Mozilla, Defender of Your Privacy™ And A Force For Good In The World™ presents: an “experiment” that shares your browsing history with a third party to give you a “personalised feed of quality content.”

Note: Mozilla is not a surveillance capitalist. How dare you even think that? Some Of The Best People I Know Work There!™

Also: Mozilla has not and will never continue to get billions of dollars from Google/Alphabet, Inc.

Finally, what are you, a communist?!

HT @ploum

@aral Wow, what on earth possessed the Mozilla team. It's like they found some goodwill and then went "hey, how can we burn all of this to the ground?"

@ocdtrekkie It's almost as if it was an organisation set up by surveillance capitalists and entirely funded by surveillance capitalists to whitewash surveillance capitalism or something.

@aral Is there any reason to suggest any of Advance's data gets back to Google?

@ocdtrekkie Huh? No, as per the copy on the page, it goes to a company called Laserlike.

@aral I would think if Firefox was a plant to whitewash surveillance capitalism by Google, Google would be getting the data.

@ocdtrekkie They are. From the searches. It‘s the default search engine. They’ve paid Mozilla over a billion dollars.

@aral With regards to Laserlike?

Dude, I agree with you about the issues with Google and their sponsorship of things, but you're going full conspiracy nut and now moving the goalposts in this discussion.

@ocdtrekkie Yep, I’m a full conspiracy nut for simply following the money. Have a good life.

@aral There's a big difference between "there's a severe conflict of interest with how much money Google has invested in Firefox" and "Firefox is a secret ploy to whitewash surveillance capitalism".

I'm a little concerned you don't see the difference.

@aral The only thing missing for a full switch to @gnome Web is WebExtensions support.

Once I can get uMatrix, DecentralEyes and Canvas Blocker there, I uninstall Firefox.

@thibaultamartin @aral @gnome hadn't heard of DecentralEyes or Canvas Blocker before, thanks for the references!

uMatrix I recommend and I have done mutliple presentations on it in multiple languages :)


@aral @ploum If Mozilla is not a surveillance capitalist, why does it share our browser history with third parties without our consent? Why has it Google search by default? Why does it work with Cloudflare, that partners with Google?

@KeaW @ploum I guess my sarcasm wasn’t strong enough. I will use more ™ symbols next time ;)

@aral @ploum It was clear, really strong. But probably not for doubters or persons who did not read your former texts. I, non-tech, even had to mention it to a privacy organisation that didn't know and went on advising Firefox. While everyone can find the issues on the net! Also many people still think Google is holy. 😳

@KeaW @aral : I realise that the best ethical decision Mozilla could do is switch to another business model (I would advocate free price, like Wikipedia).

But they are spending so much (and not always and useful thing, like the ongoing gazillion rebranding)

@ploum @aral That is what Jaron Laniers says too. Somehow it has to be paid, but by whom? By the one who uses it.

@KeaW @aral : if you are not paying for it with money, you are paying for it in some other ways. Always. That's simple.

@Shamar @ploum There’s nothing wrong with being naïve; it only means you expect things to be as they should be. The shame lies with those who seek to exploit people’s naïvety.

@aral @ploum

The issue is that, over the years, I have teached tons of people to use Firefox!

@Shamar @ploum Again, not on you, on them for lying to us. We were duped. All we can control is not to be duped again. So ask: who is funding this? Who is behind it? What else are they involved in… what’s the business model, etc.

@aral @ploum I'm not sure if mozilla are a bunch of surveillance capitalists or if they're being coerced by the system to act as such, not that it really matters.

Are there any browsers you can recommend?

@wieke @ploum It must be difficult being coerced with billions of dollars ;)

My primary browsers are Gnome Web on Pop!_OS 18.04, the DuckDuckGo browser on LineageOS, and Safari on Apple’s platforms.


I tried this. It works only on nightly. I dunno, but I assume it is <1% of FF users. And there is a big fat warning telling you what you are about to accept. Like, really big and obvious. They are not hiding it in small print or rewording it... I think, after previous problems from Mozilla (mr robot), this one is done perfectly! And yes, it's gonna fail, vut they are trying....not sure where all this hate is coming from for mozilla

@kokan @ploum “They are trying.”

Yes, Google is trying. Facebook is trying. They're all trying and working very hard. The question is: for what?

1. Mozilla gets all its money from surveillance capitalism.

2. They have no qualms having Google as their default search engine & making billions from them.

3. They have no qualms sharing your browser history with surveillance capitalists.

Mozilla Corporation is a surveillance capitalist and a billion-dollar hypocrite.

@aral Maybe it would be interesting to have an argument with @zyx about that. I'm looking at this from a mere "outside" point of view, have a long history of using #Mozilla back in days where there simply wasn't anything else available, and, actually, even to date I wonder whether there actually are *better* working options. I'm still not very happy with some of the things #Mozilla does, but any other usable #Linux browser I've seen is based on #Chrome ... 😐

@kokan @ploum


@aral @zyx @ploum

@aral @zyx @ploum

I don't get it. i tried to give you best arguments I have and you are twisting my words (BTW, you are also "trying" in what you do:), but you don't reply with arguments, you seem to just constantly repeat populistic overgeneralized statements. All 3 points you are mentioning are like that and are very hard to argue and I will not even try going to that hole with you.

