Mozilla causes stir with opt-out data collection plans

Mozilla has announced that it would like to collect anonymous user data in order to “better understand how people use” Firefox. The proposed move is quite contentious for many users because Mozilla is making it opt-out; many users feel betrayed by the move given that Mozilla touts Firefox as a privacy-oriented browser.

One user responding to the thread views the new plans so seriously that they plan to file a complaint; they said:

“If this will be implemented, I’ll have to file a complaint with the relevant Landes- and Bundesbeauftragten für Datenschutz, and possibly, escalate this to the EU Data Privacy commissioners office … I’d prefer if you’d avoid doing this.”

Mozilla says that this sort of data collection is necessary in order to make Firefox perform better. The browser-maker wants to find the answers to the following questions “Which top sites are users visiting?”, “Which sites using Flash does a user encounter?”, and “Which sites does a user see heavy Jank on?” By using differential privacy Mozilla claims that it won’t be able to make conclusions about individual users thus preserving their privacy.

If Mozilla follows through on their plan to implement this telemetry, which it likely will, those bothered for their privacy will have the extra task of heading into the preferences menu and disabling the data collection.

Source: Google Groups

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