Friday, 18 May 2012

How-to: Enhance Privacy with Zeitgeist Activity Log Manager

"Activity Log Manager is a graphical user interface which lets you easily control what gets logged by Zeitgeist.

It supports setting up blacklists according to several criteria (such as application or file types), temporarily stopping all logging as well as deleting recent events."


Spyware, browser session tracking, cookies, browser history; ever think you're Rockwell?

"I always feel like, somebody's watching me... and I got no privacy. Oh-oh-oh."

That includes your operating system. Ubuntu now has the Zeitgeist framework, logging activity in order to support search. Logging pretty much everything. That can be helpful, providing quick access to documents and anything else we may have opened.But that can also be a problem, since anyone who gains access to your computer can potentially see all that activity as well. Except in Ubuntu 12.04, now the Zeitgeist Activity Log Manager puts you back in control.

Ubuntu has the Activity Log Manager user interface for the Zeitgeist event logger integrated into the System Settings application. This provides OS-wide privacy settings allowing you to delete portions of your activity log, disable logging altogether for certain files and applications, or completely disable activity logging across the board. You can now delete your activity log from the past hour, day, week, a specific date range, or everything stored on your computer (Recent Items tab).

Users can also choose to disable Ubuntu's logging of activity by type of activity - email, messaging, websites and so on, although you also have to disable particular applications' own logging to eliminate all history beyond the Zeitgeist activity log (Files tab).

You may prefer to blacklist individual applications against logging (Applications tab).

To disable all activity logging on the computer, users can simply turn off the “Record Activity” switch.

Zeitgeist developer Seif Lotfy was worried to see the Zeitgeist functionality being branded as spyware and so, being one of the good guys, gave users the ability to control what Zeitgeist is logging. Well done! RC