Firefox Focus privacy scandal
Firefox Focus: the privacy browser, is a free mobile browser for iOS devices by Mozilla designed to protect user privacy while browsing the web.
The app "improves the privacy and performance" of a user's mobile browsing experience by "blocking analytics, social, and advertising trackers" according to the product description on Apple's iTunes website. It furthermore enables you to erase the browsing history, passwords and cookies easily.
A content blocker by Mozilla, makers of Firefox and known proponents of user rights and privacy? That's got to be good, right?
What you may not expect from the app, especially since it is designed to block analytic trackers, is that it is collecting data itself, and transfers the data it collects to third-party company Adjust.
Update: We were contacted by Mozilla PR Germany. The linked article has several factual errors according to the statement. Relevant for our article is:
- Firefox Focus does not track the browsing history, and does not process telemetry data that is not anonymized.
Mozilla asked the authors of the original article to correct it.
Firefox Focus: The privacy browser
Mozilla unveiled Firefox Focus back in November 2016. The organization introduced the mobile browser in the following way:
Today, weâ€™re pleased to announce the launch of Firefox Focus â€“ a free, fast and easy to use private browser for iOS.
Firefox Focus is set by default to block many of the trackers that follow you around the Web. You donâ€™t need to change privacy or cookie settings. You can browse with peace of mind, feeling confident in the knowledge that you can instantly erase your sessions with a single tap â€“ no menus needed.
If you open the settings of the application, you may stumble upon the opt-out preference "send anonymous usage data". Telemetry collecting is not uncommon, even for organizations like Mozilla.
Mozilla's Support website reveals information on the anonymous usage data collecting of Firefox and Firefox Focus on mobile devices.
What you learn there is the following:
- Mozilla uses a third-party software development kit by German company adjust GMBH that it built into Firefox Focus that is connected to a data collecting Internet service backend run by adjust GMBH.
- Data is sent to the adjust backend, not to Mozilla.
- For new installs, an "anonymous 'attribution' request is sent to adjust servers containing information on how the app was downloaded. Data includes an advertising ID, IP address, timestamp, country, language and locale, operating system, and app version.
- Firefox Focus furthermore sends anonymous summaries "occasionally" that reveal "how often the application has been used". The summaries include information on "whether the app has been in active use recently and when". Additionally, the data will reveal features of the application that have been used.
Adjust GMBH is a big data specialist known for tracking and analytics services.
Journalist Peter Welchering and Manfred Kloiber, and Comidio director Herrman Sauer decided to investigate the telemetry tracking of Firefox Focus (known as Firefox Klar in Germany).
According to the report, telemetry is not limited to what is listed above. The German newspaper article reveals that Firefox Focus collects browsing information, for instance server connections, and that data is sent to the third-party adjust, and not Mozilla.
Mozilla or adjust did not respond to inquiries according to Welchering. The journalists state that they did speak to Mozilla developers about the data tracking in Firefox Focus. These developers told the journalists that Mozilla is collecting the data to optimize the product.
Welchering notes in the article that anonymous and personally identifiable data is collected by Firefox Focus, and that adjust receives these identifiable bits of information.
Firefox Focus: turn of data collecting
You can turn off the anonymous data collecting of Firefox Focus by tapping on the settings icon, and flipping the switch next to "send anonymous usage data" to off.
The privacy focused browser and content blocker Firefox Focus is collecting and submitting telemetry data to adjust, a company that is big in the data collecting and analytics business.
This is something that you'd probably not expect from an organization like Mozilla, and something that Mozilla needs to address. (via Born)
Now You: What's your take on this?
That’s why I just stick with Palemoon. A no-brainer decision.
yeah use an outdated insecure mobile browser sounds like a great choice @David
Except he’s not the one using an insecure mobile browser.
So yeah, these news were full of false information.
Oh, right, that’s definitely up in the list of favorites: 1) “It wasn’t me, I swear I didn’t do it” (LOL) and 2) “If it wasn’t -for- me, somebody else would do it”. Pfft. ;$
OK. It’s not much of a scandal is it? The option is right there in plain sight.
First off, disclaimer: Privacy is #1 priority for me
I don’t think it’s a scandal either, I think the media have a terrible tendency to either blow stuff out of proportion or express it in awe-inducing ways. Then somehow they are surprised that after a while, more and more people become weary, unhappy, dissatisfied with everything touched by the media, and end up in odd states of mind related to anger or renouncement.
That said, this news can help highlighting a couple things to consider.
– Does Firefox Focus warn the user on first use about data collection, and does the warning include an instant way to disable it ? Firefox has this, and Firefox Focus should if it doesn’t already. Most of the problem is solved by just shoving the 100% opt-out option in the user’s face on first use.
– Mozilla should free Firefox Focus from using a third-party analytics backend. This should happen on their own servers. It’s costly to do analytics on your own, but that’s a necessary price that comes along being the #1 browser in privacy. (After Tor Browser, which is a special case and closely based on Firefox anyway)
– Is data anonymized before being sent out of the device ? If not, it should. And we don’t mean anonymized Google style, we mean real anonymization, e.g. differential privacy.
– Firefox is and remains the best browser for privacy after Tor Browser. This is a fact that is strengthening over the year thanks to things like the Tor Uplift project, not weakening. Let FUD be reassured.
“The German newspaper article reveals that Firefox Focus collects browsing information, for instance server connections,”
What’s this ? Do they give more precise info ?
The newspaper article does not go into details unfortunately and is rather vague. For instance, that Firefox Focus is sending out non-anonymous data is just mentioned in a paragraph, but without any explanation, and that browsing data is collected, is not explained further either.
Thank you for this article! It gives me info & maybe an explanation why firefox focus crashes with my VPN on. They are sneaks and giving into the desire for money. They need to ‘fess up. I’m going to share your article in Google Play. Maybe it’ll help others. Thanks again.
Yeah, that last point ain’t correct according to this: https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/5tlje6/firefox_focus_privacy_scandal/ddnsegp/
Though I didn’t check the source code myself, that part was a little fishy from the start.
