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posted by martyb on Thursday August 24 2017, @02:54PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the choices dept.

Neowin has a brief warning that Mozilla plans to collect anonymized user data. The given reason is to better understand how people use Firefox. Perhaps the most alarming aspect of this plan is that it is opt-out rather than opt-in. This is very far from the early days of Firefox when it had previously touted privacy as one of its main advantages.

As stated in the Google Groups announcement thread, they intend to use RAPPOR:

RAPPOR is a novel privacy technology that allows inferring statistics about populations while preserving the privacy of individual users.

This repository contains simulation and analysis code in Python and R.

[...] Publications

Links

[Update @ 20170824_152224 UTC: fixed bad link to Google Groups thread.]


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:01PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:01PM (#558457)

    The second link in the summary should be to the Google Groups annoucement:

    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/mozilla.governance/ [google.com]

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by SomeGuy on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:20PM (12 children)

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:20PM (#558461)

    Here is a better idea, why don't you mozilla idiots actually go out in to the real world and see with your own eyes how users use it, and actually ASK people face to face how they think the browser could be better? There are still enough users you will get some volunteers.

    Ah, right, then they would not be able to hide behind some meaningless statistic software and fudge the numbers to justify things when marketing wants some bullshit added.

    • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:24PM (5 children)

      by Nerdfest (80) on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:24PM (#558462)

      Not defending them here, but people lie.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Spamalope on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:33PM

        by Spamalope (5233) on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:33PM (#558467) Homepage

        Yep. Give me a statement that you're not selling the data, product produced with the data or otherwise profiting with the data. If improvements to Firefox are the only reason to collect the data, that'll be easy to do.

        But like 'Free VPN' providers that are doing things like tracking which new 'net startups are gaining traction then selling that info to investment bankers, there is a back-end deal, isn't there?

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:38PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:38PM (#558470)

        Sure, but I don't think too many people lie about what they'd like out of a browser. Sure, few people are going to say "I just surf porn" but that doesn't matter. They can say "I stream videos" etc. Easy to build a non-invasive poll that does not reveal a user's precise usage.

        I agree with OP, just ask people for fuck's sake! But that doesn't matter, nowadays these "UI experts" think the data is paramount and making decisions for those poor dumb users is for their own good. I understand such motivations, but that is how we end up with a 10 minute song of silence that people pay actual fucking money for!!

        Swearing, scientifically proven to relieve pain :)

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bob_super on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:23PM (2 children)

          by bob_super (1357) on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:23PM (#558511)

          > nowadays these "UI experts" think the data is paramount and making decisions for those poor dumb users is for their own good

          I've been using Skype for a really long time to call my parents.
          Some asshole just decided that having a big green circle to tell them when I'm online, and a green phone and camera icons which start calls, was a bad idea. They replaced it with black-on-white stylized blobs, and they added a shit-ton of useless trendy socialmediaesque features. My mom can barely use it, especially not without her glasses. We may have to find her another solution.
          I'm sure some designer is very proud of being a sheep following terrible trends, and will totally not understand when his new shiny concept doesn't drive people away from fucking FB or Apple products (nah, that doesn't require rewording).

          Note that this implies there's a good deal of cash to take, by making UIs for people who need reading glasses.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @06:16PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @06:16PM (#558536)

            Should find an alternative if only to not go through MS servers.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @08:45PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @08:45PM (#558585)

              yep. act like a slave, get treated like a slave.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:35PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:35PM (#558468)

      why don't you mozilla idiots actually go out in to the real world and see with your own eyes how users use it, and actually ASK people face to face

      As I programmer I find this to be a very scary idea. If I wanted to meet people face to face I would leave my mom's basement.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:42PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:42PM (#558473)

        First documented case of honesty on this site? weird

    • (Score: 2) by nobu_the_bard on Thursday August 24 2017, @07:37PM

      by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Thursday August 24 2017, @07:37PM (#558553)

      Because then you end up with something like this happening: http://www.threepanelsoul.com/comic/know-your-audience [threepanelsoul.com]

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by driverless on Friday August 25 2017, @03:14AM (1 child)

      by driverless (4770) on Friday August 25 2017, @03:14AM (#558714)

      It's OK, Mozilla has been ignoring its users for years, so gathering data that they can ignore as well won't make any difference.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25 2017, @07:50AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25 2017, @07:50AM (#558766)

        Fun thing with statistics is that it can be interpreted.

