Canonical wants to shill for Amazon on Ubuntu users' desktops

Company insists that adding Amazon product listings to desktop search results is secure -- and certainly not a form of advertising

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Addressing users concerns about their desktop searches being shared with Amazon, Shuttleworth had this to say: "We are not telling Amazon what you are searching for. Your anonymity is preserved because we handle the query on your behalf. Don't trust us? Erm, we have root. You do trust us with your data already. You trust us not to screw up on your machine with every update. You trust Debian, and you trust a large swathe of the open source community. And most importantly, you trust us to address it when, being human, we err."

That phrasing -- particularly the "Erm, we have root" part -- didn't sit well with some Ubuntu users. One going by the screen name Martin responded:

"[First], the communication between the lens and your servers is sent plain text, aka no SSL. This opens up every search to man in the middle attacks and similar privacy and security hacks."

"[Second], it doesn't matter if the "home" searches go to Amazon or only Canonical servers. They shouldn't go anywhere; they should stay local. It's none of Canonicals' or Amazon's business what Ubuntu users do on their desktops."

"[Lastly], you do not have root on my machines. I cannot believe you just said that you do have root and implied you can do whatever you want on your user's machines. What a mistake. You lost all my trust, you lost a longtime Ubuntu user, and thereby future potential users who I will send somewhere else too."

Shuttleworth offered this advice to users who are still concerned about the change: "What we have in 12.10 isn't the full experience, so those who leap to judgment are at maximum risk of having to eat their words later. Chill out. If the first cut doesn't work for you, remove it, or just search the specific scope you want."

This story, "Canonical wants to shill for Amazon on Ubuntu users' desktops," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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