Mozilla will soon delete Telemetry data when users opt-out in Firefox - gHacks Tech News

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Mozilla will soon delete Telemetry data when users opt-out in Firefox

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.

firefox data-collection telemetry deletion

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.

Firefox 72.0 Stable will be released on January 7, 2020.

Microsoft implemented a similar option in the Windows 10 operating system back in 2018 that allowed users to view and delete Telemetry.

Now You: What is your take on this? (via Techdows)

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Mozilla will soon delete Telemetry data when users opt-out in Firefox
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Mozilla will soon delete Telemetry data when users opt-out in Firefox
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The next stable version of the Firefox web browser, Firefox 72, includes a new option to have collected Telemetry data deleted. 
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Comments

  1. Rustle said on January 3, 2020 at 1:09 pm
    Reply

    How can we independently verify this will happen?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 3, 2020 at 7:36 pm
      Reply

      I don’t think you can. Maybe, you could request your data from Mozilla but then again, you’d have to believe them or verify that as well. At one point, you will have to trust.

    2. michael said on January 4, 2020 at 11:16 am
      Reply

      How can you independently verify anything corporations do?

      The truth is, you almost never can. Everything is built on two things, trust and laws. And laws are partially based on trust, too.

      No one has inspected the food you buy, you have to trust the suppliers with your life.

      Trust alone already works surprisingly often, as many industries aren’t regulated at all, but now with regulations in place the situation with big tech is as good as it will ever get.

  2. Uwe said on January 3, 2020 at 2:22 pm
    Reply

    That’s really great news. I’m already running Firefox 72.0 Build 3 and just checked the adjustments. Already everything opted out.

  3. Yuliya said on January 3, 2020 at 2:28 pm
    Reply

    So the totally anonimised data Mozilla collects about you, all of a sudden they can trace it back to you, and then even claim to remove it within 30 days.
    Do you people still wonder why I fucking hate this disgusting, lying comany?

    1. Tom said on January 3, 2020 at 11:50 pm
      Reply

      No surprise, Yuliya is bashing against Mozilla again… Really, you need a hobby. Or better: a life.

      There is a big difference between collecting personal information (the collected telemetry data are no personal information) and having an unique ID to connect a subset of the data with an anonymous machine. Firefox users can open about:telemetry and they see all the collected data – including the fact that there is an ID. It doesn’t mean that data can be “traced back to you – as a person” at all. Please inform yourself before you write your troll comments…

      and the ability to say that a subset of the data is from a machine A and another subset of the data is from another machine B.

      1. Yuliya said on January 4, 2020 at 9:34 am
        Reply

        This is my hobby, what are you talking about?

      2. Uwe said on January 4, 2020 at 6:08 pm
        Reply

        Not the brightest star in the sky. Tor/Tails are based on FF. Why do you think that’s the way? Think about it…

      3. Yuliya said on January 4, 2020 at 8:45 pm
        Reply

        Uhm, Tor is a protocol, and Tails is a Linux distribution. What are you talking about?
        I may not be the brightest star in the sky, but you’re not even that, by your own logic.. assuming one can call it that.

      4. Uwe said on January 5, 2020 at 5:25 pm
        Reply

        I meant the browser of course.

      5. bkwanab said on January 8, 2020 at 12:01 am
        Reply

        Then get a life. If you don’t like a company, don’t use their products. If you don’t like a product, find one you do. If you can do neither, then write your own. Simple.

      6. Uwe said on January 4, 2020 at 6:02 pm
        Reply

        I fully agree.

      7. Anonymous said on January 4, 2020 at 11:54 pm
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        “It doesn’t mean that data can be “traced back to you – as a person” at all.”

        Every time new telemetry data is sent it can in principle be traced to you as a person through your IP address and other fingerprinting data, and associated with all the previous telemetry data with the same identifier. It is only considered legally non personal data because the company claims not to do that.

    2. Tom said on January 3, 2020 at 11:51 pm
      Reply

      By the way: This is a really good news. Why is it needed to even troll against Mozilla in articles about good news? It says a lot about you…

    3. ULBoom said on January 4, 2020 at 2:29 am
      Reply

      This broken record’s been playing since 2018.

      Hell hath no fury…spurned by Firefox with a rebound leap to Chromium, something Google calls browser based user ad data collection software. Brilliant!!!

      Hollow and pointless; all browsers have to be identifiable at some point in the route so sites receiving requests know who gets the return data.

      So many web addicts’ New Year good wishes have already returned to irrational rage. 2020’s gonna get worse and worse as hidden insidious cyber political manipulations metastasize, turning the web into hell on earth.

    4. Matti said on January 4, 2020 at 3:40 am
      Reply

      We choose the lesser evil, not the greater good. The alternatives are that voyeuristic Google browser, the pustular Edge, hipster Safari, Brave that’s even worse than any of the above, Opera that’s spyware for the PLA, or some Firefox or Chromium “fork” that’s as insecure as that orange baboon in the White House. At least we can neuter FF via about:config and verify via WireShark.

