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  • I didn’t know I wanted to be an experiment, Firefox.

    Home » Forums » Outside the box » Rants » I didn’t know I wanted to be an experiment, Firefox.

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    #2377740

    Hypocrisy is my least favourite thing.
    “put your privacy first. Openness, transparency” hahaha.

    In the iOS version 34.2/35 update, only those of us who tap the more button may have noticed the sneaky new experimentation platform.

    “For users who do not want to be included in experiments. . . there is a toggle to opt out.”

    So – open Firefox IOS, back tab to lose the QR code/keyboard blocking the app menu, tap on settings and scroll down to find yourself opted in for “Firefox may install and run studies from time to time”. Hypocrisy is my least favourite thing.

    Inconsistency is my second least favourite thing.
    None of my passwords were updating so I disconnected devices. When signing in through settings, strange instances were created for devices. The iPhone got a device icon with name and a globe with FF build info. The iPad mini got a globe with name and an icon with build info. The iPad Pro only got a globe with its name.

    So I removed the build log-in for the iPad mini and immediately lost access to the Firefox account on the iPad mini, with sync still on. And the icon with build 35 for iPad reappeared, presumably for the iPad Pro. Logging in again to the account settings on the iPad mini, did not add another build 35. Repeat the exercise and iPad Pro lost access to account settings. Disconnecting sync from both iPads did not remove the iPad build instance which I had to remove from the desktop. This inconsistency is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Firefox has been my primary secondary browser for many years. It has been a haven from the depredations of Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome, and Safari. I will withdraw gradually. For now it is still on my iOS devices but blind and not synced. I’m finding it hard to reconcile the partially hidden opt-out system to the warm fuzzy “we are different and better” hype from Firefox.

    hyppolyte

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    • #2377759

      Have you tried Brave browser?

      Susan Bradley Patch Lady

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2377764

        So hard to find services we can trust!  I am using Duckduckgo on IOS. FF on Windows.  I was going to try Brave…..maybe much sooner than later!  I think duckduckgo is (still) ok……

      • #2377888

        Thank you for your suggestion. I have just added Brave Search at Brave Search beta to MacOS Safari and Firefox.

        It was interesting to see the comparison page Brave provides which says that Duck Duck Go uses the Bing search index.

        I had looked at Brave Browser previously and the concepts of payment for ad views and in browser VPN had deterred me from pursuing it. It felt too complicated for me.

        Reading about its origins on Wikipedia at the moment. Recent updates to Brave and the FAQs are appealing.

        hyppolyte

    • #2377760

      So, much like Windows 10 itself  then where you now need a REG file to ‘opt out’ of MS’ experimentation:

      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
      
      ; Allow experimentation - DISABLE
      
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\PolicyManager\current\device\System]
      "AllowExperimentation"=dword:00000000
      
      

      See Allow Experimentation on Windows 10 for more info.

      Hope this helps…

      • #2377787

        Your link is from 2017….OLD and OUTDATED. There is nothing like this in current O&O.

        • #2377868

          My Windows 10 virtual machine with the most current version of ShutUp10 seems to disagree.

          Linux Mint Cinnamon 20.2 | Windows 10 Home 2004
      • #2377958

        See “Disabled Windows 10 Experiments block Known Issue Rollback (KIR) fixes” dated 2021-04-30 which reports that doing this “will also block the Known Issue Rollback (KIR) introduced in Windows 10 version 2004. Specifically, the required fixes can no longer be applied.”

        HP Compaq 6000 Pro SFF PC / Windows 10 Pro / 21H1
        Intel®Core™2 “Wolfdale” E8400 3.0 GHz / 8.00 GB
        4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2377771

      I’m finding it hard to reconcile the partially hidden opt-out system to the warm fuzzy “we are different and better” hype from Firefox.

      Compared to the “we are different and better” of Brave, Vivaldi, Waterfox, etc., Mozilla falls short. Their ham-fisted handling of things like that (and tie-ins like that I, Robot thing) leaves room to be desired, and the experiments that are pushed out without the knowledge of the customer is just one example. If they want to instill trust, they have to do better than just make press releases about being concerned about your privacy, but they seem to think that’s good enough.

      Compared to Chrome and all things Google, the masters of surveillance capitalism, Mozilla is better… clearly so, as I see it, but not as clear-cut on the side of privacy as they could be as far as the “optics” go (to use the political term). I draw a clear distinction between what Google does with Chrome (given that Google’s business model is based on trafficking in personal data) and what Mozilla does (which legitimately is to try to make Firefox better… whether or not it accomplishes that is another question completely), but with the level of suspicion that people rightly have in this era of them being the product, the differences between what they do and what Google does seem to be variations on the same theme.

