A prominent member of the Mozilla Foundation is urging Firefox users to ditch Google in favour of Microsoft's Bing - citing privacy concerns.

As reported over on Ars Technica, Mozilla's director of community development Asa Dotzler has used his personal blog - speaking purely for himself and not for the Foundation - to warn users that recent comments by Google's chief executive officer Eric Schmidt represent a major concern for the cause of privacy on the web.

In the blog post, Dotzler points to comments made by Schmidt stating that "if you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place" on Google and that "search engines -- including Google -- do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."

Incensed by the off-hand way Schmidt dealt with concerns regarding privacy from his users, Dotzler made the interesting move of encouraging Firefox users to switch their default search engine to Microsoft's Bing via a handy add-on that does just that. In a topsy-turvy world where Microsoft is the good guy and Google the bad, Dotzler points out that Bing's published privacy policy is much more robust than that offered by Google.

Although the comments came from a personal rather than professional perspective, they still represent a departure for a Mozilla Foundation member: for years Firefox has defaulted to Google as its default search engine, and the Foundation makes around 97 percent of all its revenue from referring searchers to Google's site.

Do you agree with Dotzler that Schmidt's comments regarding privacy are concerning, or is privacy on the web an overrated concept? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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