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09 March 2012, 13:13

Ubuntu 12.04 to ship with enhanced privacy controls

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Ubuntu Logo Ubuntu 12.04 will ship with new privacy controls for the Zeitgeist event logger. Zeitgeist is the program that runs in the background of Ubuntu's Unity desktop environment collecting statistics on how users interact with their computers and offering suggestions based on most-used items and applications using machine-learning techniques.

The Ubuntu developers have integrated the functionality of Zeitgeist's Activity Log Manager into Ubuntu's System Settings application to give users an easy to use interface that controls what information is being logged by the system. The Activity Log Manager was originally developed by the Zeitgeist team, who also ported the code from Python to Vala so that it could be integrated in the System Settings application and Unity. Speaking to The H, Zeitgeist developer Seif Lotfy said that it was worrying him to see the Zeitgeist functionality being branded as spyware. "I wanted to change that", he said, "that is why we gave users the ability to control what Zeitgeist is logging."

The new functionality will be available in Ubuntu when version 12.04 of the distribution ships to users, which is currently scheduled for 26 April. Users of Linux distributions which use the GNOME 3 desktop are not affected by this change, as currently, the GNOME 3 environment does not include Zeitgeist.

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