with Ubuntu already know about the Amazon ad space that is pushed through the Dash (similar to Windows Search). When a user attempts to search for something using the Dash, they will receive ads from the internet in their results that may be related to their search, unless the user has opted out. These search terms are stored locally for third party access. Ubuntu then sends your keystrokes to productsearch.ubuntu.com and “selected” third parties including Facebook, Twitter, BBC and Amazon for use. By searching with the Ubuntu Dash, users automatically consent to the collection and use of their search terms and user IP addresses, which will also be shared with third parties.

Canonical’s policy goes on to say that use of user data will “only” be in accordance with the privacy policy as a whole.

Canonical can use your data for what they want and that’s the straight forward.

Users that are looking to opt out and protect their privacy can visit FixUbuntu.com for a privacy solution.