Firefox Nightly 81 with integrated Pioneer v2 data studies module is now available

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 22, 2020
Updated • Aug 24, 2020

A recent Firefox Nightly update introduced native support for Pioneer v2, an updated version of Mozilla Firefox's voluntary data sharing feature. One of the core differences to version 1 is that version 2 is integrated in the browser whereas Pioneer v1 required the installation of a browser extensions.

Mozilla notes on the official Bugzilla listing:

Pioneer v2 will be integrated into Firefox, with the ability to have either built-in features or add-ons engage with the user for the actual data collection piece.

Firefox Nightly users who open about:pioneer in the browser's address bar see the introductory page and the option to join Pioneer.

firefox pioneer 2

Mozilla limits participants to users from the United States who are at least 19 years of age at the time of writing. To join Pioneer v2, users have to click on the "join pioneer" button in the desktop version of the Firefox web browser. They may answer a "few" demographic questions, and may join studies that Mozilla presents to them.

Users stay in control according to Mozilla which means that they may join or leave studies using the about:pioneer page or by using the Pioneer icon that Mozilla displays in Firefox.

You probably wonder what is happening to the data. The following, according to the page in Firefox:

Pioneer puts your data to work for a better internet. Our goal is to better understand topics like internet usage, online privacy, algorithmic bias, discrimination, and misinformation. This in turn can lead to new products that fundamentally change the tech landscape and hand more power and control back to users.

Mozilla promises that users "known the information" that it plans to collect before it is collected, that it prioritizes the securing of the data and protecting the privacy of participants, and that users may leave the program at any time and that Mozilla will stop collecting data when that happens.

A demo study is displayed on the page that highlights its purpose and what Mozilla will collect (in this case, the date and time). The Pioneer page links to a Mozilla Support page designed to provide additional information to users, but it is not available at the time of writing.

Firefox users who don't want to participate in automatic studies can open about:preferences#privacy to disable the "allow Firefox to install and run studies" option that is enabled by default.

Closing Words

Pioneer v2 is an opt-in program that is open to users from the United States only at the time of writing. It is very likely that the program will be expanded to other regions in the future. The described goals are very general in nature and it may come down to individual studies to better understand Mozilla's intentions with certain studies. Since users are in control, it is up to the user to join or leave studies. (via Techdows)

Firefox Nightly 81 with integrated Pioneer v2 data studies module is now available
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Firefox Nightly 81 with integrated Pioneer v2 data studies module is now available
A recent Firefox Nightly update introduced native support for Pioneer v2, an updated version of Mozilla Firefox's voluntary data sharing feature.
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  1. Mouse said on September 1, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    It’s called “Mozilla Opt-in” which means it’s on by default and the user can jump through hoops and maybe turn it off, until the next automatic update Mozilla pushes and turns it back on.

    If it’s on by default and I have to take action to turn it off I would call that Opt-Out. Mozilla uses a different dictionary than normal people.

  2. Let_Mozarilla_rot said on August 25, 2020 at 6:03 am

    So now we know at least one of the directives G0Og gave to Mozarilla to keep them alive for 3 more years with the newly signed deal. US only and right before the election. The G0Og lap dog get unleashed to gather more user’s data and fight “the misinformation”…

  3. ULBoom said on August 24, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Big deal. This stuff’s done by most everyone all the time; ignore if it’s annoying.

    US only? Because USA is so thoroughly messed up at the moment that we’re the only ones who won’t prosecute Mozilla as an invasive species?

    1. m3city said on August 25, 2020 at 9:20 am

      It a dual opt-in to say so, for god’s sake! First you opt in by downloading a nigthly version, then opt-in the pioneer. Does it bother you? Then have an ESR version and move along. Let’s be happy if FF improves due to the fact that some of us participate by allowing to share usage data.

  4. Then said on August 23, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Right, this is where the coding effort goes while babbling on about privacy and virtues.

    This and external telemetry tasks is why you resist telemetry and studies or arbitrary code. Its too late when this crap gets a foothold and expanded.

    Contextual data mining has been an interest for years at mozilla, pocket was integrated with the activitystream cancer, which you cant turn off, only block the network end-points if youre lucky. Everyone fell for the marketing that it was some cool bookmark thing. They lied.

    Data mining is the only viable way to monetise a browser, this crap gets worked on and integrated for 1 reason, money. When the current dns is deprecated, addons and settings restricted, you will not be able to stop this crap or block tracking/ads, itll be too late.

    It was stated in the letter about the layoffs and restructuring that mozilla was doubling down in this direction. Firefox is unsafe to use, its full of crashes and memory leaks (0-days) and your data is at risk from this del-boy corp.

  5. Herman Cost said on August 23, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    As long as it is easy to opt out, it does not bother me much. If you are worried about nannys and Ministry’s of Truth and things like that (which we all damn well should be), save your ire for the Facebooks, Twitters and Googles of the world who actually have the power to do a tremendous amount of harm.

