During installation of Ubuntu 18.04, after the runtime environment is enabled, and during the first login, a question pops up asking whether you want to Help Improve Ubuntu.

enter image description here

(Screenshot is from the 18.04 first-login "Welcome" process)

If you say yes, then a brief report is sent to Canonical describing basic characteristics of your system such as Processor type (AMD or i386), screen resolution and the default desktop environment. Nothing very intrusive.

This helps Canonical get an accurate count of installations and such. And they ask it so obviously and politely that I decided that "It's not a bug - it's a feature" and is OK by me.

So I said yes but now I have changed my mind due to the reporting that suggests that Canonical will become the next Microsoft - but do not want to reinstall my system.

How can I turn this feature off?

  • As for 16.04, yes it does have a fairly unnoticeable opt-out checkbox during install that does pretty much the same thing. But 16.04 has proven to only send the information one time. So it is only getting noticed now because suddenly it is a big pop-up in the initial "Welcome" login session. And the onus is on us to know the implications of allowing it to do so. Hence this question about how to turn it off later. The security folks have been watching 16.04 and it does not send crash reports automatically. This may well become an issue in 18.04 later, though. – SDsolar Apr 24 at 14:37

There are at least four pieces of spyware installed by default on ubuntu 18.04 bionic and the accepted answer only really disables popcon.

Why ` ubuntu-report -f send no ` doesn't work

You didn't have to sudo it beacuse it doesn't set a system-global flag. The net effect of telling ubuntu-report not to send reports is twofold,

  1. It sends a report anyway. Admittedly, the opt-out version of the report just says {OptOut:true}, but it's still hitting the telemetry server, leaking your IP and HTTP headers.
  2. It saves your preference in your home folder, e.g. /home/yournamehere/.cache/ubuntu-report, which means every user on your system would need to run this command to stop the machine from phoning home.

What to do instead

  • Install offline, or block access to metrics.ubuntu.com and popcon.ubuntu.com on your router.
  • Remove the spyware using apt purge: sudo apt purge ubuntu-report popularity-contest apport whoopsie

Further reading

Questions on here:

Source code

Docker users rejoice

As of 30 April 2018, the ubuntu:bionic docker image at the docker hub does not include any of this stuff.

PSA

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

  • If you could add something about preventing those packages from being installed (they are depends of ubuntu-standard) in the beginning, this would make this post complete (it's very good already!) – Sebastian Stark May 4 at 10:49
up vote 6 down vote accepted

To opt-out of future telemetry reporting, issue the following command:

ubuntu-report -f send no

This command will send Canonical a brief message stating that your system is opting out of all future reporting. No other system data is sent.

Note that it still helps Canonical keep an accurate count of live installations.

Rather than simply appearing once in their records (a flash in the pan, or test installation) you will have notified them that your system is still running and that lack of future reports should be considered normal.

======================================================

Note that when you use the Software installation tool in Unity, that data is sent from your system as a part of their "Popularity Contest" - this has been happening since at least 14.04 LTS.

So I also put up a succinct answer to the old question about whether disabling that will hurt your system. (Short answer, no):

Removing popularity-contest without trashing the system?

Excerpt:

To remove the package entirely in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

sudo apt-get remove popularity-contest

Yes, it mentions ubuntu-standard in the removal dialog.
So look at this list:

Packages Related to ubuntu-standard (Ubuntu.com)

Notice that nano is included in the Ubuntu Standard list.

To verify that removing popularity-contest via this method has not hurt the system, try it out:

nano test.tmp

and you will see that nano still works fine.

In other words, removing the install stub left over from the initial installation of the Ubuntu Standard packages will not damage the system in other ways.


Final step: Remove the daily cron entry

sudo rm /etc/cron.daily/popularity-contest

For Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, the settings are still available after install, at any time, in the Activity Log Manager.

Here are some screenshots of it in action:

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

The very first screen shot shows the sending of information to Canonical.

The rest affect the size of your log files.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.