The package is called
canonical-census and is installed on Ubuntu machines from OEMs only (i.e., Dell and such); in other words, regular manual installations will not receive this package. The package contains a Python program which pings Canonical on a daily basis so that they can keep track of the amount of OEM machines.
/var/lib/ubuntu_dist_channel), the machine product name, and a counter how many pings were sent.
The program is added to the daily cron jobs. This way, Canonical can keep track of the number of OEM installs, as well as keep an eye on how many of those installs remain active over time - or if they're wiped clean in favour of something else (Windows, another Linux distribution). This information is obviously of value to OEMs too.
Obviously, you can remove the package through a simple
sudo apt-get remove canonical-census. While the package looks benign enough, a dialog informing of this phoning home would be nice.