Feeds

Mozilla phancies doing a Phorm

Firefox - your friendly data snooper

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

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". ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.