29 May 2015

Monica at Mozilla: “Tracking Protection for Firefox”

Firefox Tracking Protection

I believe that Mozilla can make progress in privacy, but leadership needs to recognize that current advertising practices that enable “free” content are in direct conflict with security, privacy, stability, and performance concerns – and that Firefox is first and foremost a user-agent, not an industry-agent.

Advertising does not make content free. It merely externalizes the costs in a way that incentivizes malicious or incompetent players to build things like Superfish, infect 1 in 20 machines with ad injection malware, and create sites that require unsafe plugins and take twice as many resources to load, quite expensive in terms of bandwidth, power, and stability.

Monica Chew

Why is it that, when somebody makes broad, general, statements about online advertising they are praised all over the Internet, but when people take concrete actions against ads – such as using ad-blocking extensions – that’s suddenly the worst crime on the Internet?

For all its declared ‘best intentions’, I’m skeptical that Mozilla can be a leader here, not with its growing irrelevance as main browser and complete reliance on ad revenues, first from and more recently from Yahoo. There’s better hope from Microsoft and , who generate revenues from sources other than advertising.

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