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Firefox Browser Usage and Support Forum

Mozilla Wants All Firefox Users To Update To FF 3.6

 5:50 pm on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0)


Starting today, users running older versions of Firefox will be offered the choice of upgrading to Firefox 3.6. We’re presenting this upgrade offer for our users who may not realize that a new version is available

The offer screen will only appear after 60 seconds of keyboard inactivity to ensure we don’t get in the way of anyone’s activities. If a user declines the offer and later regrets that choice, they’ll be able to get it again simply by selecting “Check for Updates” from the “Help” menu.



 6:02 pm on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Got that "offer" about 20 mins ago.


 7:40 pm on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

web developer addon is struggling to function with 3.6 it shows up and then disappears!


 9:33 pm on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

3.6 ?

When I hit "Check for upgrades I get told that the latest version is "Firefox 3.0.18".

However, on the Firefox product page, version 3.6 is listed as the current one. This is confusing.


 9:33 pm on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

IEtab and vmware consoles appear not to work with this version yet...


 9:55 pm on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Dang, it seems that since FF3.5 they've been upping the privacy infringing surveillance stuff with new geolocation IDs. Including WiFi sniffing:

Code with UniversalXPConnect privileges can monitor the list of available WiFi access points to obtain information about them including their SSID, MAC address, and signal strength.

Source: https://developer.mozilla.org/En/Monitoring_WiFi_access_points
More: https://developer.mozilla.org/En/Using_geolocation


No more Firefox updates for me if I can avoid it. That browser is now a closed book, I'm going to Opera.

Edit: Tried making the links clickable, but I couldn't. I don't know why the URL tag doesn't work with HTTPS


 10:10 pm on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Moreover, it's all thoroughly infected with Google tech and linked back to G HQ:

By default, Firefox uses Google Location Services to determine your location by sending:

* your computer’s IP address,
* information about the nearby wireless access points, and
* a random client identifier, which is assigned by Google, that expires every 2 weeks.

(Emphasis mine)
Source: [mozilla.com ]

From the same page, a bit further down, it appears that the Google client ID is stored in a cookie. So you could clear it by clearing your cookies.

However, that can only be done after Google has already been sent your IP and your "lat-long" lotation. So if you don't want to save that information with Google this will not help at all, as Google is getting this information before anyone else.

Also, despite the language stating the opposite used in e.g. the Google Location Service in Mozilla Firefox Privacy Policy [google.com] this is NOT opt-n. It's on by default (see quote above), so it's opt-out. And it's not exactly intuitive how you should go about disabling it, either.

At the very bottom of the Mozilla page linked above, this disable guideline is printed:

If you wish to disable the feature completely, please follow this set of steps:

* In the URL bar, type about:config
* Type geo.enabled
* Double click on the geo.enabled preference
* Location-Aware Browsing is now disabled

The double click means that you change the default setting from "enabled" (= "true") to disabled ( = "false"). So, again, this spyware is on per default.

This is bad form, privacy-wise. Any delivery of identification information should always be opt-in. Not opt out.

Also, can you really trust this?

I wonder if that information already has been sent to Google before you can type "about:config" in your address bar?

I'm beginning to have serious doubts as I discover how Google infected that Firefox browser is starting to become.

At least, if you use Chrome or the Google Toolbar, you positiveley know that it's a direct full access into your machine and network for the Google Big Brother. However, lots of people are not aware that even when when you don't use a Google-labelled product, they may still be lurking on you.


 10:30 pm on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

While not related to FF3.6, but related to claus' concerns I recently discovered with "netstat -b" in the cmd window my PC's connection to a "1e100.net" address. Found out that this G connection came with the "safe browsing" feature of FF.


 10:45 pm on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Funny they say:
Firefox doesn’t share your location without your permission
while they're already doing it.

 1:48 am on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

I use a Mac PPC, Tiger OSX, and FF 3.6 is badly broken on that platform. You cannot even view an html file through the Mac Finder with FF 3.6.

So I quickly reverted to Firefox/3.5.8 which works perfectly.

