Ubuntu should have just kept quiet (even if the post does not necessarily represent the views of Ubuntu, Canonical or any others involved in this project, forever more, IDST; he still is a public presence for it), and let it burn itself out. It wouldn't have gone away, not completely, but they've made the issue bigger now.
RMS says things, that's what he does. He's committed to a very specific path in life and that's okay. Ubuntu as a project needs to have a revenue stream to survive, and from what I've read Canonical makes some reasonably decent money from private enterprise and so on, so they probably don't need the revenue stream all that bad.
I personally have no issues with the idea of affiliate links being embedded, it actually sounds like a nice idea to hack into Alfred so when I want a movie it'll check Amazon/iTunes/so on for it, but it needs to be made clear.
For those concerned about this being a HUGE security breach, have you audited the source? It's available online. Does it confirm your suspicions that Amazon is tracking everything search? The code is there, so if it's acting as spyware it's hardly the most secretive way of doing it.
Well, auditing it would show what data is being sent where, and when. Unless of course we assume that the source published for th global search lens is in some way not what's being shipped. That'd be a whole other kettle o fish.
I think it's pretty obvious what it sends - or rather, the obvious stuff is enough to bother some people when the feature defaults to on.
They're saying they'd search for "Joe Random - Resignation Letter - FooCorp.doc" trying to find the latest copy they'd written and when that was sent to Amazon as a product search it would leak private information.
So I take it you've reviewed the source? Sat and watched a packet stream? The thing is I've heard lots of complaints about it infringing privacy, but not from someone who's also reviewed the source, it's all just second hand information.