← Back to team overview

unity-design team mailing list archive

Ubuntu's Internet-Connection-Behavior needs addressing in "System Settings > Privacy"


I'd like to see some settings created in "System Settings > Privacy" that address privacy from an Internet-Connection-Behavior standpoint. Essentially, the creation of some mechanism whereby users would be able to configure Ubuntu so that nonessential internet connections do not occur unless specifically called-for by the user (e.g., by manually starting up an "internet only" app like Firefox). Many "local" events (e.g., like the user playing an MP3 file or a video file that is stored locally on the harddrive) are resulting in the establishment of an internet connection. The reason for the internet connection might be for a "valid" reason (e.g., to download cover art for the MP3 file), but it is not "essential." And this connection can often be unwanted by the user. Sometimes configuration of the application establishing the connection can solve the problem. But not always. Furthermore, the user is often unaware the connection is being made.

The current state of System Settings > Privacy seems to focus solely on the localhost machine's logging behavior. But what about the Log Behavior of the servers that the localhost connects to? The logs on the user's machine (especially on a 
machine that is "locked down") are of less privacy concern than the logs that 
are created on internet servers, which the user does not control. 

The goal of the Internet-Connection-Behavior privacy settings would be to reduce outbound internet connections for privacy reasons. It would also have an additional benefit of being useful for addressing Mobile Broadband Usage Limit scenarios. There has been discussion of NETWORK ZONE behavior in the wikis. Perhaps something along the lines of a Privacy Zone could be created?

Such a privacy setting would be very beneficial to users' privacy. It would also help address problems like this bug where the Video Lens establishes unwanted internet connections even when the user has filtered only for "Local Videos": https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/unity-lens-video/+bug/939140 

Internet Connection Behavior is a major portal for privacy issues. It would be nice to have some "privacy settings" that address this portal and give users some control over it.

Follow ups