Thanks to Claus' notes, I've DISabled the FF geo.enabled snooper, and will NOT be upgrading to 3.6 when they get round to making it Mac PPC compatible.

It's a real shame because I really like FF and the addons.

However, I won't be using Opera either, those guys are as bad as Google.

I wonder if Camino browser is cleansed of Google snoopware?


 2:05 am on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

re: 1e100.net
Why is Google using 1e100.net? [webmasterworld.com]

I wasn't too thrilled with all the notifications to upgrade to 3.6. I tried the upgrade when it first came out and it resulted in half a day wasted with crashes, re-installs and research. FF is too unstable to be my primary browser.


 3:20 am on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Is it safe to assume that NO product or technology exists anymore than does NOT "call home" for one reason or another? My buddies truck even emails him now... bleh!


 3:25 am on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

My upgrade went fine. I did disable the geo.enabled. Only have two add ons so I'm not pushing FF. Wonder if the XP64 SP2 version I'm running might explain no crashes...and that I rarely have more than two tabs open at any time? And that I close/restart FF at least twice a day, morning and noon.


 6:48 pm on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Including my business, friends and family, I'm the goto guy for 24 boxes running everything from XP to Linux and FreeBSD. All of them run Firefox as their ONLY browser. All of them run with no issues of any kind. All of them upgrade with no issues.


 6:54 pm on Mar 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Lol! You guys are funny. You complain the browser is collecting the same information your OS is doing which feeds it to your ISP while you're walking around with a cellphone in your pocket that's been doing more than that for years.

At least, in the browser, you can turn that off but why would you want to? Not only can you get services now, and soon, that uses that stuff but it also means your laptop can be tracked should it get stolen. See Firefound add-on.


 1:13 am on Mar 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

the same information your OS is doing which feeds it to your ISP while you're walking around with a cellphone in your pocket that's been doing more than that for years.

While on the surface those are interesting points (for another discussion), those are only your own assumptions.

First, they are unrelated to the specific issue at hand, hence OT. Second, they are your assumptions, so they might not be true at all.

Third, even if you were right there are differences between Google and ISPs that extends far beyond the company names.

why would you want to?

Honestly, you don't seem to understand the very concept of privacy.

It's not about turning this off. It's about that this should not be enabled by default. You should have to turn it ON, if you think you need it.

There is no need in the world to ask "why" - it's a basic human right to be able to live your life and do what you do with as little monitoring as possible, preferably none at all. The reason doesn't matter. Ever.


 3:36 am on Mar 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

While on the surface those are interesting points (for another discussion), those are only your own assumptions.
They are not assumptions, they are facts. Do you turn cookies off when you surf the web? Do you ever buy anything online? Do you fear for your privacy that retail operations know what you buy and when? Do you ever use a credit card?

What are the differences between the personal data collection with those services and that Google keeps track of what pages you visit to offer you better search? Does Google sell your name and personal data to anyone like the credit card companies and retail merchants do? Has Google ever been caught giving anyone's information away? What information does Google have about you that you did not give them or you feel they obtained without your permission?

Though you call it OT, I call it entirely relevant that one has no concerns about their OS phoning home but calls wifi searching "creepy" even though this is a necessary operation. I guess no one bothered to notice this:
Firefox 3.5 and later support the Geolocation API; this allows the user to provide their location to web applications if they so desire. For privacy reasons, the user is asked to confirm permission to report location information.


 3:41 am on Mar 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I mean, OMG, do you guys think there's some guy in a back room at Mozilla or Google that sits there and monitors your every move along with the 200 million other users across the planet?


 5:11 am on Mar 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I first freaked out about privacy violations when I learned about the way things were going as computer science developed - and because I am getting old now, that was in the early sixties. At this point, I don't see how we can ever put the entire genie back in the bottle. I think there's something here to make peace with, and there is also something that many people still need to know about.

The key issue for me is in the "implicit" information that can be assembled via data mining, rather than the "explicit" data that is directly collected.