    1. Iron Heart said on August 23, 2020 at 6:04 pm

      @Herman Cost

      Small addendum: I think you are gravely mistaken if you think Mozilla can’t do harm based on their size / market share. They have the potential to do tremendous harm, unfortunately. When Google goes all in in regards to censorship, Mozilla will, too. This deprives people of an easily accessible alternative to Google. Browser development ain’t cheap, so having a well-funded freedom-loving alternative would be desirable. That being said, not all is doom and gloom, I think it should be possible to remove whatever Mozilla means to introduce here, and to otherwise keep up with their (desirable) patches.

      I fear we are entering into an era where browser developers will be morally obligated to censor certain websites. Calling it now, if you maintain a browser that is neutral in the future, i.e. a browser that simply doesn’t care which websites you access with it, you’ll be seen as “empowering the far right” and treated accordingly. Neutrality can’t exist in a deeply divided society, where the “If you are not for us, you are against us!” mentality reigns supreme. Sad days we live in.

    2. Iron Heart said on August 23, 2020 at 5:52 pm

      @Herman Cost

      I don’t think this is about platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube… Those have dedicated censorship teams that ban you for wrongthink already (de-platforming). I think this initiative of Mozilla has independent websites in mind, you know, the ones you can’t just report to a moderator. Those will be flagged and banned from within the browser itself as a substitute.

      Now, I am not exactly a fan of the ideology Mozilla means to fight here, but I am not a fan of their ideology, either. I am solidly moderate, a classical liberal (a dying breed in a deeply divided society, I know). As such, I am concerned about the limitation of basic human rights, and about one political group trying to subjugate the other – this is usually a sign of totalitarianism.

      “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – commonly attributed to Voltaire

  6. Zahra ayat said on August 23, 2020 at 7:46 am

    can someone please tell me what is the best version of firefox which respects privacy for its users the most?

    1. Matti said on August 23, 2020 at 7:10 pm
      1. Iron Heart said on August 24, 2020 at 7:18 am


        No version of Firefox is “secure”, and this is just a tweaked version of Firefox.

    2. Iron Heart said on August 23, 2020 at 10:38 am

      @Zahra Ayat

      Waterfox Current. If you insist on using official Firefox: Firefox ESR

      If you use Firefox, have a look at user.js files like this one:

      Browsers that are not based on Firefox, with good user privacy: Ungoogled Chromium, Brave, to a lesser degree Vivaldi. Bromite is very good on Android.

      Here is my own setup (Brave Browser in this case), including some browser extensions I deem essential (the extensions also apply to Firefox):

      This might also be of interest to you:

      1. Zahra ayat said on August 23, 2020 at 3:33 pm

        since i am blind,
        and i use nvda screen reader in general.
        the accessibility is the very important factor for me.
        vivaldi, brave and waterfox are are all accessible and usable by screen reader users thanks God.
        but, my laptop is from 2006 and i cant use and install 64 bit windows and chromium and chrome based browsers.
        i observe overheating for my laptop.
        i use windows xp,
        and i have only firefox 52 on it and torbrowser 7.5.6 which i hate tor really.
        if i can use windows seven one day at least, which version of firefox is the best for me?

      2. Iron Heart said on August 23, 2020 at 5:41 pm

        @Zahra ayat

        Well, on Windows XP there is not much choice, sticking with Firefox 52 ESR is probably your best bet. Upgrading to Windows 7 or newer would considerably widen the spectrum of browsers available to you. Firefox (with modifications), Waterfox, Brave, Vivaldi etc. are fine. Chrome, Edge, Opera should be avoided, if possible.

      3. Zahra ayat said on August 24, 2020 at 5:36 am

        hello again.
        yes, i know that the best browser for me is firefox.
        the most customizable web browser, the most accessible for screen reader users, and it has everythings that i need thanks God.
        but, i wish to know which is the best version of firefox in respecting the privacy of its users?
        thanks so much for your time for helping me, i pray for you, God bless you!

      4. Iron Heart said on August 24, 2020 at 7:22 am

        @Zahra ayat

        No version of Firefox necessarily respects privacy out of the box, you can modify all of them with a user.js file, though. Here is one, for example:

        Waterfox Current is a Firefox fork that has better default privacy, I can recommend this, as well. But then again, as long as you are on Windows XP, sticking with Firefox 52 ESR is your best bet. Windows XP can’t run anything more recent.

        Thank you for your kind words, god bless you too.

  7. Anonymous said on August 23, 2020 at 4:02 am

    Last time I was told if I had so many feelings about Firefox I shouldn’t use it, funny how some people trying to defend Firefox and Mozilla call it feelings while it is clearly facts. This is another proof that Mozilla doesn’t care about users, all their talk about privacy is just not true. But the worst is how some people believe all the nice and sweet talk from Firefox and Mozilla about privacy and and they also justify it with the fact that some stuff might be opt in, and other you can just turn it off by modifying the about:config and all that.
    I just made a simple search first result was “Firefox Privacy The Complete Guide” and you have to turn so many things and do so many things to get privacy by the company that makes the browser that it just makes me wonder how all this people live like in a Stockholm syndrome and can’t get out. The conclusion of the article was: “In my opinion, Firefox remains the best all-around, mainstream browser on the market for privacy when it is modified as recommended above” I mean, if you have to modify so much and opt-out so much and do so many things, then… what a nice browser!