Data is still collected locally in Firefox at least. I do not know if the data in Firefox is being uploaded, but it is scheduled to upload. Focus is probably the same way. I discovered that Firefox itself was collecting data even when telemetry, diagnostic, or other options were turned off. I do not expect this focus app to be any different.
datareporting.healthreport.uploadEnabled => false
datareporting.policy.dataSubmissionEnabled => false
toolkit.telemetry.enabled => false
toolkit.telemetry.unified => false
What this has to do with Firefox Focus browser/Safari add-on on iOS devices ?
I don’t use the browser itself but use it as an add-on to Safari browser on my iPhone.
Sending data is off.
Mozilla’s new motto: “If ya can’t beat ’em, Join them!”
I have turned off the toggle for data collection in Firefox, but I don’t think it matters… Why? Because I use the Firefox Sync function (I know, I know, but I’ll be darned if it hasn’t come in mighty handy on a number of occasions) and I reckon with my syncing bookmarks and tabs and whatnot, Firefox already can figure out exactly everything I do with the browser.
I think the time has come (for me anyway) to have at least two primary browsers, one set up like I have Firefox now (600+ bookmarks, Sync, etc.) for regular, daily use and another set up to open in private mode, automatically use the VPN, turn off all tracking and telemetry, and essentially have it locked down. Probably move the bookmarks I use for banking to that browser. Any suggestions on how I should approach this concept?
Privacy is quickly becoming a priceless commodity. A few hundred years ago it was all about freedom and liberty (liberty being loosely defined as the mobile version of freedom… Fight for freedom, get it, then fight for liberty which allows you to take your freedom and roam with it.) Today, it’s privacy, and I for one, think it’s worth preserving and fighting for. So what should my “private” browser be? Or can I just use a private instance of Firefox to achieve the same result?
I have it the other way round : my main browser (Firefox) is locked down in all sorts of way. When a site does not work properly even after temporarily allowing it in No Script, I don’t bother fiddling for other exceptions : I open a virgin, unsecured Opera and launch it there. It’s especially useful for You Tube videos, which seem stubbornly resistant to my standard configuration (and I still haven’t figured out why).
Another approach I haven’t tried is to have different Firefox profiles for different types of uses. You could have one profile only used for banking, adjust it the way you want, and be sure your other activities won’t contaminate it (doesn’t protect against malware, though).
Do your shopping in a specific profile, and (hopefully) don’t see ads about the product you’ve just bought when browsing news sites.
I think there are several arguments when it comes to a browser :
1- Are there built-in privacy issues?
2- If (1) then are there opt-out settings available?
3- If (2) and applied, does the browser still run correctly?
4- Am I or am I not confident?
With this ‘Firefox Focus’ problematic the first question is : is it conceivable that such methods be applied to Firefox itself (suspicion)?
With Firefox, up to now, my answers to (1)-(4) are, and could be from now on:
1- No / maybe
2- Yes / not sure about possible hidden settings
3- Yes / who knows, should I find/break new hidden settings
4- Yes / maybe not
No problems running Firefox with a hell of about:config settings, essentially based on Pants’ work for an optimized user.js. The browser runs perfectly well. The only problem as far as I’m concerned is suspicion, because should I no longer have blind confidence in Mozilla that I’d be moved by that very nasty feeling which is to wonder “Can I trust what Mozilla states, can I believe that this or that new setting is aimed at the user’s benefit?”
I won’t yell before I consider evidence as established. At this time Firefox is tweaked, runs great and a scandal rises concerning another Mozilla product but not Firefox itself. But Mozilla’s image is damaged, certainly. Yet, even if we’re not married (I’d have to share!) I guess you may consider “for the best and for the worst” when it comes to your relationship with a company you cherish. I won’t throw the stone. I wait for future developments to narrow my perception of Mozilla’s reality, mainly by understanding the exact background of this ‘Firefox Focus’ scandal.
” I use the Firefox Sync function (I know, I know, but I’ll be darned if it hasn’t come in mighty handy on a number of occasions) and I reckon with my syncing bookmarks and tabs and whatnot, Firefox already can figure out exactly everything I do with the browser. ”
I think that data is inaccessible on Mozilla servers. It’s sent and stored encrypted.
“Today, it’s privacy, and I for one, think it’s worth preserving and fighting for. So what should my “private” browser be? Or can I just use a private instance of Firefox to achieve the same result?”
Firefox is your best bet by far, along with Tor Browser when you can.
Disable all kinds of non-web browsing related requests in Firefox with this: https://support.mozilla.org/t5/Protect-your-privacy/How-to-stop-Firefox-from-making-automatic-connections/ta-p/1748
Then figure out how far you want to lock your browser down. You can have several Firefox profiles that run concurrently if you like, one very toughly locked down, another less so.
Tor Browser is the best unequivocally when it comes to privacy and anonymity, and Firefox is importing a ton of Tor Browser improvements in its own code as we speak.
Thank you Drone and others! This is becoming a most interesting thread. Glad to see I’m not the only one bent on privacy… Not because I’m nefarious, just on principal.
I had forgotten about firefox.exe command line switches… Later today (after I’m done doing some cooking, privately, in my own private kitchen – tee hee) I’m going to download this JS file, and in honor of his/her work, I’m going to create a profile called “Pants” to try it out in. Once I have it set-up, I’m wondering if modifying a shortcut as follows would work:
firefox.exe -p “pants” -private
If I’m not mistaken, this should run Firefox, load the profile named pants, and make it a private browsing session.
Wish I had time to do this right now, but it’s Sunday, and I have family getting hungry and I’m the resident chef… It will be a private dinner (I just can’t help myself with the privacy references now – HAHA!)
Why, I wonder, is Mozilla doing these things to it’s long-time, loyal, privacy minded users? Isn’t the reason Mozilla exists in the first place is to be a refuge from the likes of Chrome and IE? Can’t they (and we) be content with that?
Not sure about -private, I don’t use private browsing, but you’ll see that right away from trying since a private window is noticeable :)
You’ll want to add -no-remote too, that will allow you to run the pants profile concurrently with your main one.
Btw, if your shortcut doesn’t work, try removing the “” around “pants”. Pretty sure it should work with “” but just in case…
@Drone, It should and it will. But why limit a fine user.js to private browsing?
Private, publicly stated. reminds me Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer”, back in 1985 when I was living in Amsterdam. I’d hear the song over and over again, my girlfriend being an absolute fan of Ike’s widow … Wow, 32 years back.