        Developers: "We created this cool new way of doing the same thing, but people are still using the old way, so the new way must be made more prominent and the old way must be hidden in about:config or removed".

        Users: The new way is terrible and doesn't do what we want.

        Of course we agree that Mozilla doesn't want to listen to users, but collecting statistics allows them to do just that: Not listen to users.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25 2017, @07:42AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25 2017, @07:42AM (#558764)

      Problem is, if you ask, you get an answer.

      Such as "I like the old way of doing this, and I'd rather use Chrome than the new way".

      Where as with statistics, you can just see that people still use the old way, and so it becomes "the new way of doing this must be more prominent, and the old way must be hidden better or removed".

      As we have seen lately, the Mozilla people really loves the second version.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:24PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:24PM (#558465)

    I thought the Firefox "Health Report" was enabled by default anyway, or is that something specific to my distro?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25 2017, @04:01PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25 2017, @04:01PM (#558923)

      Yes, Firefox has been bad for privacy by default for a long time (at least since version 3, when they introduced the address bar that sends what you type in it to a third party search provider).

      There is a long list of about:config options you need to adjust in order to disable Firefox from sending information to third parties beyond what's normally required to use the web.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:36PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:36PM (#558469)

    building your own icbm at home in your spare time is not that difficult, thanks to our new ICBM Anywhere program!

    a large crate is shipped to your home under the guise of a new electronics suite, etc.

    once you open the box, you can suck my penis

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:40PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:40PM (#558472)

      So your penis is also contained in that box? Do you cut it off for this, or do you put yourself in that box?

      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @04:56PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @04:56PM (#558497)

        that's delicious!

      • (Score: 0, Troll) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday August 24 2017, @04:58PM (2 children)

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 24 2017, @04:58PM (#558499) Journal

        Even better, the box contains a scanning-tunneling electron microscopt so you can actually SEE his penis :D

        --
        I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
        • (Score: 0, Offtopic) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday August 25 2017, @04:52AM (1 child)

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Friday August 25 2017, @04:52AM (#558730) Homepage

          You must be the only other person other than Kathleen who's ever seen Rob Malda's micropenis.

          • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Friday August 25 2017, @04:33PM

            by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 25 2017, @04:33PM (#558946) Journal

            I'm only hypothesizing here. Based on the way the guy talks, my hypothesis is that *if* there is indeed one to be seen, the STM is our best bet to detect it. For science! Also lulz, but mostly science.

            --
            I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by ilsa on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:56PM (3 children)

    by ilsa (6082) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:56PM (#558479)

    If when the next update kicks in, they present a warning window with the option pre-clicked that I can then unclick, I don't have a problem with that. I've run into tons of applications that do just that.

    If they just do it and the only way for me to opt-out would be to search for the option, then that's... less than ideal.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by tangomargarine on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:02PM (1 child)

      by tangomargarine (667) on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:02PM (#558500)

      As of this release, Firefox no longer supports 90% of extensions and now we're spying on you.

      Are you sure you want to update to Firefox n+1? Y/N

      Is there a more strongly-worded rejection than "fuck off and die"?

      --
      "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
      • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:26PM

        by bob_super (1357) on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:26PM (#558512)

        "Your family's right there and their livelihood depends on whether you used 5 or 6 of my slots for shit tolerance. Do you feel lucky, punk?"

    • (Score: 2) by vux984 on Thursday August 24 2017, @06:35PM

      by vux984 (5045) on Thursday August 24 2017, @06:35PM (#558540)

      If when the next update kicks in, they present a warning window with the option pre-clicked that I can then unclick, I don't have a problem with that.

      Agree. *IF*

      But then the next update after that, and the one after that, and the one after that... those all better have that option set to whatever i set it to the first time as their default, because if every two weeks I have to specifically click somehting to tell Mozilla that I want to opt-out, that is NOT OK.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:56PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @03:56PM (#558480)

    So it was introduced in 2011, what has happened to firefox marketshare and general public opinion since? For an organization trying to be "data-driven", they don't seem to be listening to the data very much...

