Mozilla considers tracking Firefox browsing habits

Written by Tim Smalley

May 20, 2008 // 12:19 p.m.

Tags: #browsing #data #firefox #habits #mozilla #snooping #tracking

The Mozilla Foundation, the organisation behind the Firefox web browser, is considering tracking its users’ browsing habits on a voluntary basis.

Last week, Mozilla’s CEO John Lilly revealed that the organisation was working on a project known internally as ‘Data’ – a project that is said to collect data on users’ browsing habits if they chose to opt into the scheme and provide anonymous usage statistics to anyone who wants the information.

The key insight is not so much that rich clients or web sites are able to collect information about what people do, but rather that this data is one of the most important pieces to faciliate [sic] understanding (and innovation), and is also one of the most under-explored areas of the modern web,” claims Lilly on his blog.

There remain worlds of information about how people use the web that are locked up and not currently shared,” he later added.

I’m not sure how you feel about this data being collected and freely distributed to anyone who wants the information, but as recent history suggests, anonymous data isn’t always as anonymous as you’d hope – I’m sure many of you will remember AOL’s “slip up” in 2006.

I can’t help but feel this is more than a little creepy – but somehow others don’t see that side of the coin. Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, for example, claims that this “could be just what the Internet needs” – I’m not so convinced. Share your thoughts in the forums.

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