Your fine cuisine is getting me hungry. When do you expect us to arrive? i’ll bring the wine :)
Sync is end-to-end encrypted, so we can’t see your data even if we wanted. It’s not even trivial, even with full access to the infrastructure, to figure out who even owns a particular Sync storage bucket. So no, we don’t know what you’re doing with the browser if you use Sync.
Mozilla is now evil, congratulations!
I AM surprised, disappointed, stunned.
The fact there is a built-in option to disable this data collecting is not enough to make me accept this.
First, the option should be opt-in;
Second, if the investigation is correct then Mozilla would have lied when detailing the collected information.
I’m really disappointed. We all know Firefox itself has built-in telemetry settings and even if I’ve disabled all known of those settings I believe(d) it was, for once, truly aimed at only improving the browser. With this Firefox focus scandal as it seems, myself as others may be hit by suspicion, and when suspicion in in one’s mind it’s tough to get it out.
Maybe ‘Pale Moon’ will make its come-back on my browser horizon. It definitely will if it appears Mozilla is rotten as so many other companies, as a final straw to what is, in a totally different registry, the coming annoyance of WebExtensions.
Bad, very bad news for this Sunday morning. So many bad things messing this world, right? Good ones also, fortunately.
What makes you think Palemoon is any better? How do you know PM does not have hidden telemetry settings??
Because of its developer. Having had ‘Pale Moon’ at one time as my default browser I would then be a regular speaker on the browser’s forum and from what I’ve read then from the developer made me consider as inconceivable that whatever backdoors could ever be a hidden corrupted feature of ‘Pale Moon’.
There are people you trust in life. I trust Martin and several regular speakers, here and elsewhere. I trust doesn’t mean I always agree, it means I believe they are intellectually honest.
Tom, your comment prompted me to think about how much we have to trust unknown people in this digital age. It’s really amazing.
I use a VPN provider whose internal security I have no real way of confirming. I use an operating system (a massive collection of code!) without ever having inspected the code myself. Nothing works in this digital world without trust.
So how do we establish trust when we can’t meet the people involved? This is where I had some interesting thoughts. There are some objective criteria we can use, like trusting an open source project over a closed source one. We also use less objective criteria, like learning about the developers, either from their own direct claims or from reports by third parties. But since we cannot know everything about the developers, the few details we do learn about become MAGNIFIED in importance. This is inevitable. It means, however, that trust in the digitial world can be lost very quickly. If just one little scandal gets talked about enough, it has the potential to convince huge numbers of users to stay away forever.
I’m sure some people here remember when it was discovered a few years ago that Ubuntu was sending desktop search data to Amazon. There was a public outcry and the developers reversed course. Yet today you will still see people on Reddit cautioning others not to use Ubuntu because “it spies on you”. Once a critical mass of criticism is reached, it can produce a sudden and irreversible change in collective opinion, rightly or wrongly.
So, back to Mozilla: Was my trust in Mozilla chipped away when I first learned about some of its default about:config settings? Yes. Was my trust chipped away a bit more this morning? Yes, and this should worry the Mozilla people, because IT ALL ADDS UP EVENTUALLY.
I’m not prepared to jump ship yet. But like you, Tom, I’m quite surprised by the recklessness of the developers’ decision.
Your comment is most interesting. I agree that there are objective references accrediting trust or not, and this should always prevail, IMO, on what follows, which is our natural inclination or not to trust, for optimism or not. Last, there is intuition nourished by experience, by those above-mentioned objective criteria and also by these natural inclinations, not to mention — if applicable and I have no certitude — what would be a natural component of intuition, that of the ability for one’s intelligence to apprehend reality in its genesis, “live” so to say.
You are so correct to say that “how much we have to trust unknown people in this digital age”, I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps are we in the situation of what has always been the lot of decision-makers who have to deal with many references, individuals, companies, their company’s reality without having the possibility to establish a direct and personal contact with all : they have to delegate, delegate authority, responsibilities and, in a certain way, decisions in consideration of the amount of departments. In a certain way we are becoming with this Digital Age actors of a universe which deploys far beyond our immediate spheres and yet is tied up to our identity hence our privacy.
As for Mozilla, as I wrote elsewhere on this thread, I’ll wait and see. We don’t have enough elements to put into that “objectivity” area above mentioned. But it’s certainly not a good thing for Mozilla, especially as you say it so well that “the few details we do learn about become MAGNIFIED in importance.”. I guess it’s up to each and everyone to know if the aim is truth or passion.
“trust in the digitial world can be lost very quickly. If just one little scandal gets talked about enough, it has the potential”…
“You can prove a theorem right a thousand times, but I my friend, only need to disprove it once” – some old timey guy
I guess it’s always easier to know what is not than to know what is. Yet it is our quest of what is not proven that makes us advance. We learn from mistakes. Life is balanced in such a way that some try and are corrected by those who prove they were wrong. We need both.
IMHO most power users do not understand why Mozilla is enforcing Web-Extension so soon without a longer period of coexistence with non-WE addons in order to buy some time for developers to adapt and for the platform to mature. We are coping with all of this because we value our privacy and security and FF seems the best browser in that regard.
If Mozilla start to LIE about the nature of the telemetry they gather and/or SELL it without our knowledge…. pfff…
I have been a FF user since the very begining but, at the first suspicion that something similar to Firefox Focus is happening or might happen with their computer version of FF, I will be definitely abandoning ship for good. I have put up with the whole Web-Extensions situation that is causing the loss of some vital addons for me (and most of us) without saying that I would abandon FF, because I know there is no alternative privacy-wise.
If privacy and/or security got compromised there would be motive not just to abandon Mozilla but to hold a grudge against them too.
This is — exactly — what I meant, word for word.
“If Mozilla start to LIE about the nature of the telemetry they gather and/or SELL it without our knowledge”
The guys who reported this explicitly said they could find nothing that says Mozilla earns money from data. Translation: They don’t earn money from data. Their revenue is public btw.
Mozilla doesn’t lie about the telemetry we gather; it’s all publicly documented, and you can even read the source code if you have doubts. Mozilla does not sell telemetry data.