This area of online data privacy is a touchy one, and many people hold strong and opposing feelings about it. It's almost like religion or politics, and it's not likely that any of us will change our opinion -- at least not within the duration of one thread.

But it is good, very good in fact, to discuss exactly what Firefox is doing. A well-informed user can make better decisions. (It feels like Thomas Jefferson might have said something like that.)

I think it's a good idea to read the link that appeared earlier in this thread. Here's a sample:

If you allow a website to get your location via this service, we will collect, depending on the capabilities of your device, information about the wifi routers closest to you, cell ids of the cell towers closest to you, and the strength of your wifi or cell signal. We use this information to return an estimated location to the Firefox browser and the Firefox browser sends the estimated location to the requesting website. For each request sent to our service, we also collect IP address, user agent information, and unique identifier of your client. We use this information to distinguish requests, not to identify you.

Google Location Service in Mozilla Firefox Privacy Policy [google.com]

Does it sound like Firefox is pushing this upgrade so strongly so that they and Google can collect location information for mobile advertising purposes? This could well have massive economic value into the future.


 6:18 am on Mar 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm not in panic mode, and I do "hide myself" with due diligence. I am, however, reminded of the days of yore when "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you" was greeted with chuckles (or guns). These days on the web google and, sadly for enabling, FireFox seem in that other role.

I think (personal opinion) the way to do it is:

"Hey, kiddie! We have nifty keen geolocation tools and can find you a wifi. Want us to do it?" and let the kiddies decide. Better would be, in addition to above:

"And to make sure we can do that we'll track all your info but we don't give it away (we promise, really! believe us!) if you'll just say yes."

And we all know the vast majority of the unwashed masses (euphemism) will happily click on that and we're exactly where we are now. FireFox and google knows that.

We live in an age of idiots.


 11:12 am on Mar 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

And to make sure we can do that we'll track all your info
That's not true at all and I wish you wouldn't make things up like that. Perhaps you need to better define "all your info". Some "idiots", as you call them, may start thinking you are saying their personal information is tracked, like name, address, etc. Too often I see such misinformation spread around that is just blatantly false.

 3:55 pm on Mar 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

FWIW, the " geo.enabled; true " appears in FF 3.5.8 about:config.



 8:11 pm on Mar 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

It seems their efforts to get users to upgrade to 3.6 is working.

2 weeks ago [gs.statcounter.com]:
FF 3.6 = 8.68%
FF 3.5 = 17.35 %

Last week [gs.statcounter.com]:
FF 3.6 = 10.97%
FF 3.5 = 15.26%

Today (as of 4:10pm EST) [gs.statcounter.com]:
FF 3.6 = 14.64%
FF 3.5 = 11.16%


 11:10 pm on Mar 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

drhowarddrfine... I'm not splitting hares with you (though roasted rabbit is pretty tasty on the trail). Sufficient data IS collected that will uniquely identify the system (computer, laptop, mobile phone) and thus mark where YOU (or the user of that system) is located. Just watch the very entertaining CSI shows. :)

Odd thing is, as regards fictional technology intrusion into our lives, all too often Hollowood (sic) is right!


 12:18 pm on Mar 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Another issue with Firefox is that if you have the following Firefox Options checked:

located in Tools / Options / Security:

1) Block Reported Attack Sites
2) Block Reported Web Forgeries

Then every website you visit is transmitted to Google for a comparison of what is on their block lists.

Chrome has its issues too. It sends two extra pieces of data “machineid” and “userid” back to Google.


 2:35 pm on Mar 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sufficient data IS collected that will uniquely identify the system (computer, laptop, mobile phone)
Oh? Here [dev.w3.org] is the spec. Where do you see that? Again, while it can find your location: 1) it only does that if you give it permission 2) it can be turned off 3) your cell phone does the same yet you don't complain about it.

@frontpage, IE does the same, or similar, and sends data to Microsoft with both IE and Windows. How else do you get update notices? I guarantee they send far more information than Firefox or Chrome or Google can even access.

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