back to article Mozilla launches 'privacy edition' Firefox... that phones home

Mozilla popped out a new browser today, aimed at the privacy-aware mobile user. Somewhat ironically, it sends Mozilla user data by default: you’ll need to turn this off manually. FireFox Focus blocks ad trackers, analytics trackers and social network tracers by default, although some tracking is permitted. That can be disabled …

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Because Marissa asked them to.

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Are you sure it wasn't Clapper?

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Anonymous Coward

Not surprised.... More settings hidden away each release....

Its the small things that irk as you have to dedicate time to fiddling with these:

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......Javascript.enabled = false

......Permissions.default.image = 2 (talk about cryptic settings)

......Cookies default to Accept 3rd Party cookies - Always (C'mon!!!)

......Google strings must be blanked or Firefox likes to phone home to Mountainview.

......YouTube full-screen confirms are a PITA (the workarounds don't always work).

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Chrome vs. Firefox:

I miss how you can lock down Chrome JavaScript-Cookies-Images to certain sites only. With every other site defaulting to off / none. When you use this alongside Hosts file blocking (Flash-Java gone) you see few Ads & few drive-by-attacks etc.

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Re: Not surprised.... More settings hidden away each release....

Don't worry. NoScript is never far away.

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Re: Not surprised.... More settings hidden away each release....

Don't worry. NoScript is never far away.

And Privacy Badger. Don't forget the Badger!

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Re: Not surprised.... More settings hidden away each release....

And on Linux/Windows: Classic Theme Restorer as well as NoScript.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not surprised.... More settings hidden away each release....

Speaking of NoScript, I hope all the Freetards using it donated -- even just a lousy 10 quid!

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Anonymous Coward

IOS?

What about Firefox Focus on Android?

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At least . .

They tell you what they are collecting and open source the code so you can check. But yeah. They should have asked at install.

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That's a bit like Google saying "we don't read your Email" but still do it....

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Thumb Down

Quelle surprise

Andrew Orlowski using his editorial power to pursue a grudge, file next to any el reg articles with wikipeadia in the title ;)

To be fair, there is some irony in this mozilla 'privacy edition', however it is fully disclosed, and open source to boot. This is hardly the stuff of sinister conspiracy plots ... meh?!

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Re: Quelle surprise

indeed. plus I'd trust Phone home to Mozilla a million times more than the stuff it will hopefully block (and Google/MS/Apple as well, frankly)

Maybe that will change, and yeah perhaps a big "BTW we do this" on 1st start would have been a good idea.

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Re: Quelle surprise

Open source, but...

I bet it still uses Google Location Services - maybe someone who still gives a damn about Firefox can check? See http://www.ghacks.net/2015/03/04/mozilla-location-services-to-replace-googles-geolocation-service-in-firefox/

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Re: Quelle surprise

Point taken, but do you seriously consider the privacy invasion / snooping to be on a par with lets say windows 10, or any one of a gazillion android apps that want txt/email/phonebook access to provide the most basic unrelated function?

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Re: Quelle surprise

I do. If you compromise your principles once, you'll do it again. Indeed, this isn't Mozilla's only privacy sin; see AC's comment "Firefox, Mozilla Foundation" a few posts below...

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Awaiting moderation

Censorship?

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Generic web privacy policy in use

We watch everything you do to ensure your privacy.

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Re: Generic web privacy policy in use

well at least that way I'll get one person looking at my youtube channel.

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Anonymous Coward

Firefox, Mozilla Foundation

Yes, the Firefox code is, technically, open source. However, it has become so complex and convoluted as to be of little practical significance in terms of "read the source". For comparison, I can read and make sense of much of the Linux kernel source, but I'm hopeless at trying to figure out what should be even simple interactions in Firefox. And most browser users cannot read code at all.

But the real problem is not the quality or complexity of Firefox. The problem is the Mozilla Foundation, which while technically a non-profit, is run very much with a civil service sort of philosophy: we get free money thrown at us, keeps us in cushy jobs. As a result, you've got: a) management with an inflated sense of self-importance that does not match their actual competence, and b) developers who are either incompetent or lost all motivation through lack of incentive (see point 'a'), while both live in their own little bubble.

So, to answer the question of why phoning home is there and enabled by default: because the Mozilla Foundation *need* to know. As far as they are concerned, that is.

Plus they probably use those numbers to go around Silicon Valley asking for money and selling themselves as a platform for companies trying to push idiotic products out to a large number of users (cf. Hello and Pocket, or whatever those were called).

If they gave a turd about users or the open source community, they'd be working on Thunderbird (there are plenty of web browsers out there, but not many proper thick clients for email) or at least getting their bookmarks window fixed, allowing cookie manipulation in private mode, etc., all stuff that hasn't been seriously worked on for at least a decade, while they were pissing around with that Firefox OS and slapping third-party "integrations" into the browser.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Firefox, Mozilla Foundation

Feel free to fork the code and clean it up.

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Re: Firefox, Mozilla Foundation

"Yes, the Firefox code is, technically, open source."

More importantly, who's checking that the executable everyone downloads is actually built from the published source? Does Mozilla tell you what their exact build environment is, so that it can be verified?

Who's to say that the pre-built browser doesn't contain some extra features included "for the convenience of the user"?

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Re: Firefox, Mozilla Foundation

Agreed. The fact that Firefox is Open Source is only part of the story. Mozilla have completely lost their way and their reason for being. They were supposed to be the promoters of open standards and do exactly the opposite of evil data slurping, privacy defying entities. Now their behaviour is very hard to distinguish from those other "evil" organisations. They cosy up to those companies, they try and slurp as much data from their own users as they can, and they copy and emulate Google as much as possible. One of the main points is that they go around asking for money in the name of defending all those core principles, while nowadays they do almost nothing of the sort.

And yes, an improved Thunderbird with full support for ActiveSync, including calendar sharing and syncing, would make a massive difference to their users. There are virtually no other fat email and calendar clients capable of doing this, aside from MS Outlook. Promoting choice and freedom and all that. But Mozilla can't even remember what it was to give a hoot about their users.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Firefox, Mozilla Foundation

> And yes, an improved Thunderbird with full support for ActiveSync

Glad that you mentioned ActiveSync, because that reminds me of (plain) Sync, the Firefox bookmarks and stuff synchronisation thing, that's too half-arsed to actually work with a non-Mozilla server. What sort of open source API designer does crap like that? FFS, it's easier to use Amazon's S3 API with non-Amazon clouds than it is to use Sync with e.g., ownCloud (something which is downright impossible on mobile, btw).

Where do all those millions go?

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Anonymous Coward

Focus is just brilliant

Lightning fast, light, ad blocking and no crud left around to worry about in terms of cookies, etc.

Very nice, no matter what mobile OS you use.

And security options all set, except the upload of page problems to the devs.

If they gave the users the option of turning it on, none of us would.

But it's a bind because they need that data to make sure that the sites the users load are working, which given the amount of crap code out there that breaks in Firefox let alone other browsers, let alone anything running any script execution resistance, is no small thing. If they aren't taking more than they genuinely need to ensure the product works as intended, it's ok.

Given its the first release and Mozilla Foundation (not DataGrab Corp), that's slack I can cut them.

I turned it off, but have turned it on now to try to help.

Noone else gives you respect for privacy for free, why expect Mozilla to be perfect AND free from day one?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Focus is just brilliant

> Noone else gives you respect for privacy for free,

GNU/Linux.

> why expect Mozilla to be perfect AND free from day one?

They have been around for 13 years. They were cool for the first 3 years or so, then the mismanagement and delusions started.

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