I was right to be “extremely cautious” as I said in a previous article ,)
Being caution isn’t wrong, but bookmarks are safe. Sync is encrypted and opt-in :)
Well.. what to say…
We had Australis where features have been outsourced for luring over Chrome users…
We had Webextensions announced with the goal to lure over Chrome users…
We had XUL removal announced with the goal to lure over Chrome users…
Result… Mozilla is more of a Chrome clone than you think. Perhaps they do not use Blink, but they have adopted the mentality of Google and they exchange their target user group for Chrome users.
Security is only second for Mozilla. First and most they care for influence, money and Chrome users….
Disgusting. Seriously disgusting!
Luclkily i am off now towards Otter-Browser with QTWebkit NG!
Yeah it’ll be really hard for your web activity to be tracked with Otter-Browser, because that won’t give you the world’s most unique browser fingerprint.
Not the main reason for me. The main reason for me is that the Otter developer does still care for power users and their special feature needs.
Seems you can only get from rather small projects special unique features, while all the big ones are running behind Chrome, emulating look and feel to get some users.
What that followers of Google with Chrome do not understand, you only can gain people if you offer something unique, special which is not plain-Jane ware. Because Chrome is unbeaten in supporting all the plain-Janes and male counterparts out there.
And no matter how hard they try, they will only get a small number of Chrome users over but are fully unable to damage Google in a serious way.
@Celctic_Superhero, what “special needs”?
And isn’t Otter basically a one-man shop? What happens when he goes out of business? What then?
And will you pick up the slack when he does?
www people have left Firefox because Mozilla wants to create a browser mainly developed for simple users, they see no need anymore for a deep customization set like it was available before Australis – not over add-ons but built inside the browser. In Australis that feature set was reduced and with XUL being killed it will be reduced one more time.
Otter-Browser is Open Source, so anyone can take over. In case if the developer does not want to do it anymore… well.. why not, i could see myself indeed filling that hole in case it happens. Building with QT is more easy as you do only have to take care for UI development and upstream bug reports to the QT team. This is more or less straight forward.
Anyway, people switched from Firefox and people switched from Opera away because both organizations try to be like Chrome instead of keep on supporting their old user groups.
@Celctic_Superhero “Security is only second for Mozilla. First and most they care for influence, money and Chrome users….”
Thats funny, mozilla is a non-profit foundation!
The main feature of Firefox is being opensource and customaizable
even if mozilla used chrome engine it doesn’t matter as long as that doesn’t change
I don’t understand why ppl are mad about that
and who cares about the default settings as long as u can change them
ur settings won’t reset with every update like microsoft!
There is legitimate wrath and there is pretext to spit. Be it with computer applications, Web software, be it in all domains. There is unfortunately an amount of individuals that are happy with whatever news appearing to condemn a company, a software, a person : it gives them the opportunity to yell and express hatred for the “good cause” when sometimes they don’t give the slightest damn for that cause. This is relevant of the number of unsatisfied people, unhappy, bitter, angry at the world and its societies, always responsible not only for a betrayed cause but as well as for the entirety of their misfortunes.
I aim no one, here or elsewhere. But this is a fact.
You seem to misunderstand. Customization was already started to be sacrificed in Australis to be most compatible with simple users needs.
And there will never be that deep going customization feature sets without XUL. Sure, some stuff can be recreated with the enhanced web-extensions plan, but Mozilla will never allow anymore such a deep and rich feature set like it was available before Australis.
If they would use Blink as engine actually, even less features would be possible. Browsers like Vivaldi only can add features that way that they hide the normal Chromium UI and push some rendered UI over that which creates another set of issues.
Mozilla talks constantly that they do not care for user numbers or money or influence – But all their actions show that that is a plain lie.
Mozilla are deceiving others and that even without the tiniest regret. The difference to Google is that Google does not even try to hide the fact that they are hungry for influence or market share or general domination of the web.
Mozilla acts to be kind, but in reality they are the same. Which is even worse!
Ah Celtic superhero, a long time Mozilla naysayer that keeps popping around every time there’s a pretext to, and acts like he’s leaving Firefox just now because that’s the last straw.
I have dumped Firefox since quite a while, switched over to Safari and have settled with Otter-Browser.
So no, i am not using anything Mozilla related anymore. Which means i am also not using something like Seamonkey or Pale Moon.
Sorry to disappoint you Malliz ;)
Uh, no, you basically confirmed everything I just said. You have had nothing to do with Mozilla for quite a while now, and so you are not qualified to make educated comments on Firefox. And you are, more importantly, not honest in making it look like you are just now leaving Firefox as if it was the last straw, while pointing people to your “new” browser of choice. It’s not the first time I’ve seen you using this technique.
Whatever non-Chrome browser you may mention may be good, but I think you can advertise them in honest ways and based on their own merits. Anyway, not discussing this any further, you do what you want with your life, I wanted to single you out for eventual readers who’d care, so they can account for this information however they want.
Well Malliz – I wrote that I am off with Otter now – which is not = right now. I never tried to deceive people and I was always honest in what I wrote.
Btw. I supported Firefox for many many years and even if I am no longer use it I am still allowed to comment and express my sadness about the way Mozilla is going.
I have watched you insulting critical people who are not in line with Mozilla’s recent “visions” long enough on Mozillazine since quite some time, as C_S and with a legacy account which I abandoned 5 years ago.
Granted good old themes mastermind Frank has also a shirt temper in general but he is no blind Mozilla follower as you constantly show that it is the truth for you.
I suggest you clean up your own battlefields before you opening up some more.
Also commenting about Pale Moon does not make me a PM fanboy. Better you blame the ones who are responsible for that which I – am not! Also Otter is not Blink only – I use the WebKit variant as I am no Chrome supporter.
In the end you know me not at all – you do not know that under my old handle I have indeed helped in opening Bug issues a couple of times or supported other users countless of times who had open questions.
So you are not in the position for criticizing me. No more replies from me to you.
2 more things… correcting shirt to short in my post above and second…
Mallis i suggest if you have a problem you can mail me at “celtic – superhero @ tutanota.com” – Remove the 2 times” and the spaces in between.
Way better than to pollute that place with your more than mindless drivel.
So, after that has been added see you either in Mozillazine if you feel it is necessary to pollute the forum with your useless acts of provoking me and trying to push me into a category in which i do not fit at all or send me a mail. Honestly i do not care.
