Skip to comments.Did You Know that Mozilla is Hijacking the Internet?
Posted on 08/13/2013 9:53:16 AM PDT by ShadowAce
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the incredible spectacle of the European arm of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) attacking Mozilla on the grounds that the latter had "lost its values" because it insisted on defending the users' rights to control how cookies were used on their systems.
Now, given the barrage of mockery from all sides that this monumentally daft tactic has provoked, you might have expected wiser counsels to prevail, and for the IAB to have crawled into some quiet little corner in the hope that people would stop making fun of it, and just forget about the whole sorry incident.
But no. Instead, the IAB is back with a new assault in the form of a full-page ad placed in Advertising Age (and also available online for your delectation [.pdf]) that is bigger, better - and barmier.
Under the restrained headline "Keep Mozilla from Hijacking the Internet" we read:
Now, I was really grateful that the IAB led with this nugget, because until reading that paragraph, I was labouring under the delusion that it was all the search engines I have used - first Lycos, then Altavista, followed by Google and now Startpage - that enabled me to find stuff that I was interested in. But now I see the error of my ways: in fact, I learn, it was thanks to those little cookies, helpfully sprayed across my system, that I've been locating all this stuff. Who knew?
The same helpful people from the IAB have bad news for me:
But Mozilla wants to eliminate the same cookies that enable advertisers to reach the right audience, with the right message, at the right time.
Naughty Mozilla. Oh, but hang on, actually, that's not what Mozilla is doing. Instead, it just wants to control the flood of cookies from sites you haven't visited that are currently being dumped on your system - so-called "third party" cookies. Here's a good explanation of what's going on here:
Any third party players are peripheral to the transaction and may add value but their primary purpose is something other than the sought-after good or service. These third parties are more like the flier guy who walks around the parking lot while you shop and puts discount fliers for his car dealership on everyone's windshields. (Wow, zero down, $169 a month?) He's not stocking shelves or bagging your groceries at the grocery store, but is still a peripheral part of the whole grocery shopping experience.
So there's no question of Mozilla eliminating cookies in general, just of giving the user control over those annoying advertisements that they stick behind your digital windscreen wiper when you visit a digital supermarket.
Anyway, back to the IAB's analysis:
Mozilla claims its in the interest of privacy. Truth is, we believe its about helping some business models gain a marketplace advantage and reducing competition.
Er, are we talking about the same Mozilla? You know, the one that is an open source project that has probably done more to defend users and the open Web than anyone? That one? Because I'm afraid I find it hard to square my knowledge of that particular bunch of altruistic coders with IAB's evil company "helping some business models gain a marketplace advantage and reducing competition".
I mean, Firefox was expressly created to increase online competition; part of Mozilla's credo is that everyone should be free to use the Web as they wish - and that includes all kinds of business models. So the idea that it is not actually defending privacy by giving users control over their Firefox brower, but is somehow involved in some nefarious plot to undermine the entire online ecosystem is, to put it mildly, barking. Maybe the IAB is living in a parallel universe?
Right now consumers have control over whether they receive interest-based ads through the Digital Advertising Alliances self-regulatory program.
Yes, the IAB is definitely living in a parallel universe - one where people have actually come across this Digital Advertising Alliance's self-regulatory program(me). Because I can honestly say that in nearly 20 years of wandering the Web, and far too many hours spent online every day (as my Twitter, identi.ca and G+ followers know only too well), I have never encountered this fabled Digital Advertising Alliance's self-regulatory program(me), much less know how to use it to control the ads I receive. And if I find myself in this woeful state of ignorance, that rather suggests that not many other people using the Internet have come across or use the Digital Advertising Alliance's self-regulatory program(me) either (has any reader come across it, I wonder?)
Indeed, I think the IAB has made a bit of faux pas here. By bringing up the Digital Advertising Alliance's self-regulatory program(me) as an existing "solution" that supposedly renders moot Mozilla's plans to tame third-party cookies - a programme that as far as I can tell is used by very few people - the IAB has actually underlined the fact that there really is no viable alternative to Mozilla.
Finally, I feel that I must point out that the image used for the ad discussed above - a laptop chained up with a padlock - is both ignorant and insulting to the hundreds of thousands of people who have contributed to the Mozilla project over the last 15 years. Mozilla has dedicated itself to freeing the Web and its users from a monoculture that threatened to destroy it - it's hard to think of a less appropriate image.
And if the IAB is truly concerned about who might be weighing down our computers and taking away our freedom with hundreds of tiny files that spy on us everywhere we go online, and worried about who is really hijacking the Net's amazing commons - which Mozilla played a huge part in nurturing - it might want to take a look in the mirror....
I like Firefox. Unless some tech geek FReepers have a good demonstrable reason to be against it, I’ll continue using it.
I use Firefox, I like it, I recommend it, and I will continue to use and support it, this up is down, left is right, dark is light propaganda not withstanding.
Freedom is Slavery Alliance?
This IAB sounds like something out of a communist propaganda bureau somewhere. Or even a parody of one.
The open source, you're in control aspects of Firefox get the owners one of these.
