I think that the downsides to having data collection software is fairly self-evident. I also think that people brought up the downsides the first time Zeitgeist was announced a couple years ago.
I hope that everybody keeps in mind that if a attacker wants to gather information on your Linux desktop activities there exists almost nothing to stop him if he is able to get into your user account. Zeitgeist may simplify things a bit, but only slightly. Not having it running or installed isn't really going to help you out much against malicious software tracking you, recording your activities, and finding historical data.
If the Linux desktop was secure against malicious or untrusted software then having Zeitgeist wouldn't be much of a problem, since it would be a simple thing to lock it's data away from prying eyes.
(although this is a bit of a stretch:) In the long run it may end up making things easier to secure because instead of having browsers and other applications keep track of their histories in various databases throughout your home directory then they can depend on Zeitgeist to keep track of it for them and thus you can harden your historical databases easier.
I am not saying that turning it off or not wanting it installed is a perfectly valid desire. It certainly is. So don't misunderstand me here. It's something that needs to be really thought out well before pushing it on everybody by default.
On a side note:
All sorts of fun stuff like that exist I suppose. If employers want to spy on employees on machines owned and operated by the employers I expect that there exists ample opportunity and lots of potential for software to allow that. Same as malicious software on vulnerable Linux desktops.
Copyright © 2017, Eklektix, Inc.
Comments and public postings are copyrighted by their creators.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds