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back to article USER-TRACKING Firefox sparks Mozilla civil war

Mozilla coders are arguing among themselves about the open-source outfit's Metrics Data Ping project, which was designed to monitor Firefox usage metrics. Several coders in the Mozilla camp have expressed concern about how some developers are proposing the project should collect data from users of the browser. "It seems as if we …

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FAIL

Ironic

that Chrome not only already does this, but logs ALOT more besides....

I wonder how many Chrome users know much much data Google is collecting about their surfing habits???

Me, I don't give a toss, as both products are lame compared to Opera.

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Anonymous Coward

No it doesn't - that's FUD

Chrome quite clearly gives you the option during install and any time after of allowing browsing stats.

In fact if you turn off the omnibar features then stats aren't sent back to Google at all if you aren't logged in.

In this respect Google respected privacy extremely well - go look at the source code - it is available. Or use Chromium if you still don't trust them.

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DJV

Bucksch and Sivonen are right

If people get it into their heads that Mozilla is collecting more information than they think they should then they will jump browser, and that's something Mozilla can ill afford at the moment. The fact that most people are jumping to Chrome which probably collects more info is "interesting".

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Too right

Privacy is the main reason why I favor Firefox over Chrome. If Firefox does go down the UUID path then it is time for me to look at the other open source alternatives.

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Silver badge
Stop

Bugger

What other browser has equivalent security to NoScript, BetterPrivacy, and HTTPS-Everywhere, and does NOT collect this kind of data?

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Doesn't SRWare Iron have all these? Or close enough equivalents anyway...

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Not to mention Ghostery, User Agent Swticher, GoogleSharing, TrackMeNot and OptimizeGoogle...

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Anonymous Coward

Oh, I believe you.

"I stated there that I believe there must be a level of trust and expectation that we will do what we say we will do with the data, and not attempt to deceive the user and attempt to store IP address or personal information."

At this moment in time.

While it's, you know, _you_ doing the job. And all the same people who currently work with you.

And the law stays as it is. In every country you have people or boxen in or route through.

And your company doesn't change track or get bought.

And your security stays 100...one hun...cough...100% perf...perf...100% perfect (sorry, dreadful stutter I'm developing).

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Silver badge

Internal debate is good

What's the internal debate in the Chocolate Factory?

- We need a unique user ID, a list of all URLs visited, the time they were visited, and the geo location of the user.

- Yes boss.

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Silver badge

Chocolate Factory Debate, continued

- No wait, boss...

- Yes?

- Shouldn't we also try to make sure we have their real name, and not just some online pseudonym?

- Good point.

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Isn't this an opt-in thing?

If so, at least you get a choice... Unlike a smartphone that won't allow you to use GPS until you've consented (broken concept, try "unfairly coerced") into somebody somewhere tracking you...

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Anonymous Coward

RTFA. They're proposing to make this opt-out, not opt-in.

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Telemetry and metrics daily ping are two separate projects

There are two separate data collection projects that have been mentioned in this article: Telemetry and metrics daily ping.

As was stated in the article, Telemetry was introduced in fall 2011. Telemetry collects non personally identifiable information such as start-up time and memory consumption. (You can view the data collected by Telemetry via the about:telemetry add-on https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/abouttelemetry/.) Mozilla respects user privacy. Telemetry is an opt-in solution, which means that you specifically need to click to enable data collection.

The proposed metrics daily ping is a separate solution from Telemetry that is still being flushed out. The data to be included in this proposed solution is what is being debated on the Mozilla dev.planning mailing list.

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Silver badge

"... still being flushed out."

I suggest "flushed away" is a more appropriate term, for both features. Making metrics ping opt-out is sneaky and adding a UUID to Telemetry is even more sneaky.

I understand I can avoid both features, but I'd rather not have to wonder, every time Firefox is updated, what they've slipped in this time. Trust? Not any more.

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There is no plan or proposal to add any sort of UUID to Telemetry. The article confused discussion of the implementation of Telemetry last year with the public discussion of the metrics ping currently happening.

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@deinspanjer

Yes, I see that the article confused me. I followed the link provided in the article and read the whole of the discussion. This doesn't change my view - in fact the proposal is less desirable than I thought - metrics ping has UUID plus opt-out.

The main impression I got from reading the discussion was that the data is needed to find out why people stop using Firefox. There may be many reasons for that but for me it would be, as I said in my previous post, because I could no longer trust it (or had to spend too much time checking on settings to ensure nothing had slipped in). Not there yet, but getting closer.

I won't join in the arguments, but I think the following post from Ben Bucksch says what I feel :

"I claim that Firefox is so incredibly popular in Europe (compared to US, and despite Chrome being technically better) because of mainly philosophical reasons, one of them being privacy. And you are destroying them with this project, running a serious risk of *actively decreasing* market share. "

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Facepalm

I would have thought that, given current trends, Mozilla would be carefully trying to avoid more ways of shooting itself in the foot. Guess I was overly optimistic.

(Yes, I am still using Firefox, but the bad taste in my mouth gets worse each day.)

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Anonymous Coward

Some of the developers are pretty arrogant

I stopped using firefox when they decided that even if you had gone to the trouble of creating an rss stylesheet and linked it they would still make you use the built in FF one.

There was much debate over it but the developers explanation was .... other developer's RSS stylesheets suck ours will always be better - very Steve-like!

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