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Zeitgeist news round up: Security, data sources and timey-wimey stuff

What’s been happening in the Zeitgeist project of late? Let’s take a quick look…

Safer data

Zeitgeist collects a tonne of data on what you do and when you do it. Kind of like personal spyware. And this similarity is not lost on the team, with Zeitgeist creator, developer and general dude supreme Seif Lotfy telling me: -

“The goal is for Zeitgeist to lose all the security compromises which make it a potential spyware to a personal service “myware”.”

Computer security researcher Jacob Appelbaum – a guy who seriously knows his stuff – pointed out the pitfalls inherent in the current set up of Zeitgeist ina bug filed a few weeks back, in which he suggests that the Zeitgeist database – where all of the useful data is kept – should be encrypted by default.

“I think that Zeitgeist should encrypt databases in ~/.local/share/zeitgeist/* for anti-forensics reasons.

While someone may happen to use an encrypted disk, Zeitgeist may serve as the ultimate accidental spyware to an unsuspecting user.

In theory, a user will never know that this encryption/decryption is happening – no underlying assumptions about the disk need to be made to maintain any security guarantees. This should prevent anyone from learning the contents of the database without also learning the login password.”

And the great news for anyone suddenly worried is that work on providing an encrypted database is pretty much done, with Zeitgeist developer ~jplacerda (more on him in a second) reporting today that ‘all that remains is packaging.’

Revisiting the past

As if jplacerda wasn’t working hard enough on the above feature he’s also been building some awesome timey-wimey features into Zeitgeist’s recently-launched Activity Log Manager.

Activity Log Manager

The feature means that whether it’s your first time using Zeitgeist, or you’ve simply done a fresh install, you can call on the Activity Log Manager to scan your files and retrieve information from them that will be of use to Zeitgeist.

So now, rather than having to wait for Zeitgeist to build up information after an install it can do it instantly on stuff you already have!

Read more on this @jpaflacerda.wordpress.com

Data Sources 0.8 released

Last in this list is the news that the Zeitgeist Team have announced the release of zeitgeist-datasources 0.8.0

The Data-Sources package contains numerous additional application add-ons and extensions that enable Zeitgeist to log activities that happen within them – making Zeitgeist more useful to you, and to applications that make use of its data.

Some extensions included in Data-sources include: -

  • Eye of GNOME
  • Gedit Text editor
  • Totem Movie player
  • Chrome web browser
  • Firefox 4.0
  • XChat

Datasources can be found on Launchpad @ launchpad.net/zeitgeist-datasources