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      Dell G3 15/3579, i7-8750H/16GB, KDE Neon
      Asus P8P67 Deluxe, i5-2500k/16GB, KDE Neon

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2377780

        IMHO Firefox is getting a bad rap here.  The check boxes to turn off sending telemetry to Mozilla and run studies are plainly visible in the Privacy & Security section of settings.  Or am I missing something?

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2377785

          Actually, I was going to make the same sort of comment.  After I posted my comment above, by chance I noticed the FF app had updated 2 days ago.  (I use DuckDuckGo, but I also have FF).  FF posted notice of experiments in the update. I don’t always read app update notes, but I should. Donna

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2377791

          Yeah.  No browser can be customized for privacy the way FF can be.  But it takes some effort, well worth it effort and the ability to let go of all the FF is lousy memes out there.  OOB, all browsers, except the ones that barely work (Ungoogled Chromium) are about the same from a privacy standpoint.

          Admiring Google’s honesty for saying they’ll steal your data, harass you endlessly and badger you to buy, buy, buy while slamming Mozilla for using the word privacy even though Chrome endlessly spouts off about privacy and security is disingenuous.  Citing Mozilla’s experiments, which can be disabled as anything equivalent to or surpassing Google’s invasive behavior, including all their experiments shows disdain or naivete.

          Mozilla’s annual revenue is decimal percents of Google’s and they’ve received  many millions in funding annually from Google since almost the beginning (can you say Anti-trust defense?).  Silly comparison.

          Brave’s a complete mess, that team has lost focus, they’re pushing a proto search engine and other stuff while the browser still looks like a proto.  If anyone wants a Chromium worth using, provided you spend an hour changing settings, search engines, finding cache deleting extensions, disabling credit cards, making new tabs open where you want, etc, as you should do with all Chromia, try one of the blue ones here:

          https://chromium.woolyss.com/

          The second green one’s Ungoogled Chromium.  Try it, you won’t like it.

          They all have webRTC, can’t block it internally in Chromium.  Brave does not, they block it with a proxy.  FF blocks it natively in about:config, something all FF users should learn.

          Hope the irrational browser wars, with the epitome of screech being Pale Moon fans when FF went to web extensions, as Chromia did long before, don’t start here.  Browsers are free, use whichever you want.  Throwing out the FF baby with the bath water makes litttle sense if Chrome or Chredge are your destination.

          2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2377813

      Use Basilisk. https://www.basilisk-browser.org/

      Also, why are you guys touting privacy and then allowing browsers to update willy-nilly whenever they want? If you just have to have Fx, then use an OLDER version like Fx60.9 ESR. You should always use ESR versions anyway. I use Fx60.9 ESR and it is a fine browser, but I like Basilisk better and I have been using it as my default browser since its inception about 4 years ago. It has all the good stuff from Fx and none of the crap that seeped into Fx in the last few years.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2377843

      Thanks for your replies to my post. All providing food for thought.

      Actually, it was Brian Livingstone’s article :Microsoft Edge imports other browsers’ passwords. that had me on alert. I was already looking more deeply than usual at my Firefox settings.

      I use various Firefox profiles on my computers, but only one is my main synced account. It has containers, uBlock origin, privacy badger and NoScript. These have accumulated over years (and are only available for the desktops).  The settings for privacy and security in the desktop browser are easy to locate and very customisable.

      Firefox on iOS started out as a pitiful third party app with no sync and then disappeared. A couple of years later, Firefox Focus arrived.  Then Firefox by Mozilla arrived. Duck Duck Go and Ghostery for iOS came too. Duck Duck Go is so good at what it does that it has a dedicated spot on my iOS launch bar.

      Yet even Duck Duck Go has partially hidden its full settings. There is the settings icon visible in every page, with basic settings. But there is a deeper level available through the Welcome|Help at Help Duck Duck Go (iOS settings).  I like the setting to reset how uTube is viewed. There is even a setting for saving to the cloud via Amazon S3. But the main reason I like DDG is the flame button.

      Firefox’s latest iOS offering is sneaky because it was put so low down in the change log that it does not show up unless you are scrutinising every update. The settings are not that easy to find and are now definitely not “set and forget”!

      I feel that the experiment setting should have been up front and opt in. There might be some altruistic souls who are prepared to have these “time to time”s downloaded. As I have opted out now, I will never know if Firefox would notify me in the app when this is done. There does not appear to be any level of control over study participation as available on the desktop.

