When you search the Web, within the results of your queries, advertisers pay search engines for clicks and impressions of ads and sponsored results. Some engines share that revenue with us and help keep Linux Mint free.
How do sponsors know that I'm using Linux Mint?
What information is collected?
How is the information used?
Do I have the option of preventing this information collection? If so, how do I prevent it?
There is a legal requirement in nearly all western, industrialised nations for information collection to be transparent, which means if Linux Mint is alerting sponsors to the fact that I'm using Mint and not being up front in telling me this then there is a high likelihood that laws in various countries are being broken. The fundamental question here is:
Is Linux Mint's transfer of information to sponsors transparent or not? And if not, what is going to be done about it?
Mint's web search engine web page (http://www.linuxmint.com/searchengines.php) only implies that information is being collected and used, and this is after the fact; that is, people find out about it only by trying to add a new search engine, and even then the collection and sharing of information is only implied, not stated, and the information they are given is totally inadequate to allow them to make informed decisions about their information. It is not sufficient to imply data collection and use, especially after the fact.
And finally, the reason for raising this issue:
Is there a risk to Linux Mint's revenue stream if Linux Mint is breaking the laws of various countries by not stating upfront anything about the information being collected? If so, what is the nature of that risk and how can it be avoided?
For those who don't understand the issue, this is not about "supporting Linux Mint" or "getting a liitle bit of revenue for Linux Mint." It's about privacy and knowing what information is collected, how its used, how its collection can be prevented, and people being made sufficiently aware so they can make informed decisions about their participating in the scheme or not.