The next stable version of the Firefox web browser, Firefox 72, includes a new option to have collected Telemetry data deleted.
Firefox, like the majority of web browsers out there, collects Telemetry data. A support page on the Mozilla website highlights the purposes that Telemetry data is gathered for. It includes using technical data to improve performance and stability, but also to measure and support marketing.
Firefox users may disable Telemetry in the browser's Settings. All that is required is to load about:preferences#privacy directly or open Menu > Options > Privacy & Security, and uncheck "Allow Firefox to send technical and interaction data to Mozilla" (which will automatically disable personalized extension recommendations in the browser. Firefox users who don't want the browser to be included in studies may also uncheck that option on the page.
Mozilla will inform users who disable Telemetry in Firefox that data that was collected previously will be deleted automatically. The deletion may take up to 30 days to complete.
Note that the message is not displayed to users if Telemetry is disabled already in the browser.
The organization announced the change on its Net Policy blog. It is a direct response to the California Consumer Privacy Act which "expands the rights of Californians over their data".
While it would have been perfectly fine to make these changes only for users in California, Mozilla decided to roll out the change to users from all over the world.
The organization notes that Firefox is collecting "very little" user data already and that most data it receives helps engineers "improve the performance and security of Firefox".
We call this telemetry data. This telemetry doesn’t tell us about the websites you visit or searches you do; we just know general information, like a Firefox user had a certain amount of tabs opened and how long their session was.
Mozilla already had limits in place in regards to Telemetry data retention but it decided to include the option in Firefox to request the deletion of the data as well. While that is not a direct request, e.g. a button to request the deletion, data will be deleted when users opt-out of Telemetry collection in Firefox.
You can follow the bug report over on the Mozilla bug tracking site for further information on the implementation.
Microsoft implemented a similar option in the Windows 10 operating system back in 2018 that allowed users to view and delete Telemetry.
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