      1. Rex said on January 5, 2020 at 12:53 pm
        Reply

        Don’t use the word fork when you clearly haven’t a freaking clue what it means. Firefox itself is a fork of Mozilla Suite from 2002, which is in turn a fork of Netscape from the mid 90s, ergo that makes it also insecure by your own logic.

        The technical illiteracy of Firefox shills is amazing. A fork of a given software follows its own development path from the fork point and has nothing further to do with the original. It doesn’t matter a damn when the fork happened as long as the software in question is still being maintained and functioning according to contemporary requirements.

    5. Uwe said on January 4, 2020 at 6:40 pm
      Reply

      It’s a pain in the ass trying to “discuss” with uneducated people.

  4. Ken Harrell said on January 3, 2020 at 2:31 pm
    Reply

    I do not see the “Nightly Data Collection” options. Is that because I previously disabled the 3 “Firefox Data Collection and Use” options? Firefox 71.0 Win 10 Pro.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 3, 2020 at 7:37 pm
      Reply

      Nightly is a development edition, these options are not in other Firefox editions.

    2. notanon said on January 3, 2020 at 11:12 pm
      Reply

      @Ken Harrell, “Nightly Data Collection” refers to the BETA builds on Firefox.

      Firefox stable has given users the option to turn off telemetry for quite some time.

      However, telemetry collection on the beta builds (the “nightly”) required telemetry to be enabled, because the beta build are released for testing purposes, and Mozilla wants the telemetry from test builds to help make the stable builds better.

      Apparently, Mozilla is relenting the requirement for the beta builds to send back telemetry.

      Martin probably should have made this clearer in his article, but he assumed everyone is well aware of the differences between the beta builds and the stable builds.

      I hope this clears the “censors” fast enough to answer your question, before too much time passes, & you stop checking the comment section.

  5. Tom Hawack said on January 3, 2020 at 2:41 pm
    Reply

    Quoting the article,

    “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.”

    I don’t understand very well.

    Is it that for those who disable telemetry once Firefox 72 installed telemetry data will be removed but not for those who disabled Firefox telemetry previously? If so,what about users’ telemetry data who have disabled telemetry previously to Firefox 72 but not ever since Firefox telemetry data exists?

    If I’ve been using Firefox for years without disabling telemetry, and decide here on Firefox current version 71 to disable telemetry, will previous telemetry data be removed?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 3, 2020 at 7:30 pm
      Reply

      That is a good question.I don’t know the answer to be honest. You could turn it on and off immediately again to be sure. Maybe the — not yet published — support article provides details. Will probably go live when Firefox gets released.

      Mozilla stated that it deletes the data automatically after a period though.

      1. Anonymous said on January 4, 2020 at 4:14 am
        Reply

        Maybe everyone’s data is rotated out after 30 days???

  6. arthur c. claarke said on January 3, 2020 at 2:58 pm
    Reply

    Okay cool.. now how would they delete the data when my telemetry ID changed because I switched profiles multiple times?

    Blocked that tripe since years now before it can even collect. To think a database forgets is naivety grand.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 3, 2020 at 7:35 pm
      Reply

      According to Mozilla, data is deleted automatically after a period of time.

      1. arthur c. claarke said on January 9, 2020 at 12:11 am
        Reply

        That’s actually quite reasonable of them. Thanks for the update!

  7. Bravo said on January 3, 2020 at 4:47 pm
    Reply

    first thing I do when I install Firefox…uncheck them boxes..

  8. Marcin said on January 3, 2020 at 6:09 pm
    Reply

    Firefox 72 will also delete userJS ability, without any option.

  9. Amy said on January 3, 2020 at 6:19 pm
    Reply

    So this sounds like that they must collect pii or they wouldn’t know what to delete? If it was opt-in instead of opt-out and they didn’t hide parts in about:config then they wouldn’t have had any work to do.

  10. Ngamer01 said on January 3, 2020 at 6:28 pm
    Reply

    All the telemetry data is just used for advertising and selling the data to buyers. Mozilla says they use the data to guide how to produce Firefox, but if that was true, we wouldn’t have lost the customization options that was a defining feature of Firefox to become a Google Chrome clone.

    Truth is, Mozilla no longer cares for their users and if they try, they’re just using you as an ulterior motive. They might as well leave OSS, go closed source, and use the Chrome/Chromium engine. It’s just a matter of time.

    Maybe one day somebody can remember its purpose like they did when fighting off the monopoly Internet Explorer 6 had. Cause we’re back in that era with Chrome holding the monopoly now.

    1. Anonymous said on January 4, 2020 at 5:25 am
      Reply

      How is your CPU data used to sell to you? You’re wrong

    2. Anonymous said on January 5, 2020 at 12:11 am
      Reply

      “All the telemetry data is just used for advertising and selling the data to buyers”

      Not all, but it happened with the browsing data they collected from the Cliqz experiment, that’s true.

      “They might as well leave OSS, go closed source, and use the Chrome/Chromium engine. It’s just a matter of time.”

