Feeds

Mozilla phancies doing a Phorm

Firefox - your friendly data snooper

SANS - Survey on application security programs

The Phorm bug is spreading. The idea of collecting a user's browsing history and flogging that data doesn't just appeal to ISPs. The Mozilla Foundation, the people behind the Firefox browser, want some of that action too.

The Foundation is officially a tax exempt non-profit - but still manages to pay its chairperson $500,000 a year. Executives last week confirmed they are working on a project referred to internally as "Data". This would gather anonymised data on a voluntary basis, and provide the analytical information for anyone who wanted it.

But recent history reminds us that "anonymised" data is anything but anonymous. Meanwhile, bugs in the bloated browser have blown supposedly "private" data wide open.

Mozilla claims Firefox has around 170m users, which means it has more users than the largest ISP outside China. So it's easy to see why the temptation is there.

"There are worlds of information about how people use the web that are locked up and not currently shared," tootles Mozilla CEO John Lilly.

But what's a non-profit web browser doing building in a data-gathering infrastructure? It would be creepy if we discovered say Nokia putting stealth recording equipment into its handsets. But this is creepier still.

Michael Arrington, who Nick Carr described as the "Madam of the Web 2.0 brothel", thinks it's a great idea.

"The potential is huge. Tell them in the comments below and on Lilly's blog how much you want this to happen," he urged in the Washington Post.

(You can't trust Web 2.0 evangelists with privacy, we've noted before. People forget that AOL's notorious data leak was not accidental, but intentional - a gift to the hive mind. For some network utopians, the biggest regret about the scandal was that we wouldn't see more such gifts.)

Cryptome puts it more succinctly - "Firefox Ponders Suicide". ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
OpenBSD founder wants to bin buggy OpenSSL library, launches fork
One Heartbleed vuln was too many for Theo de Raadt
Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor
Leaker claims big release due this fall as Microsoft herds us into the CLOUD
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
Why HELLO Amazon! You weren't here last time
Patch iOS, OS X now: PDFs, JPEGs, URLs, web pages can pwn your kit
Plus: iThings and desktops at risk of NEW SSL attack flaw
Next Windows obsolescence panic is 450 days from … NOW!
The clock is ticking louder for Windows Server 2003 R2 users
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Red Hat to ship RHEL 7 release candidate with a taste of container tech
Grab 'near-final' version of next Enterprise Linux next week
Apple inaugurates free OS X beta program for world+dog
Prerelease software now open to anyone, not just developers – as long as you keep quiet
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.