Software

You are the one per cent if you read Firefox's privacy spiels

So Mozilla's going to give them their very own Tab, perhaps ahead of opt-out slurping

By Simon Sharwood

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Fewer than one per cent of users installing the Firefox browser bother to read the fine print regarding privacy, so the browser's makers at the Mozilla Foundation are going to put it in your face.

Firefox 56, due September 26th, will therefore display the browser's Privacy Notice as the second tab after new installs of the software. That notice will be prettied-up to make it more comprehensible.

Mozilla's also spelled out its approach to privacy in greater detail, in part because it recently unified the two data collection mechanisms in Firefox. The Firefox Health Report was always on by default, with a second Telemetry service now an opt-in affair. Firefox now uses a “single system called Unified Telemetry that has aspects of both systems combined into a single data collection platform and as a result no longer have separate preferences, as we did for the old systems.”

Speaking of those preferences, Mozilla says plenty of users stumbled upon them inadvertently thanks to its Privacy Info bar, a feature it's binning because it users to the preferences where they fumbled about and made changes that “impacted browser performance without understanding the consequences.”

All this is being done in the name of giving users more information about how Mozilla collects data from Firefox users. As the second post we've linked to explains, some uses of that data are floated in Google groups or discussed on Bugzilla. Those sources are not designed with the average browser user in mind, so Mozilla also employs “data stewards” to review other requests.

Those folk apply a four-step test to consider data access requests.

Mozilla's sudden burst of posts on privacy less than a month after it floated the idea of making Firefox telemetry collection opt-out instead of opt-in. Might its new openness be paving the way for that change? If so, it's an interesting way to arrest Firefox's falling market share. ®

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