I’m not this Mallis guy, I don’t have a presence on Mozillazine. I’m a Ghacks reader who looked you up. I wouldn’t want my intervention to mess things up between you and him.
“Btw. I supported Firefox for many many years and even if I am no longer use it I am still allowed to comment and express my sadness about the way Mozilla is going.”
@celtic_superhero, I’m sure they’re all aware of your bitter tears by now. They know Firefox will fall apart without you.
Thing is, why aren’t they calling you back? /s
www you are just another one of the blind Mozilla supporters who are praising what they are giving you. If they would implement Blink and take away all special features you would still praise them.
There are many of us power users who will not praise them. Because they are betraying their old user base. Period!
You are just another one of that simple users who are to blame that all advanced features are sacrificed. Development just for your benefit is plain and simple terrible.
Luckily there are enough small projects who support advanced users still today and give simplicity the well earned middle finger.
Malliz there is nothing to look up. I can’t remember that i have posted here as Celtic_Superhero before. There is only one Celtic_Superhero and that one is written exactly that way. There is only one way to look up for something of mine. Mozillazine, as it is one of the handful of pages which i am these days still visit including Disqus and from now on that place here.
You can’t fool me.
www Firefox is already a mere shadow of it’s former self. Only people not critical of Mozilla’s utterly recent shady history would insult people who are not supporting their way now where they made it clear they do no longer care for users who want complex UI and browser customization features.
Luckily there are enough small browser projects which show that annoying and backwards trend the well earned middle finger.
www If it would only have impact on Firefox the situation would be not that dire. But Mozilla will also drag almost all Firefox code based projects into that direction if they want it or not. Including Cyberfox or Seamonkey.
And that is actually what is the most shameful of this whole mess. Mozilla moves free willingly into a backwards direction to be competitive for the user base of the most backwards directed browser available right now which is called Google Chrome.
@celtic_superhero, what @Sock said up above. If you were truly that comfortable with your decisions then you wouldn’t be here trolling your nonsense.
The fact is you couldn’t come up with anything specific about what your ‘special needs’ are. Probably because you don’t have any and neither does Otter.
Instead you’re talking out your ass, bitter because Mozilla made some decisions that you didn’t like.
Well nobody’s making you use that browser anymore and it looks like Mozilla isn’t going to do what you want them to. Maybe you should run along now and preach to the converted that you so desperately crave. In other words, get over it. It’s only a browser.
Malliz… Sock… which leads to surprise surprise – www – i do not know why i have not realized in the beginning that this is just another one of your tons of alias. I have seriously enough of your endless insults to others who do not like minimalist behavior and who are not in line with Mozilla’s new found trendy anti-feature and anti-customization concept. The one who is trolling is you. Again, i know you very well from Mozillazine – i have seen in my times as Celtic_Superhero enough of your unfair tactics and quite a lot of years under my other trade mark which i used during that time. It is really sad that you constantly have that large of a disadvantage against me, and the sad thing is you do not realize it in your ongoing insult machinery. Sad, very sad only ;)
I already have written it. UI customization, to make almost all UI elements fit where i want to have them. I can do that without extensions on Otter-Browser but no longer on Firefox.
That are special needs and a large percentage of power users love and values that kind of options and features.
Just because you are loving all what Mozilla does, just because you love that all that nice features are removed now does not mean that i am not allowed to write here. You tried the same tactics on Mozillazine. And again Malliz… it does not work.
I suggest you look for another victim because that fight you are not winning. You should get over it, i already have, i just make use of my right to comment as it is not forbidden at all to do that.
Otter Browser and no unique functions? Otter developer Emdek did what Mozilla has done until Australis was introduced. Offering customization and useful usability features
For the record… Web compatibility enhancements like HTML5 and ECMA entries and all the other behind the scene features Mozilla is introducing today – that i would not call unique, they are standard enhancements. But customization features are features which make a browser different from the rest of the browser market. And that indeed can be called unique.
Also it is useless to discuss with people like socks or www. Also celtic_superhero you do not have the tiniest proof that they are all the same person. I would say you are a bit paranoid?
Why is it useless to discuss with me. I have nothing against Otter, I know nothing about it. My beef was with celtic_superhero’s questionable methods and his reading of reality. (then he lumped 3 persons as one out of pure assumption, which doesn’t help getting confident in his attachment to facts, though by now I think we’re all done with it)
But: That users who love a feature rich browser interface and are a bit vocal in their displeasure that Mozilla leaves a certain amount of users behind for whatever for a reason are attacked by the one’s who love it simple and minimalistic in a way which is simply unacceptable.
You my friend must be the same way blamed like celtic-superhero must be blamed. Your kind because you see features which are beyond a certain grade as bloat which has no place in the software and your opponent bc. they pull the whole thing towards a personal platform.
But: I have discussed on IRC and other media in the last few years with many of that so-called next gen. users to which you and www belong so i know you look down on users who disagree with todays design and functionality trends.
Keep in mind if you would have been the one’s Mozilla would no longer support you would think the same way like us and you guys would also show a vocal kind of reasoning.
Simple and minimist users won – you are supported and you get all your requirements fulfilled, but that gives you ZERO right to look down on us and behave against us in such a respectless way.
Because you could have lost the race too and then you would react that way towards us and i would guess you would demand a certain respect too!
Mozilla could have continued in supporting multiple users needs like they did it earlier. Their decision against us simply created a hell-hole full of demons and you can’t expect us to be silent and not disappointed.
Like it or not – other people have also opinions which are not less important than your own.
That’s it. Hopefully you understand and accept that.
Also, if you would have still unbroken faith in Mozilla you would not react that way if someone mentions another browser – it looks like you are terrible afraid that others actually COULD switch – even if the chance for this is really small.
Wait, what ? I think you are confusing me with “www”. I basically said nothing about my own view. Just search for my name. :D
Edit: Not even sure you’re confusing me with www. Doing a search, he barely posted anything either… I hope you were not second guessing people by ticking a bunch of checkboxes based on previous experiences with different people. Oh well, it doesn’t matter much anyway, this whole chain of comments makes no sense :D
That’s bad news. One way to kill trust in a product is to surreptitiously start siphoning off user data without permission in a the same way that Microsoft does with Windows 10 (and in a lesser respect with Windows 7 and 8.1).
