tedster - 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.
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.