Firefox and Thunderbird are phoning home every 24 hours regardless if update notifications have been disabled in both applications.
This caused some stir yesterday when a post made the Reddit frontpage that informed users about this.
Firefox and Thunderbird are apparently contacting a Mozilla server transmitting information about the IP address, the time, the version number of the product, if any plugins or add-ons are used that are globally blocked and the total number of active users of the software.
While some users might question the reason to transmit some of the data, for example the number of active users, the reason for transmitting it is to make sure that no plugin or add-on is in use that is on the global ban list.
This list contains only five plugins and add-ons currently but it seems to be a way to prevent harm to the products if the user decides to install malicious products.
The five plugins and add-ons that are currently on the blocklist are:
It is possible to disable this feature by setting the extensions.blocklist.enabled to false using the about:config dialog.
I would not disable the feature though unless you are sure what you are doing. The Mozilla team may block plugins and add-ons that are installed on your system using that option. If it is disabled this is not possible and you may end up using malicious or stability-impacting plugins and extensions.
You can check all items that are currently blocked by Mozilla globally on this page.
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