... is people not really paying attention to the facts.
* This has been repeatedly stated to be an experiment in an alpha (i.e. testing only) release
* Revenue gathering from the choice of search engine is nothing new (it's the main way Firefox generates revenue for Mozilla Corp)
* The data gathered is which of the search boxes you use (the default firefox UI lets you search from the search bar, in the URL bar and the default homepage).
So basically this seems to be an experiment to figure out which of the search methods people are using most.
(disclaimer: I work for Canonical as a sysadmin. I'm not a developer and I don't work on Ubuntu directly, so I was not in any way involved in the planning/implementation of this, and I speak here only for myself as an Ubuntu user who's dismayed at the anger people are unbottling with little information)