  • (Score: 4, Funny) by NateMich on Thursday August 24 2017, @04:19PM

    by NateMich (6662) on Thursday August 24 2017, @04:19PM (#558486)

    There are only three certainties in life:

    1. Death
    2. Taxes
    3. Mozilla doesn't give a shit what it's users want.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by crafoo on Thursday August 24 2017, @04:34PM (3 children)

    by crafoo (6639) on Thursday August 24 2017, @04:34PM (#558489)

    Can we use this to help kill Webbrowsers-as-OS? Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox are only begrudgingly giving users what they want. Can we use their hubris and arrogance to collapse the entire concept of over-complicated content browsers masquerading and shit-tier operating systems "for the web"? I think it's time we begin to think of all 3 as an infection and not as useful software. How can we attack their foundation? How can we undermine their push for telemetry, DRM in standards, and running a high-pressure sewage pipe spewing unverified javashit code to render what amounts to simple text and images?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:37PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:37PM (#558516)

      You win the internet today.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mcgrew on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:40PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:40PM (#558517) Homepage Journal

      I see the opposite problem: people installing apps for stuff like weather and news that you can get without an app wasting space on the device.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @06:20PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @06:20PM (#558538)

      I recently tried to use Kelly blue book, it was loading for over 30 seconds so I just left. Used to be simple and quick, I presume it was all the 3rd party api calls slowing shit down. Not sure what the solution would be, but "modern" web software is returning my computer the performance of the 90s.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by meustrus on Thursday August 24 2017, @04:47PM (6 children)

    by meustrus (4961) on Thursday August 24 2017, @04:47PM (#558492)

    Way back when I switched to Firefox 1, it was for one very simple feature: when you pressed the Stop button, everything stopped immediately. No waiting for requests to finish, no waiting for the UI to finish what it was doing, just a full stop, leave it exactly as it is and stop working. I was pissed at IE for spinning the full 5 minutes after I told it to stop trying, so this was my #1 killer feature. I was sold on Firefox.

    Fast forward a few major versions and this feature is gone. Firefox is not the snappy upstart it used to be. I use Chrome now because although it doesn't always respond immediately to my commands, it responds faster and has the process isolation and timeouts in place to keep individual tabs from dragging the whole thing down forever.

    I go back to Firefox every so often. Every time it wants to "refresh", even though I have zero information that should be bogging it down, and it still dumps a massive chunk of garbage data onto my desktop as "Old Firefox Data". But sure, I like fresh installs and I assume that's what its doing. Not like it runs any faster than last time.

    The fact is that most users don't care about privacy nearly as much as they care about speed. Firefox either needs to fix their speed and stability problems, or focus on users that care about something else (like privacy) more.

    --
    If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
    • (Score: 2) by SomeGuy on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:14PM

      by SomeGuy (5632) on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:14PM (#558503)

      I'm sorry, Mozilla.org can't hear you. Please restate your problem in the form of an obscure monetizable metric that when viewed by marketing somehow proves that you need an additional video codec added.

    • (Score: 5, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @06:08PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @06:08PM (#558534)

      This is a thread about privacy. If you care about (preserving) privacy and you use Google Chrome then you have a level of cognitive dissonance that is over 9000.

      • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Thursday August 24 2017, @08:13PM (1 child)

        by meustrus (4961) on Thursday August 24 2017, @08:13PM (#558567)

        I'd like to care about preserving my privacy, but I just don't have the time.

        --
        If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
        • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @09:01PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @09:01PM (#558594)

          That is your right. You're dumb, but that is your right...

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25 2017, @07:59AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25 2017, @07:59AM (#558768)

        You missed the post a couple of weeks ago about Mozilla using Google Analytics to track users, with no way to disable or block it. Even tracking blockers were prevented from blocking it.

        The official response: "Just block it at the DNS level". So, don't recommend Firefox to anyone who isn't capable of running their own DNS... Got it.

        Oh, they did retract that after a week or so, but as they say, building up trust takes years, destroying trust is instant.

        If you still trust Firefox, YOU are the one with "a level of cognitive dissonance that is over 9000".

        For the rest of us, rebuilding that trust will take years of Mozilla not using Google Analytics, not implementing opt-out[1] tracking, etc.

        [1] The whole point of opt-out is hoping that 90% will either fail to notice the option or forget about it, and thus be included against their will. For this reason, opt-out is never used by anyone trust-worthy.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25 2017, @05:40PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25 2017, @05:40PM (#559004)

          So you use google chrome because moziolla uses google anal?