I use Firefox exclusively since I put Ubuntu Linux on this computer. It is the only O/S that has ever been on this particular HDD
Advertising is getting so intrusive, vulgar, loud, and minefield-like my wife wont buy anything she remembers as ‘advertised’....and that goes for me too. We have so few opportunities to vote with our pocketbook today you have to take advantage of the few left.
I’m guessing that the IAB feels that since the GOVERNMENT can monitor everything, they need to get in on the action.
In the meantime, in your “Privacy” options, you can turn third-party cookies off manually right now. But the default setting accepts them. . .now.
All Mozilla is doing is changing the default option to “do not accept third-party cookies”. And the advertisers are having hissy fits worthy of Obama himself!!!
given the choice, I’d prefer the bottom one -
low maintenance; no huge staff to pay; calmer waters; total control;
Oft times, less is more
The last least problematic FF version I have found is 15.0.1.
After 15.0.1, Flash conflicted, add-ons conflicted, PDF files would not download, etc.
I tried the ESR version. I tried the FF22-Portable.
Each one had it own set of conflicts with other things.
Mozilla rapid release insanity is creating a browser that used to be good but it now more buggy than Netscape 4.7 was.
I don’t mind it...i go between it and chrome
hate googles influence though
Netscape? Wow, blast from the past. LOL!
I’ve noticed that some news sites, such as many in AUstralia, will not permit reading content without allowing cookies.
It strikes me as VERY odd.
To take a contrarian point of view - I don’t see advertising as *inherently* bad. I think of it a bit like lotteries. Lotteries are said to be a tax for those that are bad at math. If you don’t play the lottery then, in a sense, those that do are paying your way when it comes to certain things. If you watch a TV show that is sponsored by Sham-wow and others buy the Sham-wow but you don’t - they’re in effect, paying your way.
Secondly, there are definitely things like concerts by favorite artists or books by favorite authors that I would really like to know about. Or maybe there’s a new restaurant that you would like to try out that’s nearby to somewhere where you’re going. Or maybe some product you were going to buy anyway is being sold for half-off this weekend. I’d argue that all of these types of info are possibly useful.
Sometimes the ads themselves are just great entertainment. For example today I just watched the Geico Hump Day camel ad several times. I also love the etrade baby ads. And I’ve never used either product. But love their ads. (I can do without their Gecko, however).
Obviously advertising can and does crosses the line and becomes annoying, relentless, in your face, and what’s more uses subterfuge and dubious and devious means to achieve its purpose. And these third party cookies appear to be that.
I’m only saying that advertising *per se* is not evil.
I think advertising, despite not being inherently bad, can become mad
A discussion of FF add-ons (Disconnect, DoNotTrack, Ghostery) that block Web trackers is available at Windows Secrets:
But I need to be in control of it, and not directed away or distracted away from the content I went to the site for in the first place.
Firefox is better for flash-type media such as youtube and downloading vids, but more prone to crash or lock up than opera as well as causing the rest of the system to stumble. Probably because so many websites are loading up with more and more bloody annoying graphics and popup ads, not to mention trackers and site statistic analyzers for marketing analysis. Now if I can just find a decent website provider that will not make unrealistic demands when I try to establish a homepage...
Well, a voluntary system established by the advertisers doesn't really count, and for a couple reasons. It was probably written to advance the interests of those who paid the writers, and since you didn't write it, that's not YOU. How do you know that the "opt out" provision isn't just playing dumb about the ads it sends you while still invading your privacy just as much as before? In fact, privacy protection should be on the UPstream end of the pipe, not the downstream end, where they already are in possession of the information and simply promise to ignore it. Yeah, right. Second, what the hell is with everyone assuming they have the right to create default-in opt-OUT systems? Who are they to be creating an additional burden on people who simply want what they always had in the first place? Make the people who feel there's value in the spying to sign up. Why shouldn't the people "benefiting" be the ones to put out additional effort, rather than those who just want to be left alone?
So am I to believe that Mozilla has become more powerful and influential than Google, of whom we have already been told is trying to control the internet?
One must put this all in perspective, because 10 years ago I remember the news was that Microsoft was trying to control the internet, and before Microsoft it was yahoo.
Personally, I think the one’s trying to control the internet are the ones who control the government. Regardless of which party, or which politician is in power at the time.
Not odd...just how the business model works. They provide the content in exchange for some people clicking on an interesting ad here or there to cover their expenses for producing, designing, hosting the content.
Taking steps to counter-act or remove the marketing means there is 0 chance you will generate any revenue for them, so they don’t want you on their site, wasting their bandwidth.
Does that make sense?
It makes sense that I will gladly not go to their site.
One big flaw of the Internet and the browsers is that they are allowed to not only write to your private computer, but also read what others have written, all of that without your permission or knowledge. You say that’s the price you pay? Hell, most people with computers don’t even know that it is the price they pay, as watchers of the idiot box would know that having to put up with commercials is the price they pay.
And hey, nobody is “paying my way” by buying the products advertised, while I go to the kitchen to fetch another bottle of Staropramen. As one of my college profs edumacated me, the TV stations don’t sell me anything, after all I’m not paying them $$$ (over the air TV, for argument’s sake) what they sell and collect real money for from the advertisers is my time, D’UH!
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