Firefox 75 includes telemetry that sends data about your default browser settings to Mozilla every day
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Firefox is the second-most popular desktop web browser and with good reason. The browser is highly malleable thanks to the robust extension library available to users. However, Mozilla (the company behind Firefox) has been under heavy criticism the past few years for seemingly anti-consumer and anti-privacy practices.
The key criticism lobbied against Mozilla is its drift toward surreptitious telemetry. The latest version of the Firefox browser, Firefox 75, is a key example of this: Firefox 75 actively reports users’ default browser settings to Mozilla once a day by default.
Collecting user data isn’t uncommon for web browsers, but considering Mozilla’s and Firefox’s histories of consumer- and privacy-focused ethoses, the browser’s steady march towards data collection is somewhat troubling.
This particular piece of telemetry tracking was expected, as Mozilla announced Firefox 75 would include a scheduled task that would “help [them] understand changes in default browser settings” back in March.
Essentially, Firefox 75 collects information regarding a user’s current and previous default browser settings once every 24 hours. For what it’s worth, the data sent is not associated with Firefox’s regular “profile based telemetry data.”
If you’re uncomfortable with Mozilla knowing your default browser settings, turning off the telemetry collection is easy. In Firefox, click on the hamburger menu in the upper right of the browser window (the three lines). From there, select Options, Privacy & Security, and scroll down to “Firefox Data Collection and Use.” Here, you can uncheck the box next to “Allow Firefox to send technical and interaction data to Mozilla.”
While you’re here, you may also want to uncheck the option for “Allow Firefox to install and run studies;” when this option is enabled, it allows Firefox to install extensions and collect data to analyze user behavior. These extensions can be installed without your knowledge or consent, so unchecking this option prevents the extensions from installing themselves.
What do you think of Firefox 75’s new telemetry practices? Is it time to switch to another browser, or is Mozilla well within acceptable bounds? Let us know in the comments.