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:43PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:43PM (#558518)

    Too late. People who know better are already leaving for things like Pale Moon. Blissfully ignorant lusers who blindly want "it just works" are happy with Safari and Chrome, and Edge/IE people are beyond redemption.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:54PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @05:54PM (#558527)

    Brave

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25 2017, @10:55AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 25 2017, @10:55AM (#558804)

      Posting from it right now. :)

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by compro01 on Thursday August 24 2017, @06:44PM

    by compro01 (2515) on Thursday August 24 2017, @06:44PM (#558546)
  • (Score: 2) by edIII on Thursday August 24 2017, @08:25PM (3 children)

    by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 24 2017, @08:25PM (#558574)

    They're kinda of irrelevant. I used to use Firefox all the damn time before javascript popped up everywhere and they lagged in performance. My firefox on Windows kept crashing twice a day for the last two years. Crashing at least isn't that bad anymore since it can restore to where it left off without interrupting sessions. But still.

    I find Pale Moon to be more stable than Firefox, but alas, lags behind in compatibility. My banking website started to silently fail, while strangely telling me it was simply unavailable. Compatibility is its biggest problem.

    These days the only reason why I use Firefox is to verify cross browser site behavior, TOR browser uses it under the hood, and only Firefox/Chrome will run Netflix. I'm finding Chromium to be easier to use and it doesn't have the evil shit that Chrome does.

    I stick to the forks because the main players are fucking dicks with privacy, and are constantly trying to shove cloud-based apps down my throat like Pocket. I've never been interested in, nor will I ever be interested in, storing my data and activities in the cloud without zero-knowledge based services. The fact that Firefox is doing this, is absolutely no surprise whatsoever.

    Big businesses are addicted to Big Data. Just a bunch of marketing/execuscum falling over each other to suck Big Data's Dick.

    --
    Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @09:05PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @09:05PM (#558596)

      From what I'd read a while back google started including binary objects in the chromium source repo that are normally built in.

      I am not sure how it acts on non-x86/arm platforms, or if it even builds on them ATM, but those stories concerned me enough to stop using it as my tertiary browser (I didn't like it much to begin with. FF still does what I need most of the time, Seamonkey if not, and then a pool of less customizable browsers in between.)

      • (Score: 1) by toddestan on Friday August 25 2017, @02:45AM

        by toddestan (4982) on Friday August 25 2017, @02:45AM (#558706)

        One of the problems with Chromium is that there are no official builds, so what is and is not in it all depends on who did the build. I'd trust the builds in the official repositories for Debian or Ubuntu to not include anything they didn't have the source for, but some of the other builds? Who knows. Or you could just build it yourself, though my understanding is that the build environment is rather complicated and you need a pretty decent computer if you want it to get done in any kind of reasonable time.

      • (Score: 1) by xhedit on Friday August 25 2017, @02:48AM

        by xhedit (6669) on Friday August 25 2017, @02:48AM (#558708)

        Ungoogled chromium fixes that issue.

  • (Score: 1) by noneof_theabove on Thursday August 24 2017, @08:41PM

    by noneof_theabove (6189) on Thursday August 24 2017, @08:41PM (#558582)

    The United Corporations and Churches of America [was USA]
    Where you are the product.
    The real customer is the Stock Holder.

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @08:49PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 24 2017, @08:49PM (#558589)

    fuck you!

  • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by realDonaldTrump on Friday August 25 2017, @04:58AM

    by realDonaldTrump (6614) on Friday August 25 2017, @04:58AM (#558731) Homepage Journal

    It let me close tabs to the right. It didn't let me close tabs to the left. BADLY SLANTED! I went back to the orb. 🇺🇸

  • (Score: 2) by srobert on Friday August 25 2017, @04:04PM

    by srobert (4803) on Friday August 25 2017, @04:04PM (#558926)

    Firefox is going to start acting more like it's competitors. Edge spies on you. Chrome spies on you. Chromium has binary blobs in it. Pale Moon lacks compatibility for important plugins. Opera and Vivaldi are closed source. What should we use if we want both privacy and functionality? The PTB, both corporate and government, have decided that privacy is a quaint old-fashioned idea that is getting in the way of security and profit.

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