Feeds

Mozilla explains user-tracking proposal for Firefox

Telemetry has no UUID, Metrics Data Ping might

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

In a story published yesterday your humble Reg writer wrongly confused Mozilla's Telemetry project with the open-source outfit's so-called Metrics Data Ping proposal. Mozilla has been in touch to clear things up.

The org's global privacy and policy boss Alex Fowler kindly explained the differences between the two systems to us.

"The Metrica Data Ping proposal is not Telemetry. Telemetry is a component of Firefox that collects anonymous browser performance data for around 200 data points. It's voluntary, doesn't include a universally unique identifier (UUID), and is under the user's control," he said.

As we noted in our earlier piece, the Telemetry project that transmits data via secure encryption was slotted into Mozilla's browser, Firefox 7, in September last year.

Fowler continued:

The Metrics Data Ping is currently a proposal under consideration to understand usage statistics. The proposal is to begin collecting a limited data set of fewer than 30 non-personal data elements in a statistically valid approach.

The current thinking is for the ping to be opt-out and introduce a UUID to enable longitudinal analysis. Users would be provided notice of the data collection and how it will contribute to the stability and performance of Firefox, the ability to view the non-personal data collected, and also to opt-out of the collection.

In addition, the team is developing other privacy-enhancing sampling techniques to further limit the collection wherever possible.

Mozilla works in the open and we are under active discussions about various approaches to determine how to measure Firefox usage so that we can improve the features and performance for all users.

As with any Mozilla project or offering we will make sure that if the proposal is integrated into Firefox, it's in accordance with the Mozilla's Privacy Principles and gives users complete control over their data.

Our original story wrongly suggested that a proposal had been put forward for Telemetry to have the longitudinal analysis UUID loaded into it. However, it is in fact being mulled over for use with Mozilla's Metrics Data Ping.

Thanks to those readers who got in touch to point out the errors in that story, and we sincerely hope this piece clarifies Mozilla's current position on tracking users online.

The outfit's privacy policy is here, while the public and sometimes fiery discussion about the Metrics Data Ping proposal can be viewed here.

It's a debate well worth getting stuck into. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
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.
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.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.