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Songs on the Security of Networks
a blog by Michał "rysiek" Woźniak

IceWeasel and Privacy

This is an ancient post, published more than 4 years ago.
As such, it might not anymore reflect the views of the author or the state of the world. It is provided as historical record.

Some time ago, Mozilla decided to implement a Do Not Track feature – a nice idea in this age of pervasive outright spying by more and more Internet entities on us mere mortals. That was soon also implemented by Microsoft IE team, which is great news (by the way, you gotta love how both links give directions on how to enable Do-Not-Track in the rival’s offering).

Problem, though, is that it’s not enabled by default in Firefox. And it’s not that visible and easy to enable for the regular Joe.

So why doesn’t Mozilla make it enabled by default, one might ask? Basically, they say, if everybody does it, it won’t work, because it’s supposed to be “personal choice”. Well, to that, I would say, that it should be the other way around – I should be asked and given a chance to decide if I want to be tracked, instead of having to find an obscure checkbox somewhere in the Preferences not to be tracked.

But then it dawned at me: in Debian (and a few other distros), instead of Firefox, we get IceWeasel (due to a complicated copyright issues I won’t go into here) – a Debian-run re-branding of Mozilla Firefox.

So, you probably already see where this is heading. If Debian is already re-branding Firefox as IceWeasel, why not make the sane, privacy-enhancing decision and enable Do Not Track by default? It’s just a single checkbox to flip. Whaddya say, Debian et al?

Yes, I submitted a bug report via mail, waiting for it to show up.
Update: The bug is now on-line.