    Imagine the people who will opt-in this garbage and trust a company with their information a company that clearly supports censorship. and while they said on the FAQ blog post when Brendan Eich was fired… ehhmmm “let go, but we offered him a C-leVeL PosITIon” (I just like to remind people how BS this company is) they say how they are not social activist organization and all that, but if you see recent events they lied and they don’t care, they don’t even care to lose users like happened when they send a push notification to people to join their support on a censorship campaign against Facebook, because apparently facebook is not censoring enough and doing weird crap.
    So imagine… trusting your company YOUR INFORMATION and then let them build some garbage to address what? misinformation and ethical AI and ironically? and what they are going to do about it, get rid of it? or the users? so much for free and open internet for everyone… we already made it clear that’s not true. But they even have the nerve to mention ‘data privacy’ while grabbing data from users, it’s like a joke.
    Some people will just say since it is opt-in then who cares. but it is just becoming worse and worst every new day with this company.

    They really believe they can fix the internet and make it better. Fewer users and they still are this power freak company that used to be relevant and decided to crown themselves and put themselves in the as the savior of the internet. And they can’t let it go, they have to keep doing all this to “fix the internet” because it has to be for some, not all. And they want to do it at all cost, even if they need to force telemetry on everyone’s browser by default or as an opt-in program embedded in the browser, because without Mozilla or Firefox internet will be worst and full of misinformation, and data privacy issues etc etc.

    This looks more like a joke, every new day a new joke by Mozilla and they really don’t care.

    1. raccoon said on August 29, 2020 at 5:58 pm

      >Brendan Eich was fired… ehhmmm “let go, but we offered him a C-leVeL PosITIon” (I just like to remind people how BS this company is)

      Really good point. Homophobes don’t deserve second chances. It’s so hypocritical of Mozilla to do that.

  8. Stan said on August 23, 2020 at 1:42 am

    They don’t realize they’ve become useful idiots. ;)

  9. i_wish said on August 23, 2020 at 12:22 am

    “Our goal is to better understand topics like internet usage, online privacy, algorithmic bias, discrimination, and misinformation.”

    I’ma stop you righttt there, but are they like… building a database of wrongthinkers/wrongthinking websites?>_> Thinking bout what will happen when their studies show them that a user frequents websites with “algorithmic bias, discrimination, and misinformation

    1. Iron Heart said on August 23, 2020 at 10:47 am


      Would it surprise you if they did? I could see Firefox adding a disclaimer before it “allows” you to access certain websites, until this is done away with and access is denied outright. If you ask me, politics have no business in a browser – the browser is just a window to the Internet, it shouldn’t have a say in what I can or can’t access. That’s like giving my monitor a say in which TV channels I am “allowed” to watch, this is just insane.

      But hey, they did push their own political stance on users already via notification (on Android), resorting to more extreme measures is just the next logical step for them. And people still wonder why I am not exactly unhappy about this browser going the way of the dodo…

  10. 12bytes said on August 22, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    yet another exercise in stupidity by the corporate clowns that are “Committed to you, your privacy and an open Web” and who “puts people before profit”.

    for more, see here:
    The Mozilla Monster –

  11. Iron Heart said on August 22, 2020 at 5:33 pm

    > One of the core difference to version 1 is that version 2 is integrated in the browser whereas Pioneer v1 required the installation of a browser extensions.

    Wow, this is pathetic. More spyware within the browser itself, this should have stayed an extension (and even then it is problematic). But hey, we are talking about the same company here that includes hardcoded trackers with Firefox on Android.

    > Pioneer puts your data to work to address some of today’s most pressing technology concerns, like misinformation (…)

    So, Mozilla’s pro-censorship initiative rears its ugly head again. Seriously, censorship is inherently contradictory to a free and open internet which Mozilla claims to promote. I can see why their standing with the privacy community is not as good as it once was, people who are interested in privacy are also interested in free speech, most likely. Mozilla put themselves in a precarious spot there, a problem of their own making.

    I wonder when the concept of thinking adults was lost on society. I don’t need a ministry of truth to categorize the news for me, labeling them “fake news” or legit, depending on what is convenient at the time. I don’t need a nanny, neither Mozilla nor anyone else, thank you very much.

    1. m3city said on August 25, 2020 at 9:16 am

      Just don’t use it man. Like so many people told you, pass on to chrome and be happy. Do you feel abandoned by mozilla, betrayed or sth?

      1. Iron Heart said on August 25, 2020 at 10:05 am


        Also, do you consider it acceptable for a browser to censor stuff on its own? If so, worrying.

      2. Iron Heart said on August 25, 2020 at 10:04 am


        Try to apply some logic. Me using it or not doesn’t change a thing. They are still in the pro-censorship camp with or without me. I am fighting this nonsense wherever I see it. I would oppose this in Chrome (which I don’t use, either), too.

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