Thursday, 15 February 2018

Re: More diagnostics data from desktop


On 15/02/18 10:05, Will Cooke wrote:
> On 14 February 2018 at 18:37, Alistair Buxton <
> <>> wrote:
> > * Information from the installation would be sent over HTTPS to a service
> > run by Canonical's IS team.  This would be saved to disk and sent on first
> > boot once there is a network connection.  The file containing this data
> > would be available for the user to inspect.
> So you ask the user during install. Then the data is sent on first
> boot. At what point can the user inspect the data, given that some of
> it can't be collected until after installation is finished? It seems
> like the first opportunity will be after it has been sent, unless you
> ask the user a second time. So why not just ask them on first boot,
> when you have already gathered all the data? That way user can inspect
> the data there and then before deciding how to answer.
> Yes, I think the first opportunity would be after it has been sent.  I'm
> generally against asking more questions on login though, I think it
> would be clunky.

Am I reading it correctly that you will allow the user to see what data
had been gathered from the system only _after_ it has been sent? That
comes across as needlessly sneaky.

Surely it could be deferred until the after the user has had the
opportunity to agree properly?

As an existing implementation, the Steam client has a perfectly good way
of doing this - it pops up a dialogue box, asks whether it can send
system data, shows the data that would be sent, and explains why it is
useful and why you should consider allowing it.

On 14/02/18 15:22, Will Cooke wrote:
> Any user can simply opt out by unchecking the box, which triggers one
> simple POST stating, "diagnostics=false".

This doesn't scan right either - you're collecting data about someone
opting out of data collection?

I can see the reasons behind collecting data but let's not make the
collection process needlessly aggressive. That's just going to make
people defensive and find ways of disabling/avoiding it entirely (e.g.
network blocks) instead of considering how it can help Ubuntu in the

An overly-aggressive approach also makes it much more difficult for
other projects to implement statistics collection without users equating
it with user tracking/telemetry/spying/etc. and complaining vociferously
(even without any real understanding of what the process means - just
the presence of the words "data collection" is enough to generate an
awful lot of noise).