@z428 @aral @zyx @ploum

If you want me to give you brief "for what?" answer, it is - JS, jQuery, firebug, av1, asm.js, rust, let's encrypt... all that came from Mozilla. Gnome web (or whatever big G decided to put in it without you knowing) is just FE built with limited resources and they hardly have resources to solve bugs, let alone experiment. Mozilla is "trying" with experimenting and that's where innovation like abovementioned come. My 2c

@z428 @aral @zyx @ploum

And to keep this argumented, here is discussion is it a browser or an OS: Happy usage of Gnome Web:)

@z428 @aral @zyx @ploum

Ops, sorry, to correct myself, gnome web is FE for webkit, so I guess it is not big G afterall, just other large corporation doing lot of other stuff than web;)

@kokan @z428 @aral @zyx : my take is that Mozilla is torn appart between innovating in the same vein as big businesses and having strong ethical values.

Some, like myself, were believing that Mozilla was championing ethical values (although it must be emphasised that it was never clearly stated by Mozilla itself). The need for those ethical values are evolving and stronger than before (current focus: privacy).

Mozilla current moves looks like, in fact, ethic is not a priority.

@ploum Well, where to start: At first I'm thoroughly annoyed by the current browser market, seeing that practically there's no "real" choice. #GNOME web is nice but not yet ready for prime-time and #Linux only. The majority of other browsers cross all platforms is #Chrome based. And then there's #Mozilla. I don't really trust any of these, but still I do trust #Mozilla or at least #Firefox the most, also because, for #Firefox, there is a plethora of known ...

@kokan @aral @zyx

@ploum ... ways, settings, addons, ... to make this thing somewhat privacy-preserving. My major complaint is that most of these things aren't easily accessible out of the box. On the other side, I see, too, that (compared to five to ten years ago), the way people use "the web" is changing. People come with different requirements. I see that, in example, talking about #Pocket then and now. Yes, I use #Pocket for some particular use cases. I have seen *a load* of arguing ...

@kokan @aral @zyx

@ploum ... about #Pocket by a bunch of people who didn't even bother understanding the use case this platform initially tried to solve. I am pretty convinced, in order to stay relevant to a substantial amount of users (outside the community focussed on privacy, surveillance and FLOSS), #Firefox sooner or later *also* will have to introduce new features catering to todays users and, eventually, different requirements and expectations. I still would ...

@kokan @aral @zyx

@z428 @kokan @aral @zyx : As a huge Pocket fan, I understand your analysis. But I do believe that instead of trying to run the rate race of "today's hype", it makes sens to figure out "how to be relevant tomorrow and offer a value not seen elsewhere ?".

I do believe that "Being ethical and placing user respect above all" will become more and more important. See the success of DuckDuckGo or Qwant, for example.

This doesn't mean having no compromise. This means having a clear priority.

@ploum Yes. That's also my "issue". And I'm pretty much lost about some of the #Mozilla communication efforts throughout the last couple of years. At some point, the most valuable asset #Mozilla (foundation? corporation?) has is users trusting them that they *prioritize* user respect. It is very difficult seeing this getting damaged by what I, at the very least, consider "questionable feature communication". But...

@kokan @aral @zyx

@ploum ... at times I also wonder whether the community is about to cry wolf a bit too soon in situations in which it would require a more nuanced communication and analysis of drawbacks and advantages. The whole DNS-over-HTTPS issue immediately comes to mind. There *are* valid points to it. And *still* it is flawed.

@kokan @aral @zyx

@z428 @ploum @kokan @aral @zyx The thing I *totally* don't get about all the furor around Firefox and Pocket is, if you don't login, it's not collecting anything about anything, so what does it hurt? Personally, I find the cost in terms of privacy of having Pocket know all the articles I'm reading to be non existent compared to the convenience I get from the service.

@feoh Difficult. It seems generally a situation where people tend to see things either "black" or "white", where there either are technology optimists who don't see any risks - or pessimists who only see risks but never accept the use cases or benefits provided by some solutions. We'd both need more trustworthy software again - and more sane, sensible threat models and risk assessments. I don't see any of these, at the moment... 😐

@ploum @kokan @aral @zyx

@ploum ... prefer more independence at some point, but then again let's get real: Let's look at who donated, in example, to the @fsfe : -- there's intel, Google, ... on that list as well. Is this a problem, here? Is this a problem in case of the #Mozilla foundation? *Yes* I *would* feel better without that, I would feel better having an "ethically optimized" browser developed and financially supported by an independent organization that is ...

@kokan @aral @zyx

@ploum ... not subject to any corporate interests. But who could eventually deliver, here? I have no idea. 😟

@kokan @aral @zyx

Supporting them as the only serious player not entirely driven by the profit motive, and pushing for ethical behavior is, tactically right now, still (probably) more effective than trying to build something from scratch.
@kokan @z428 @aral @zyx

@z428 @aral @zyx @ploum I think the whole point of Mozilla is just to move the needle. A world with Mozilla is way better than one without. If Mozilla did not take money from Google the only EFF and FSF would be the only orgs pushing for privacy and nobody is following FSF. My mom knows what Mozilla is and what Firefox is. They build a ton of stuff. Getting money from Google is a good balance. At least some money from Google is put to good use.

@kokan @ploum Is there any other more ethical browser that can stand on it's own feet? Most are Chrome clones these days.

@kokan @aral @ploum people like to fling pool because it’s easy and because they can. Anyone who thinks that any kind of major project can exist without corporate backing in this day and age is living in a delusional fantasy land. We should support Mozilla because they are currently the only major browser on the market that is fully open source and has any kind of market penetration. That’s important for the health of the web and the future of open source

@feoh @kokan @aral : the fact is that they are either incompetent or evil.

Incompetent because at a age of privacy awareness where people try to avoid being tracked, asking people to be tracked to offer a feature which exists in 10.000 places (every social network ever) is probably the dumbest move for an "ethical project".

Alternatively, evil speaks for itself.

But never assume malevolent intentions when stupidity explains it all.

@aral, so far they seemed to be the right choice. What other options would you recommend? Brave? Or go back to Lynx :)

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