Ubuntu disables app logging for privacy

Liam Tung | Mar 12, 2012 5:39 PM
Moves towards a clean slate.

Internet freedom actiivist group the Electronic Frontier Foundation has welcomed a move allowing users to delete log activity for GNOME applications in the latest update to the Ubuntu operating system.

The new feature, available in the current beta of Ubuntu 12.04, will allow users to disable activity logging for some Linux applications, potentially preventing thieves with physical access to a computer from pilfering user files.

It would also allow users to disabe activity logging for specific applications, or all compatible apps together.

"Keep in mind that these settings only apply to the GNOME activity log. Many other parts of your operating system log things by default and that logging needs to be disabled separately, if it is possible at all," EFF web developer Micah Lee wrote in a blog post detailing the move.

He added Firefox and Chrome web browsers as examples of applications not prone to the new disable feature.

Those apps keep a log of all websites visited by default, along with some instant messaging programs.

Adding the anti-logging features to non-GNOME software would most likely require special APIs to enable them to be informed about user preferences, Lee said.

"For now, you can now delete your GNOME activity log from the past hour, day, week, a specific date range, or everything stored on your computer," he wrote.

"We hope that Ubuntu and other projects will be in this for the long haul."

Ubuntu 12.04 will be released April 26.