      That being the case, Firefox on iOS still provides a great alternative for Chrome and now Edge as a secondary full browser to Safari. I will likely recant in the next few days and sync again (sans passwords as per BLs recommendation).

      Then I can keep an eye on the inconsistencies in device registrations and how they are affected by future versions. By the way has anyone else experienced these extra device entries?

      p.s. edited reply and it disappeared. Posting again.

      hyppolyte

      • #2377855

        Yet even Duck Duck Go has partially hidden its full settings. There is the settings icon visible in every page, with basic settings. But there is a deeper level available through the Welcome|Help at Help Duck Duck Go (iOS settings).

        Thank you for this link! I didn’t know it existed and felt that DDG settings were pretty sparse!!

         But the main reason I like DDG is the flame button.

        YES!!! me too.  I use it obsessively ; )  I hope it helps to prevent tracking.  I also clear cookies constantly on my laptop.  Just trying to do what I can – though I know I can’t stop or avoid being tracked.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2377876

          Just trying to do what I can – though I know I can’t stop or avoid being tracked.

          What you are doing is going a long way towards that aim. The desire to have an effect is half the battle won.

          I had become complacent with Firefox and really do think it is the best secondary browser for me. I will now be making decisions about its capabilities, particulary when it comes to the syncing. There are some wonderful cookie control settings and the ability to selectively clear history on closing the Desktop browser is really good.

          Duck Duck Go is my search engine in all browsers, and Microsofts nagging in settings home about returning to default of Edge/Bing is bothersome.

          I’ll keep on avoiding being anyone’s experiment.

          Yeah. No browser can be customized for privacy the way FF can be. But it takes some effort, well worth it effort and the ability to let go of all the FF is lousy memes out there. OOB, all browsers, except the ones that barely work (Ungoogled Chromium) are about the same from a privacy standpoint.

          A wake-up call for me.

          hyppolyte

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2377882

            oh and by the way, I even got my very non-technical husband into the habit of using the ‘flame’ button. It’s so easy!  He’s aware of the dangers of being online bc of my constant ‘nagging’.  Otherwise, he wouldn’t know or care – but I’d have to clean up any mess he might get into!!!

            I am really a little appalled at what I see going on with my friends & family members who are completely unaware of and uniformed when it comes to using the internet (same pw on all sites, simple, easy-to-guess pw’s bc they cannot remember, no clue about online safety, on & on), and how to protect themselves. I was just at a friend’s yesterday and I know her devices are loaded with ads & spyware bc she has no clue.  I try to help, I want to clean it up, but I can’t fix it for her.  She just goes anywhere online and has no worries about sites she is accessing.  (She is on IOS device).  I am amazed that they have not been compromised more severely – though they do have issues.  My friend’s husband just had to bring his laptop in bc he had one of those viruses where ‘support’ wants to remote in to the machine.  :d  My mom has had her devices compromised.  My sister renamed her router from something generic to her family’s last name!!  Ok off my soapbox – I’m not immune to any breaches or hacks, but I know more than the average user, try to stay on top of things and I’m concerned.

      • #2377908

        hyppolyte – I checked the site you posted, but I don’t know what I need to change (if anything) or where these settings are located.

        Are you referring to the left-hand navigation pane links?  I went to settings (toward the bottom) and see some default settings there, but I didn’t see anything I thought I need to change.  What did you update and where did you find the settings ?  thanks.  Donna

        There is the settings icon visible in every page, with basic settings. But there is a deeper level available through the Welcome|Help at Help Duck Duck Go (iOS settings).

         

        • #2377917

          Did you get to a page with headings of General, Themes, Appearance and Privacy, Donna?

          I got there from the left hand menu you mention by choosing Settings|Saving Settings and clicking on the link for “Settings Page” in the help page first paragraph.

          iOS DuckDuckGo Settings

          Here is a direct link for iOS app: All Settings for DuckDuckGo . I prefer to save the Help Page as a permanent favourite book mark so I can get to it anytime. The sheer amount of help pages can put me off from doing things sometimes.

          I have not changed any of the General Settings Tab, although turning off the Help Improve DuckDuckGo would be equivalent to turning of “allow Firefox to send technical data etc”.

          The only setting I have used much is on the Privacy tab for Video Playback. If I ever accidentally agree to seeing all videos in native uTube and I want to set it back to the quieter DDG video (no autoplay for example). I set it to prompt then I can choose each time I use uTube.

          hyppolyte

          • #2377921

            thank you that is the page I went to.  I wasn’t sure if there wsa something else.  I didn’t change anything.  But it’s good to know what is there.

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