SOLVED Spyware and Tracking

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tweetybird
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SOLVED Spyware and Tracking

Post by tweetybird » Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:56 pm

Having limited knowledge with Linux there are some questions about the topic. There is one known distribution which required the user to opt out of tracking and must have come upon the community as a real shock of betrayal to the very principles of Linux.
This occurred a few years ago granted but I came to Linux to protect myself from Windows data mining and a more efficient running OS and surprised to hear this transpired recently.

Are all Linux Mint distributions free of this activity? What about the installed apps?

Thank you
Last edited by tweetybird on Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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catweazel
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Re: Spyware and Tracking

Post by catweazel » Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:54 am

tweetybird wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:56 pm
Are all Linux Mint distributions free of this activity? What about the installed apps?
A simple search of the forum would have revealed that Mint doesn't have the issue. It's been discussed at length here. As for installed apps, well, it's a case of caveat emptor, as it always is on any OS that allows you to install third-party applications.
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Faust
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Re: Spyware and Tracking

Post by Faust » Tue Oct 02, 2018 2:59 am

tweetybird wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:56 pm
...... There is one known distribution which required the user to opt out of tracking and must have come upon the community as a real shock of betrayal to the very principles of Linux.
......

Are all Linux Mint distributions free of this activity? What about the installed apps?
.....
Any OS that has an update facility is going to show some kind of " phone home " activity when connected to the internet .
That may also extended to any apps installed on the system .

Is it spyware or tracking ? ... Does the user have total control over that activity ?

In the case of nearly all GNU/Linux distros I have used , the answer is "no" to the first question , and "yes" to the second .
But when it comes to MS systems , all bets are off .
The amount of telemetry going on is vast , so the answer is probably "yes" to the first question and "maybe/debatably" to the second

It is an easy task to monitor all of your network traffic , but much less easy to analyse all of it ( of course ) .

But as a simple one-line answer ....
No , your GNU/Linux OS is not spying on you , and any "tracking" is done purely for the benefit of keeping your system secure ,
with timely updates .
" And so it goes " - Kurt Vonnegut
The modern reality and the satirical parody are rapidly converging .

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Re: Spyware and Tracking

Post by gm10 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:35 am

tweetybird wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:56 pm
betrayal to the very principles of Linux.
There is no such principle. You'll get tracked on Linux just the same as on Windows. As mentioned above, most of the Ubuntu base's tracking has been disabled in Mint but applications you install will potentially still track you like they always do, there is no built-in safeguard against that. The only Linux-specific thing is that you can check the source code and compile from source yourself to know exactly what your software is doing.

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Re: Spyware and Tracking

Post by Pjotr » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:41 am

I wouldn't worry about your Linux OS. As has been explained to you.

Do worry however, worry a lot, about the settings of your web browsers. Most of them have default settings for privacy and tracking that are plain horrible.
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Re: Spyware and Tracking

Post by Moem » Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:42 am

gm10 wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:35 am
You'll get tracked on Linux just the same as on Windows.
By the applications, yes; by the OS, no (depending on which exact OS). So this is at most partially true, since we know that Win10 has lots of tracking and Mint does not.

OP, choose your browser carefully and do the same with your browser's add-ons. That makes a lot of difference. Also, consider using a VPN.
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Re: Spyware and Tracking

Post by gm10 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:46 am

Moem wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:42 am
gm10 wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:35 am
You'll get tracked on Linux just the same as on Windows.
By the applications, yes; by the OS, no (depending on which exact OS). So this is at most partially true,
It becomes fully true if you keep it within the context of the post I made... :|

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Re: Spyware and Tracking

Post by Moem » Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:58 am

The post as a whole argues against itself. "You'll get tracked on Linux just the same as on Windows" yet "most of the Ubuntu base's tracking has been disabled in Mint". Those statements are in disagreement, if only because the second one states that tracking within Linux-based OSses can differ a lot, so how can all of it be the same as tracking on Windows?

Nevertheless, it seems that we are mostly in agreement: tracking on Linux differs a lot from tracking on Windows, when we look at tracking from the OS itself. When we look at tracking through applications, it depends on those applications and not on the OS.
Chrome on Linux will track you just the same as Chrome on Windows. If that's what you meant, then we do agree.
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Re: Spyware and Tracking

Post by gm10 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:29 am

Moem wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:58 am
The post as a whole argues against itself. "You'll get tracked on Linux just the same as on Windows" yet "most of the Ubuntu base's tracking has been disabled in Mint". Those statements are in disagreement, if only because the second one states that tracking within Linux-based OSses can differ a lot, so how can all of it be the same as tracking on Windows?
Both Windows OS and applications can track you.
Both Linux OS and applications can track you.

You can disable or block tracking on Windows, with the exception of some online-only binary-only applications.
You can disable or block tracking on a Linux OS, with the exception of some online-only binary-only applications.