      I doubt that they’ll do that.

  11. WilberzHorse said on January 3, 2020 at 6:52 pm
    Reply

    There needs to be a what’s changed in the Firefox about:config configuration settings article that’s published with each new Firefox “Stable” Update version that lists what’s been added and what’s been removed and what’s been moved around/renamed or outright removed in order to make it hard for Firefox end users to stop all Popups, Auto Page-Refreshes, Update Nagging, etc.

    One of the reasons that I’ll take my time updating to any new Firefox “Stable” release is vetting all the changes to about:config in Firefox as more features are removed from about:config and the update nagging is one that’s needing some restraints once again.

  12. MisterAl said on January 3, 2020 at 6:54 pm
    Reply

    All of a sudden my Firefox on Android stopped remembering cookies and I don’t know why? Is anybody else experiencing this problem?

  13. Anonymous said on January 3, 2020 at 9:46 pm
    Reply

    Thought this was about the telemetry that gets saved locally even if opted out “in case you want to opt in in the future”.

    1. Kincaid said on January 4, 2020 at 11:42 am
      Reply

      +1 Yes, I was hoping for this too.

      I would like to see an option in the preferences UI to stop collecting telemetry data altogether. It might even improve performance a little.

  14. ULBoom said on January 4, 2020 at 2:40 am
    Reply

    That’s part of it, there are many about:config settings related to data collection.

    I’m not sure telemetry data more than a few weeks old is good for much. Telemetry’s been off in my browser for a few years and I switched to ESR in 2018 because the release channel was so buggy; I’m guessing my data is about useless.

  15. Kincaid said on January 4, 2020 at 11:47 am
    Reply

    I would be willing to submit Firefox telemetry data to Mozilla if I could select which categories to transmit. Some of the data is too specific for my taste.

    Until this is implemented, I am not submitting any telemetry data. Once this is implemented, I’ll probably start submitting telemetry data to help them.

  16. John C. said on January 4, 2020 at 11:52 am
    Reply

    Despite my having done everything I could to stop Firefox 71 from calling out at startup, it still was doing so. I was able to account for some of it, but not all of it. I finally gave up on the program and went with Pale Moon, which I have configured to not call out at all on startup. Besides, I can run all my favorite legacy extensions.

  17. nedarata said on January 4, 2020 at 12:40 pm
    Reply

    all telemetry should be only as OPT IN
    how to push this in EU?

  18. John said on January 4, 2020 at 3:12 pm
    Reply

    I still feel like applications collecting data without explicit permission is over the line. Having to manually go out of my way to disable these types of features is not respecting the end user.

    1. Anonymous said on January 4, 2020 at 11:38 pm
      Reply

      Exactly. And Mozilla above all, because they pretend to be a beacon of ethics, must be blamed for doing that.

  19. Sidney said on January 5, 2020 at 2:31 pm
    Reply

    Firefox will never improve. Telemetry data is important to debug crashes and errors.

  20. notanon said on January 6, 2020 at 12:21 am
    Reply

    Firefox is the best browser.

    Chrome users (including Chromium based browsers like Microsoft Edge, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi, etc.) will be forced to watch ads/infected with malware injected ads, when Chrome enforces Manifest v. 3 sometime in 2020.

    Pale Moon was serving Malware from their official servers in July 2019, & some idiots still use it. Pale Moon is based on Firefox 38 ESR, LOL, we’re on Firefox 71 right now. Wanna bet Firefox 38 ESR has a TON of security vulnerabilities, since Mozilla doesn’t patch it anymore? Anyone using Pale Moon probably already has rootkits, trojans, malware, viruses, etc. install on their computer, making it a nice soldier for a hacker’s botnet army.

    Waterfox was already forced to fork into 2 versions (the “classic” version based on Firefox ESR 55, & the “current” version that doesn’t support XUL add-ons). The XUL Waterfox branch will become a bug-ridden, virus infected, rootkit infested, trojan ready, malware browser, because Mozilla doesn’t patch Firefox ESR 55 anymore (Firefox 68 ESR is the current version). Waterfox developers want to wean their user base to Waterfox current, when the inevitable mass malware infection of Waterfox Classic occurs.

    TLDR – Chrome users will be cucked with unblockable ads, when Manifest v. 3 is enforced by Google sometime in 2020 & Waterfox/Pale Moon XUL add-on browser users will become malware infested, & probably ransomwared out of existance, when ransomeware targets become scarce & they have to target ordinary internet users rather than large corporation/government agencies.

    1. nonaton said on January 6, 2020 at 10:31 am
      Reply

      Firefox is the best, Chrome is the best, Pale Moon is the best browser…

      Windows is the best, Linux is the best, macOS is the best OS… no… Classic Mac OS is the best.

      I have the best opinion. You are wrong.

      1. notanon said on January 6, 2020 at 4:59 pm
        Reply

        @nonaton, I backed up my argument.

        You’re just a babbling idiot.

        Post facts, not stupidity.

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