It wouldn’t be so bad if the data was sent to Mozilla, but to a third party who could well sell it to other businesses? Adjust appears to be this outfit: https://www.adjust.com/mobile-app-analytics/
Even though adjust GmbH aims mobiles I’ve already added *.adjust.* to my DNSCrypt-Proxy’s blacklist-domains.txt file and Adjust GMBH:188.8.131.52-184.108.40.206 to a personal PeerBlock filters’ list, for the sake of emotion rather than requirement.
Analytics, analytics, anal-ytics (I beg your pardon), everywhere, trackers’ good friend. This is mad. How not to agree with Joey Spinosa’s comment above when he states that “[…]Today, it’s privacy”? At least, for sad souls wondering about their value in life, are they worth anything, why am I here and so on : Alleluia! there’s always someone who cares for you :) At least for who you are and what you do.
I admire your philosophical spin, Tom. Keep up the good fight!
Alas, I fear that privacy will never be viewed as a “right” like freedom or liberty. No, privacy is quickly becoming a commodity. As such, you will only have as much as you can afford, or are willing to pay for. At least we can, with a little hard work, circumvent these intrusions today… Thus keeping our privacy intact.
I clicked on the link Xircal provided for adjust.com. They have a whole section on “Data Driven Marketing”. I reckon the title just about sums it all up… Data Driven Marketing… Them’s fighting words in my neck of the woods! Ha!
Maybe I will try Brave browser, might be a good alternative for Firefox. Been a long fan of Firefox but these past events keep bothering me to try another browser, not gonna try Chrome though.
Brave ha ha its funny the brave browser, protects your privacy and blocks ads by replacing ads with its own ads they have carefully selected which still collects your data (F*** Privacy Right) but brave gets the money for it not the website.
So basically with brave when viewing a website brave replaces the ads with its own and eats away at the websites income the same income used to keep that website running. all the money goes to brave is it me or was brave the best con of 2016
I have to agree, Brave is the brave. Maybe the developer’s intention is that of a “fair-advertisement” in a way similar to ‘Adblock Plus’. When you get slapped in the face do you ask to not be slapped or to be slapped in an acceptable way? Most of the time you don’t even ask, you just return the gift, plus interest. I don’t believe this approach as valid in the user-advertisement confrontation.
We don’t replace ads and won’t without user and (if on page) publisher opt-in. We’re all open source, there’s no point in us doing anything sketchy, it’d be caught.
We did propose optional ad replacement, with big $$$ share (70% of gross) to the website. No “Brave gets the money”. Not sure why you wrote that — did you read it somewhere?
Martin, what an honour to have Brendan Eich himself respond here on your website!
@Brendan – good luck with the Brave project, love the idea :)
Brave on desktop simply isn’t “ready for primetime”. It’s still in development and it shows. Brave on Android is very solid though. Gives you Chrome’s performance, with HTTPS, tracking protection, and adblocking built in. It has become my default mobile browser. I tried Firefox on Android with uBlock, but I found the performance to be inconsistent. I haven’t noticed any performance issues with Brave.
Agreed. There’s a big discrepancy between Brave’s maturity on the main desktop platforms and the mobile versions. Brave on iOS is excellent!
What do you need an advertising ID for if you use the information to optimize the product?
Good question Grandpa! Same applies to Windows10, to the Chrome browser (I think), it’s the latest analytics phantasm. Maybe the ad business wants to have its dedicated — “that ID is for us only!” — tracking feature? Like, part of tracking, not relevant for the ad industry, will be for the application’s developers and what IS relevant for tracking business will be tagged as such? No idea, frankly.
An ID is an ID. The purpose is to be able to group the data so they know this data point and that data point belong to the same device. It’s useful to optimize a product, but I would hope it is changed every time the user clears data or closes the program. (Assuming the user hasn’t opted out completely)
Persistent IDs are more problematic but common place on smartphones.
Same as Google Chrome UUID.
Unique identifier for you, the customer AKA the product.
See the correct explanation here:
It would be nice if Ghacks would allow comments to make links, those URLs are terrible :)
Bad, really bad. I hope this gets traction and more people hear about it. It’s even worse when you, as a company, claim to be on the user side and throw dust at others. I think you lose your right of throwing dust at others when you’re not any better than they are. I can only hope the day that FireFox 57 comes out will only mark the day of losing the extension support and not of losing the users’s freedom with this kind of practices.
“Less worse” may be a good argument? :)
“It’s even worse when you, as a company, claim to be on the user side and throw dust at others”
They are double-hypocrites. Not only did they market Firefox Focus as a pro-privacy app; they also spent the last year running a pro-privacy social activism campaign.
As awful as this is, I sincerely hope this finally makes all you whiners stop using Firefox and shut up about it already. You’ve been contributing nothing but holier-than-thou negative PR for years, so if this mistake finally sheds your dead weight, then I’m all for it.
Mozilla Corp. was founded years ago. The Foundation is long dead.
Check the time when the CORPORATION started and check the Firefox versions released under the Corp. -vs- the Foundation.
So, are you happy discerning which Microsoft updates can break your setup?
Then, are you happy tweaking botnet browsers?
Alternatives do exist.
But the Germans are trustworthy people, what could possibly go wrong? :)
Anyway, if you have an Iphone you don’t care about privacy, might as well start mining the fools, ha ha ha.
I’ll never get to understand how a human quality so tightly related to one individual may be applied to a group, whatever this group be characteristic of. Women, men, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Germans, Japanese, French, Americans, blacks, white, red and yellow are this, that, this and that, this or that …
Forget these insane generalities : a person is what she is, independently of what we’d consider him/her to be on the basis of a group we would have jailed her/him in.
I’m sorry, it’s my fault for not putting the /s at the end of my phrase, it was meant as a joke :)
But you are right about the generalities.
@Tenshi, don’t get me wrong. Let’s say I took the opportunity of your comment — should it have been meant as a joke — to spread my belief, as I do when comments — seriously serious this time — have been and keep being heard so often, in all areas of life, that I just have to react. It fell on you, my dear!
