Feeds

Mozilla explains user-tracking proposal for Firefox

Telemetry has no UUID, Metrics Data Ping might

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
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

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.