Firefox version 126 introduces search data telemetry collection and enhanced copy without site tracking option

With the latest version of Firefox for U.S. desktop users, we’re introducing a new way to measure search activity broken down into high level categories. This measure is not linked with specific individuals and is further anonymized using a technology called OHTTP to ensure it can’t be connected with user IP addresses.

Let’s say you’re using Firefox to plan a trip to Spain and search for “Barcelona hotels.” Firefox infers that the search results fall under the category of “travel,” and it increments a counter to calculate the total number of searches happening at the country level.

Here’s the current list of categories we’re using: animals, arts, autos, business, career, education, fashion, finance, food, government, health, hobbies, home, inconclusive, news, real estate, society, sports, tech and travel.

Having an understanding of what types of searches happen most frequently will give us a better understanding of what’s important to our users, without giving us additional insight into individual browsing preferences. This helps us take a step forward in providing a browsing experience that is more tailored to your needs, without us stepping away from the principles that make us who we are.

We understand that any new data collection might spark some questions. Simply put, this new method only categorizes the websites that show up in your searches — not the specifics of what you’re personally looking up.

Sensitive topics, like searching for particular health care services, are categorized only under broad terms like health or society. Your search activities are handled with the same level of confidentiality as all other data regardless of any local laws surrounding certain health services.

Remember, you can always opt out of sending any technical or usage data to Firefox. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to adjust your settings. We also don’t collect category data when you use Private Browsing mode on Firefox.

The Copy Without Site Tracking option can now remove parameters from nested URLs. It also includes expanded support for blocking over 300 tracking parameters from copied links, including those from major shopping websites. Keep those trackers away when sharing links!

FeelzGoodMan420,

Easily toggled off in the settings. This is a big nothing-burger. Come on people…

It’s the same setting you use to turn off general telemetry. Chances are you’ve already disabled this. So can we stop crying about it? Literally nothing changed if you already turned telemetry off in settings.

Ilandar,

I’m not inherently against anonymised and aggregated data collection by services and organisations I support. I understand that it is difficult to compete in the tech industry without this, and in the case of Firefox I believe it is very important that they continue to survive as a mainstream alternative to Google’s market monopoly (even if things are trending in the wrong direction). I also understand that opt-out makes a lot more sense than opt-in for this kind of tracking, since opt-in would significantly reduce and skew the amount of data they had access to and limit its ability to improve the product. However, I think their explanation here is a poor one:

Having an understanding of what types of searches happen most frequently will give us a better understanding of what’s important to our users, without giving us additional insight into individual browsing preferences. This helps us take a step forward in providing a browsing experience that is more tailored to your needs, without us stepping away from the principles that make us who we are.

Again, I understand that it’s not always possible to provide an explanation that is as transparent and detailed as some users may want, but you need to do better than this. I am struggling to see how my browsing experience can be improved through this type of data collection. I don’t want or need a browser that is “tailored to my needs”, and that type of language sounds privacy-invasive to me. If you genuinely believe that what you have planned is going to improve my experience then you need to do a better job of explaining that before you ask me to provide more data.

OfficerBribe,

This also stood out to me, but then I remembered this weird question asking how people are using Firefox for shopping. At least based on that thread it seems FF management have disappointing and unnecessary future plans similar to Pocket acquisition.

Ilandar,

That’s a good pickup. Definitely something to be watching out for in the future.

LWD,

It looks like they’re just searching for people who will respond positively to their foregone decision to add the Shopping tool. I don’t know how else to read that post, especially with how the team is interacting with the responses.

(Is that AI-generated spam in the replies too?)

nfsu2,
@nfsu2@feddit.cl avatar

Oh FFS, we want to tailor you experience? Totally unnecesary and how would that make my browsing better?

OfficerBribe,

Bunch of clueless management folk think everything must be personally tailored and become your best friend or something.

dukethorion,
@dukethorion@lemmy.world avatar

Where’s the “Just use FF” Bros on this one?

piracysails,

Can be easily disabled.

Also, forks.

barsquid,

The first part sounds like when Windows users are discussing Start Menu ads, the second part is legit.

piracysails,

I mean, true, but settings will not be reset after an update.

Zekas,

Most didn’t even pay attention because this outrage is too cringe.

Pacrat173,

I switched to librewolf.net a bit ago

NuVault,

This has been my main browser for some time now. I love it.

Bipta,

First 90% of post: We collect more data now

Last 10%: Also here's a feature to prevent other companies from collecting as much data

stormesp,

The Apple way, we are not going to let other people collect your data… because we are the only ones that can do that.

Scolding0513,

Also doesnt describe the details of how they do it, as if they dont care

CalcProgrammer1,
@CalcProgrammer1@lemmy.ml avatar

Mozilla is a for-profit company and is bound to enshittify just like any other for-profit company. Tracking, ads, and a focus on unnecessary bullshit like Pocket and recommendations have long indicated that Mozilla doesn’t give a shit about the user. They want to shove AI in the browser just like all the others. Unfortunately, the best browser is still Firefox, but at least use a privacy focused fork like LibreWolf that also strips Mozilla’s other bullshit away rather than using Firefox straight up.

Zekas,

Mozilla corporation (for profit) is FULLY owned by Mozilla Foundation (non profit) and is to reinvest its profit in the projects. Say what you want about the telemetry but no need to lie.

stormesp,

So much for privacy? I understand they say they only do this in broad terms and without tracking specifically, but i dont think a browser tracking this kind of data from their users is fair, if not i would just be using chrome.

