There is now a special page in the Firefox browser where users can see what telemetry data Mozilla is collecting from their browser.
Accessible by typing about:telemetry in the browser’s URL address bar, this new section is a recent addition to Firefox.
The page shows deeply technical information about browser settings, installed add-ons, OS/hardware information, browser session details, and running processes.
The information is what you’d expect a software vendor to collect about users in order to fix bugs and keep a statistical track of its userbase.
A Firefox engineer told ZDNet the page was primarily created for selfish reasons, in order to help engineers debug Firefox test installs. However, it was allowed to ship to the stable branch also as a PR move, to put users’ minds at ease about what type of data the browser maker collects from its users.
The move is in tune with what Mozilla has been doing over the past two years, pushing for increased privacy controls in its browser and opening up about its practices, in stark contrast with what other browser makers have been doing in the past decade.
While Mozilla has had its missteps — most notable being the Mr.Robot add-on incident — the organization has been mostly open in its dealings with users.
Even before adding about:telemetry to Firefox, the organization was listing on its website all the telemetry data types it was collecting from users, and the reasons why.
But besides debugging and staging new version rollouts, this telemetry data is also what powers the Firefox Public Data Report, a web portal showing weekly-updated Firefox usage stats.
However, if users are still uncomfortable with allowing Mozilla to collect even the most basic details about their browser install, they can disable Firefox’s telemetry feature from the browser’s settings section, at about:preferences#privacy in the “Firefox Data Collection and Use” section