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When installing Ubuntu server I saw that cloud-init created an SSH key for me. Why did it do this? Did this key get uploaded to any server or did it stay on my local machine for my personal use?

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Welcome to AskUbuntu,

Based on the documentation for cloud-init, the service configures the following items during installation:

  • setting a default locale
  • setting hostname
  • generate ssh private keys
  • adding ssh keys to user's .ssh/authorized_keys so they can log in
  • setting up ephemeral mount points

Canonical does not collect any data from people during the installation of Ubuntu Server or Ubuntu Desktop. After installation of Ubuntu Desktop, people have the option to elect to send some system information to Canonical so that their development teams can ensure the hardware that people most commonly use are properly tested with each release, but that is all. None of the hundreds of Ubuntu Server installations I have made over the last decade or so have uploaded anything without my knowledge or consent.

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