Feeds

Mozilla phancies doing a Phorm

Firefox - your friendly data snooper

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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". ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.