The privacy section should be renamed, oneiric users think confidential data is sent because there is no option to inhibit this

Reported by Aurélien RIVIERE on 2012-03-28
46
This bug affects 7 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Activity Log Manager
Undecided
Unassigned
Ayatana Design
Undecided
Unassigned
activity-log-manager (Ubuntu)
Low
Unassigned

Bug Description

Some users think that confidential data are sent in Oneiric because of the new option Privacy (at least in the french community).
So this option should be renamed, by instance by Indexing, to show that it permit to configure file indexing and softwares, and not to inhibit data sending through the network to Canonical by instance.

summary: The privacy section should be renamed, oneiric users think confidential
- data are sent because there is no option to inhibit this
+ data is sent because there is no option to inhibit this
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in activity-log-manager (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Sebastien Bacher (seb128) wrote :

Thank you for your bug report, it's a weak argument though, it's like saying "privacy" should be renamed in firefox because users assume it's about sending your personnal infos to mozilla ... why would normal users assume that "privacy" is about anything else than privacy? that seems rather stretched forum assumption than a issue for most users

Changed in activity-log-manager (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Low
Colin Law (colin-law) wrote :

I don't think the problem is so much the use of the word privacy but that the wording in Privacy settings is rather brief and open to misinterpretation. For example in the Recent Items tab it says
"Every time a file or an application is used, some information can be stored. This activity can be used to retrieve files during searches or as history in applications"
To an uninitiated user it is not clear where the information is being stored, off on the internet somewhere perhaps? The phrase "this activity can be used to retrieve files during searches" suggests the possibility of a third party somewhere searching through your files. It sounds like the sort of wording used in the small print of a contract. In fact if that sentence is read carefully it does not actually make sense,
I think the whole thing could be made much clearer if there were a few sentences giving the background to what this is all about, explaining that the information is for the use of the PC user and that the it is stored on the PC and is not sent off anywhere.

This is compounded by the wording on the Diagnostics tab that states:
"Ubuntu can collect anonymous information that helps developers to improve it". Apparently there is no option to prevent this information from being collected and sent off. When the Privacy Policy button is clicked this takes one off to the website where it talks about how Canonical will use your personal information, which does not give the right impression at all.

I understand personally that there is not a privacy issue here, but to a less informed individual this may not be clear at all and may lead him/her to think that he is being snooped on.

Bruno Girin (brunogirin) wrote :

To add to Colin's comments, here are a few suggestions for improvement on the privacy settings screen:

The "Recent Items", "Files" and "Applications" tabs all deal with data that is stored locally for indexing, while the "Diagnostics" tab is the only one that deals with data that can potentially be sent to Canonical. This should be clarified.

The wording on the first tab is very vague:
"Forget activities:
Every time a file or an application is used, some information can be stored. This activity can be used to retrieve files during searches or as history in applications"

A more precise wording could help clarify (avoid using "can", replace the vague "activity" by "data", explain the indexing and clarify that it is stored locally), such as:
"Every time a file or an application is used, some data is stored and indexed on your own computer. This data is then used to retrieve files during searches or as history in applications."

You could then expand on this (not sure how correct the following is but you get the gist):
"This indexed data helps speed up searches and find recently used documents again but it uses a certain amount of disk space and could provide valuable information on your activity should your computer become lost or stolen. Ubuntu allows you to decide how much is logged."

On the File tab, it would be good to explain the impact of checking any of the options: e.g. if I click "Image", does it mean that I will be unable to find images anymore, will it restrict image searches or just slow them down? At the moment, users are faced with 9 check boxes, some are obvious file types, some seem to be application types + an empty box below but have no way to understand what would be the impact of changing any of those settings.

Same comment for the Applications tab.

Also, it would be good to have consistent wording. The "Recent Items" tab talks of *storing* information or activity while the File tab says *record* activity and the Applications tab says *log* activity.

On the Diagnostics tab, make it clear that by default Ubuntu does not send any information to Canonical but that sending crash information is a great way to notify the developers of a problem so that it can get fixed and that it will not be used for any other purpose.

SteVe Cook (yorvyk) wrote :

The relationship of the two buttons in the Recent Items tab is baffling. Does the RH button save things for an hour, day, week, etc. or is that what the LH Delete History button deletes. They would be better side-by-side.

John Lea (johnlea) wrote :

"Privacy" is the standard word used for privacy settings in many, many application, so marking this bug as 'opinion'.

But please feel free to suggest any words you think would be in improvement on "Privacy".

Changed in activity-log-manager (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Opinion
Changed in ayatana-design:
status: New → Opinion
Changed in activity-log-manager:
status: New → Opinion
Colin Law (colin-law) wrote :

I think this bug is about much more than just the word Privacy, it has extended to cover various aspects of the privacy settings dialog. If my memory is correct there was a discussion on the Ayatana design email list and the suggestion there was to add comments to this report for consideration.
Hopefully the design team has or will consider the (hopefully constructive) points above and the fact that it has been marked as Opinion does not mean that it will just be quietly forgotten.

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