Saying that you can just disable it is the cherry on top, something like this should be opt in, not opt out

ItsComplicated,

All companies are going to track you one way or another. This is our reality. We can hope for no tracking laws, which will most likely never happen, or, never use technology, which is not an option for the most part.

Not a great place to be, imo.

barsquid,

We can at least avoid this end by using FOSS software. Anyone who doesn’t like this can switch to the Librewolf fork.

The other end is harder, we’d have to obfuscate IP and get rid of fingerprints. The second you need an account for anything you can be tracked again, tho.

pelespirit,
@pelespirit@sh.itjust.works avatar

The moment they started collecting your bookmark history and hiding it really well is when I knew they were heading towards the dark side. I don’t think they’re they’re there yet, but I might be naive about it.

Ilandar,

All of their telemetry is opt-out. This is nothing new.

jaspersgroove, (edited )

What’s the point of making it opt in when only the most paranoid users are going to be concerned enough about this to opt out

“We came out with this new feature to help us improve our product, but we’re deliberately kneecapping it on day one by making it opt-in” lol

If you are that paranoid about your data just go use Tor through a vpn already

stormesp,

Wow, you really went and edited all your posts on this discussion several hours later to try to not look as stupid as you were? This is some reddit level shit lmao.

jaspersgroove,

I’ll be sure to add any future comments as new replies in order to maintain compliance with your imaginary rules that wouldn’t matter even if they were real lol

Canary9341,

“You most likely would have agreed, so why bother asking for your consent?”

jaspersgroove,

Ah right, makes sense. I take it you read the EULA in its entirety before you ever downloaded Mozilla in the first place? Because if you didn’t, you missed the part where you gave them permission to do exactly that.

Canary9341,

Lawyers love that trick.

jaspersgroove,

There’s no trick to it. If you don’t agree with the terms of service, feel free to not use the product. There’s dozens of other free web browsers out there if you think you can find a better one.

Canary9341, (edited )

Any other contract in everyday life would be invalid under these terms; consent must be affirmative and informed. “I have read and accept the terms” is a crude lie that should be illegal but is tolerated for convenience, and which allows to justify all kinds of abuses.

The mozilla case is even worse, because they’ve even bragged about how they respect affirmative consent by asking their users if they allow telemetry (they’ve never really fully complied), and about being respectful of privacy in general. They deserve to be criticized for it, and that’s what people are doing here, but your responses of “if you don’t like it go away, the competition is worse” only legitimizes bad behavior.

jaspersgroove,

Ok, so stop using their product.

stormesp,

Oh yeah, the classic “most people will not care se we are not even going to ask them, an entry in our blog no one reads will do”.

jaspersgroove, (edited )

You explicitly gave them permission to do so when you agreed to the EULA at the time you downloaded it. If you have a problem with that, feel free to delete Mozilla and move on with your life. Mozilla doesn’t owe you anything.

stormesp,

https://lemm.ee/pictrs/image/cfa71348-cc67-4873-a8f0-5a867758fe5c.webpThats how you sound.

Maybe we can discuss when a company does something completely inmoral that goes against what they say they stand for?

jaspersgroove, (edited )

Yes…the multimillion dollar…open source…non-profit…company…

By all means, go screaming your discontent to every corner of the internet. Let me know what that accomplishes for you.

You can bitch about shit outside of your control or you can deal with it and move on with your life. Your choice.

Better yet, put your money that you didn’t spend on Mozilla where your mouth is, grab the free source code to Firefox that literally everybody has access to, and make your own web browser that works however you think it ought to.

Of, you could go use Tor if you’re so addicted to that “shit-quality browser that nobody outside of dark web users puts any work into because they’re the only people that make any money off it” vibe

stormesp,

Haha, remind me again why we are all in a lemmy community about firefox if you feel that any complain at them is “screaming your discontent at every corner of the internet”. Is that bitching lmao? Did anyone mention Tor or do you have a weird hate boner against it or need to attack something else to protect the multi million dollar company?

jaspersgroove, (edited )

Because it came up in my feed and I felt like commenting? Do I need a better reason? I’m not protecting anybody, I’m just pointing out basic shit about how the world works lol.

Mozilla is free. And like any other service on the internet, when it’s free you are the product. This is internet 101 shit. If you have a problem with that, uninstall the program and move on with your life. I just used tor as an example because you all seem to be incredibly worried about the privacy you get from a free program lol. If you want maximum privacy without spending any money, that’s what you should be using

hydroptic,

You’re not wrong, you’re just an asshole

jaspersgroove, (edited )

And I am perfectly fine with that. Beats being yet another internet slacktivist bitching about how the shit they’re being given for free isn’t good enough.

hydroptic,

And I am perfectly fine with that.

You wouldn’t be an asshole otherwise. Maybe some beautiful day you’ll realise being an insufferable twat might not be the best approach to life, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

jaspersgroove, (edited )

If me being an asshole to other assholes makes those assholes think I’m an asshole, I guess me being fine with it instead of doubling down and pretending like there’s only one asshole in the room is the only thing that sets me apart lol

I didn’t say anything rude to anybody until people started coming my way with hostile smartass comments. Life is too short to be nice to assholes anyway.

LWD,

Tor is Firefox, why are you calling it “a shit-quality browser” while defending Mozilla so hard

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