The rest would be an argument about semantics - clearly it's not the "same" since those are dissimilar operating systems even if many of the applications are the same - and about what tracking constitutes - you'll never go online without getting your activity tracked in some way no matter your operating system - and finally what a Linux OS in general looks like - I was taking the consumer approach here of an online-enabled Linux distribution.

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Re: Spyware and Tracking

Post by Moem » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:37 am

gm10 wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:29 am
Moem wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:58 am
The post as a whole argues against itself. "You'll get tracked on Linux just the same as on Windows" yet "most of the Ubuntu base's tracking has been disabled in Mint". Those statements are in disagreement, if only because the second one states that tracking within Linux-based OSses can differ a lot, so how can all of it be the same as tracking on Windows?
Both Windows OS and applications can track you.
Both Linux OS and applications can track you.
They can. But do they?
About the applications, we are in agreement.
Windows itself does; Mint itself does not. So 'you can get tracked just the same', I would agree with. But 'you will get tracked just the same'... no.

(I've not quoted the rest of your post because I agree with all of that.)
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Re: Spyware and Tracking

Post by gm10 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:48 am

Moem wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:37 am
They can. But do they?
About the applications, we are in agreement.
Windows itself does; Mint itself does not. So 'you can get tracked just the same', I would agree with. But 'you will get tracked just the same'... no.
I don't think the general user separates applications from operating system. It's not even an easy distinction to make. Some of the Ubuntu controversy was about their software store tracking user activity. Is that application or operating system? It runs under the user's context so I'd say an application. Yet the argument was made against Ubuntu as the operating system I suppose because the store came with it. Mint comes with a range of applications pre-installed, quite possibly the user sees them as part of Mint.

But even in a system context, Mint is still contacting Ubuntu in various ways, so we'd have to discuss what constitutes tracking. And mind you, my point to being with wasn't even that Mint is tracking you, only mentioning this because we're picking this apart now.
Last edited by gm10 on Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Spyware and Tracking

Post by Moem » Tue Oct 02, 2018 6:55 am

Fair enough; let's leave it at that, because we could dig deeper into this but then we're getting off the scope of this question.
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Re: SOLVED Spyware and Tracking

Post by Hoser Rob » Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:05 am

tweetybird wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 6:56 pm
.... There is one known distribution which required the user to opt out of tracking ...
I think you mean Ubuntu, and they're collecting user hardware data. I would not compare this to Google or others that are much worse. And the Ubuntu user data collecting is using open source code, which makes a big difference. No, Mint doesn't do this. They don't need to, they rely on Ubuntu except for LMDE.

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Re: Spyware and Tracking

Post by tweetybird » Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:04 pm

Yes I do mean Ubuntu. It's my understanding 16.04LTS and later distro's Canonical now gives the user the option to turn off tracking. Is that correct?

Sorry to the forum. I did not do a Search first for this topic. Will do that in the future before posting. It's in the Rules and Guidelines which I did not read. :shock:

:D

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Re: Spyware and Tracking

Post by gm10 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:29 pm

tweetybird wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 5:04 pm
Yes I do mean Ubuntu. With 16.04LTS and later distro's the issue has been addressed and now the user can turn off this activity. Is that correct?
Mostly. Some are well hidden:

viewtopic.php?p=1522610#p1522610

:)

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Re: SOLVED Spyware and Tracking

Post by lsemmens » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:43 pm

Slightly OT but, seriously, unless you are visiting norty sites, what is the concern about tracking in the OS unless you are getting targetted advertising based on your hardware, i.e. not based on the programs used which, in one way or another MAY contain tracking algorithms. With Windwoes the OS is inherently insecure and, as such can be modified by many outside sources, however, if you practice safe surfing habits (which is a minefield in the M$ proudct) you are unlikely to let any nasties gain a foothold. Linux, being WAAAAAY more secure means that you are even less likely to unintentionally let the nasties through, so there is no real problem. Of course, if you are totally paranoid, you could only log on using Tails which, I believe, is locked down so tight, you can't even break wind whilst using it.
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Re: SOLVED Spyware and Tracking

Post by DAMIEN1307 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:59 pm

when it comes to spying or tracking, its not just about what is incoming, it especially about what is outgoing to who knows to whom or where...DAMIEN
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Re: SOLVED Spyware and Tracking

Post by rickNS » Wed Oct 03, 2018 12:29 am

Probably the biggest offender in this category is google.
Not only the web tracking, data mining, but apparently your deleted gmails are never actually deleted. Physical location tracking on smart devices has to be turned off twice.
https://globalnews.ca/news/4386516/turn ... g-feature/

In the grand scheme of things I wouldn't worry much about Ubuntu. Also if your not searching for "bad things", probably not much to worry about. It is however, I admit, somewhat unnerving just how MUCH data, google for instance wants and keeps stored about it's users. Do they really need to keep every youtube comment ? Who they selling that to ? Do they need to save every piece of spam you've received, that is ridiculous times 10.
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