When it’s deliberately a joke, free of ambiguity (in France we are champions at saying serious things under cover of what should be understood as funny, as a joke only) then it’s great. We all have our funny jokes on communities. Doesn’t mean iy has a serious backdoor. When it’s really funny those concerned are the first to laugh. But nowadays, intelligence spreading as it is together with political correction many use humor as a pretext to communicate sometimes the worst things, as French author La Fontaine did it two xenturies ago, not with humor then but with his famous “Fables”. Freedom of speech, free of political correction, at least avoids having to rely on humor as an hypocritical pretext to delivers the depths of one’s soul. No ambiguity, from there on debates become healthy.
Adjust is used in Firefox for Android since version 38.0.5. It was noted in the release notes and in the release notes you can find a link to the announcement. So where is the scandal? That Firefox Focus uses the same tool like Firefox for Android? Wow, which BIG surpriseâ€¦ not.
A wonder you defend Mozilla as always… not. Former Mozilla Representative SÃ¶ren Hentzschel out in full force again. Don’t want to start an argument with you, just saying how it is.
The comment from Appster has – as always – NOTHING to do with the content of my comment, just the usual trolling against me. It’s a fact that Firefox for Android uses Adjust since Firefox 38.0.5. And it makes really NO sense at all to say that my comment about the usage of Adjust in Firefox for Android since 38.0.5 has anything to do with “defend”. Sorry that I am not surprised about things which are not new for me. “No surprise” was the whole content of my comment”.
And I am NOT a Mozilla rep so it makes no sense to highlight something in this direction.
“When joining the program, a Mozilla Rep agrees to take on the following responsibilities:
represent Mozilla in their country/region
promote the Mozilla Project and our mission
build on and support existing/future local community efforts and programs
inspire, recruit and support new contributors
support and mentor future Mozilla Reps
document clearly all his/her activities”
Enough said. Keep claiming otherwise if you must even if there is only one possible conclusion.
> Enough said
Yes, enough said. I am NOT a “Mozilla Rep” so it doesn’t matter in the context of my comments what the role of a Mozilla Rep is. I have NOTHING to do with the current Reps program. And as I already said: Reps or not, it has also NOTHING to do with my comment that Firefox for Android uses Adjust since 38.0.5 and it was announced via the release notes and the mailing list. You use every opportunity to put me in a bad light and that’s not okay. It seems I have to use a pseudonym in the future to protect myself. *rolleyes*
> I am NOT a “Mozilla Rep” so it doesn’t matter in the context of my comments what the role of a Mozilla Rep is. I have NOTHING to do with the current Reps program.
You are not a rep –> anymore And as I already said: Reps or not, it has also NOTHING to do with my comment that Firefox for Android uses Adjust since 38.0.5 and it was announced via the release notes and the mailing list.
Mozilla is no better than the gangsters at Eyeo GmbH (developers of AdBlock Plus) who also decided to make the “acceptable ads” option opt-out. Mozilla is giving away telemetry data away to a third party and you are defending that. The same SÃ¶ren-talk as always, no surprise here.
> You use every opportunity to put me in a bad light and that’s not okay.
How is hinting at your apparently strong ties with Mozilla putting you in a bad light? You act as if you were independent, but most likely you aren’t. Me doubting your integrity for reasons is not the same as deliberately putting you in a bad light. Feel free to prove me wrong.
> It seems I have to use a pseudonym in the future to protect myself. *rolleyes*
I would recognize you anyway. Also, if you need protection from someone who does nothing more than hint at a former position of yours then this is saying a lot about you.
To be honest, your attitude Appster is annoying. He is not hiding his identity, unlike you or me. We can look him up, we’re not kiddos.
As for his views, whatever he says we’re free to agree or disagree. Call out the content, not the man.
In the present case, looking at the content he stated one fact and one feeling. The fact is correct, the feeling is just his own. Arguing harmless feelings with unknown people on the web in such an aggressive and insistent way is bothersome.
Surprising how it is not opt-in in a “browser focused on privacy”, isn’t it? Is there a justification for that, former Mozilla Representative Hentzschel?
“It’s a fact that Firefox for Android uses Adjust since Firefox 38.0.5. And it makes really NO sense at all to say that my comment about the usage of Adjust in Firefox for Android since 38.0.5 has anything to do with “defend”. Sorry that I am not surprised about things which are not new for me. “No surprise” was the whole content of my comment”.
And I am NOT a Mozilla rep so it makes no sense to highlight something in this direction.”
For all users who don’t opt-out, Mozilla should do all analytics in-house. It’s not an option when you claim to be a privacy leader.
Second, data must be thoroughly anonymized BEFORE being sent out, using techniques like differential privacy and Mozilla’s good practises (until last time I kind of thoroughly checked, a year or two ago).
in-house? Like, a wolf in sheep’s clothing? They could have (but, in this case, did not) setup a DNS record for an innocuous -sounding name “fuzzybunny.mozilla.org” pointing to a server still operated by adjust.de
I wonder: if Mozilla had instead setup the mechanism as opt-in, would we still be having this (article and) conversation today?
I’m speculating: the Adjust “partnershiT” is yet another example of Mozilla nepotitsm — a means of rewarding select former interns/employees by colluding with them in their various post-Mozilla endeavors.
Definitely speculating. You’re confusing nepotism with outsourcing.
If Mozilla does analytics in-house and uses good practises like it has been until now + differential privacy, and provides ways to opt-out 100%, and doesn’t make money out of data but instead just uses it to improve Firefox, then it is good.
Currently, only the in-house thing needs to be fixed for Firefox for Android (according to SÃ¶ren) and Firefox Focus. 100% opt-out and no money are already realities.
They must make opt-out more obvious on Firefox Focus by popping it up on first use though, it’s specifically a privacy tool after all.
And if it had been opt-in the things I mentioned would be less critical to address, but they would still have to be addressed.
Makes you wonder what they are collecting in the Windows (and Linux) version of Firefox. Well the answer is simple folks. Switch to Pale Moon. Especially since Mozilla will make most add-ons break later in the year.
I rather suggest more something like Otter-Browser or Qupzilla. Real forks still have the issue that you have a hard time to bring over web compatibility fixes which somone like Vivaldi, Brave or Cyberfox or Waterfox does not have at all.
And as QT based projects get constantly a fresh engine update from time to time the developer has only to design the ui and it’s features.
Leaving Firefox out of privacy concerns is odd though.
Any other concern would be fine.
…and again comments that say bad words about Palemoon without having knowledge.
