No Secret Data Project

Those concerned about the “Mozilla Stealth Data Project” should really check out the Data snooping discussion on mozilla.dev.planning.

I think many who has spent some time on the project found that recent TechCrunch post was more an effort to scaremonger and generate buzz, than anything else. I guess one could argue “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. Just my personal $0.02.

I’ll put a few noteworthy chunks of that thread in this blog post for those who don’t have too much time to read, and leave anyone interested to read the entire thread. All of this has been published out in the open on dev.planning today.

From Mitchell Baker, Chairman of the Mozilla Foundation:


Some people have jumped to the conclusion that this means Mozilla would adulterate our core values and the primacy of user control. They assert, or assume, or worry that thinking about data means somehow that Mozilla will simply join the existing model of gathering and commercializing personal data.

This is us not the case.

From Mike Beltzner, “phenomenologist” (I’m pretty sure he made up his own title, but he can get away with that):


– no, there is no secret data project.
– no, there is no secret plan to snoop or collect user data
– no, we are not already secretly collecting data
– yes, we are trying to figure out how we can accumulate better data about how users are using their browsers, and what they’re trying to accomplish; as with everything we do, this starts with public discussion to make sure we do it right in terms of respecting user privacy and our own community ideals – that’s what Lilly was saying.
– yes, any such program would be opt-in, not opt-out

Mozilla Corporation CEO John Lilly blogged about the topic recently as well.

Considering the past efforts to keep user data private, you’d have to wonder when your talking about one of the only websites on the internet to hold public discussions before using Omniture for analytics. (I should mention there’s an opt-out page for that). Not to mention a rather lengthy post from Mitchell about the topic.

So go ahead and download Firefox 3.0 and future releases knowing that nobody really cares if you like to watch videos of gorilla’s doing it. Err… did I say that?

If any data collection is done on users browsing the web. I propose it be done like this, so at least it’s comical to use for research purposes.