The little Moonchild browser is a great option, even more now.
trust no one…. since long ago that statement has proven itself to be true. Even more true now. Seems impossible right now to control everything, starting from the computer firmware, operating system, application software, then going through internet.
The only thing to be done is:
reduce data footprint, dilute data concentration, spread browser usage among various browsers, create fake information, allow some data leaks but leaks with data you can control and manipulate.
Secure your machine(s) being a libreboot machine a good starting point.
This is because iOS which Apple’ restriction. F*cking Apple rule which you are NOT allowed to use any web engine UIWebView.
This make me very disappointed with Mozilla…..
Seriously? Itâ€™s in Android FF too? My failure for not checking that area of the settings? What about â€˜regularâ€™ users? Maybe should have been opt-in or a notification when you downloaded? I had Ixquick browser in Android, but unfortunately, couldnâ€™t get it again when they went to StartPage.
Mozilla, please correct this. People are upset about all this stuff, especially since the negative Windows 10 publicity, not a smart move. Who wants some adbroker getting your data? It is an in-principal thing. Blocking, blocking, always blocking. Gets tiring, and I think many peoplesâ€™ tempers are fraying. Think about retaining your image.
Wow! What have we here? Oh no! Eyes hazing over with red…anger…must destroy…cannot stop…nooooooo!…not that!…not a rant!…
[b]My take on this:[/b]
For me, this is the last straw. Judging by the mucking about with implementing add-on signing, making it well-nigh impossible for some/many authors of same to continue, then announcing after that that greasemonkey scripts were effectively going to be banned with a change in technical design, and now this data-gathering scam (apparently) using Focus, Mozilla’s direction really does seem to have been seriously compromised from within.
The appearance is one of Mozilla demonstrably having made a steady progress towards making the product into a third-rate proprietary browser, with heavy constraints against easy user self-support, control and extensions, etc., abandoning its earlier objective for openness, extensions, add-ons, scripting by the community, etc. – and apparently all by progressively incremental and deliberate design. It does not seem feasible that this was all done through accident or mistake, but if it had been, then it would amount to a bad case of serial execution errors. One has to wonder why it [i][b]was[/b][/i] done.
In any event and in any normal business concern, by this stage, those currently in control could arguably probably have been given the boot for non-performance, or negligence, or something. They sure as heck seem to have lost or warped or otherwise changed the focus of the Mozilla mission out of all recognition.
Regardless, [i][b]I don’t like it[/b][/i]. I don’t like it that, through incremental changes, my control over my favourite open browser has been progressively wrested from me by the selfsame organisation that I – as a Mozilla community member – had strongly supported over the years – an organisation that, in good community spirit, gave our community that control in the first place. [i][b]As far as I am aware, these changes were not requested or initiated by me or other sincere users, but unilaterally by players within Mozilla[/b][/i] and with no public mention/consideration of the potential future adverse implications for all users and for the original Mozilla direction, and it has been deliberate and going on for quite a while now.
This could rather give an impression that suggests that the Mozilla organisation may have been hijacked for some ulterior purposes, and this suggestion could seem to be backed up by a lot of the BS nonsense and implicit disguised or open bigoted intolerance of alternative views that seems to have come out of Mozilla over the last year or so.
Mozilla would now seem to be effectively in a position of [i][b]dictating[/b][/i] to the user community, paying lip service to, rather than genuinely acting on the user community’s real needs. This has driven myself and many other users away from Mozilla. This would all seem to have been deliberate, and, as i said above: One has to wonder why it [i][b]was[/b][/i] done. I think we should be told.
My main take away from this article is that this is bad journalism work. Mozilla claims that they use the data for product improvement purposes, but the fact that they rely on a technical service provided by a company that’s in the “data collecting and analytics business” makes for a scandal? I don’t agree. It would be preferable for Mozilla to do analytics in-house, and they should respond with an technical explanation of the current setup, but it’s a very thin basis for calling this a scandal.
Agree 100% with Slartibartfarst. Based on a quick reaction without deep contemplation…here we go again with the broken trust. Moz has been deliberately slapping users in the face since Australis, regardless of their high-handed explanations.
Move away, people.
Try Brave, the new browser from former Mozilla founder & CEO Brendan Eich. It’s all about privacy and super fast. It only slows a little bit down if you have too many bookmarks. But patches are on the way and Brave is still faster than Firefox or Chrome. So give it a try! You won’t be disappointed.
It funny how reports will tell you about privacy and security concerns for a web browser, and though some of these reports probably ring true, people need to take into consideration that a web browser will never be 100% safe. There will always be that 1 hacker who finds that open door. All browsers have there own issues and skeletons in the closet. So what you should do is ask yourself do i use a browser that is reported to track credit card info or one that tracks and sells your online browsing? The answer for me is simple if im gonna be alot of purchasing online then obviously im not gonna use a browser with a potential of tracking my credit card history. I would be more concerned about my credit card info than the websites i visit. So do your research and find a browser that meets your requirements, and obviously be careful what you do online. It all boils down to common sense. For me common sense says, i know there are no 100% safe browsers so im probably gonna choose the one that collects and sells my daily browsing over the one that collects and sells my personal information.
Why this article is total BS:
1. Firefox has always had telemetry enabled by default for as long as I remember. Every time I install Firefox on a new computer it displays a warning about reporting anonymous usage data, that I can disable.
2. Firefox Focus has an option to disable telemetry just as with normal Firefox. This option is clearly visible on the single simple settings page in Firefox Focus.
2. Firefox, and Firefox Focus/Firefox Klar, are open source. This means, among other things, that anyone can see exactly what usage data is reported and how it is reported. There can’t be any questions about what’s really being reported or if disabling telemetry actually stops data from being reported. If you don’t trust the binaries provided by Mozilla, compile it from source yourself and compare the resulting binary and the behaviour thereof with the one from Mozilla (this is somewhat technically advanced but nothing that a security researcher can’t do).
Just stop using the word privacy in schools. The word has lost its meaning.
B Y E
This is new for me.
I’m using Firefox Focus for months, and tought the trash icon works well.
Now, after I logged in to Facebook, and later clicking the trash icon to leave, when I come back to Facebook I see I’m still logged in.
Seems dangerous and untrusty for me.
I also verified Focus never suggested URLs at adress bar to me, and now some suggestions looks very pretencious