Open Bug 1128296 Opened 9 years ago Updated 2 months ago

Add a preference to disable WebRTC entirely


(Firefox :: Settings UI, defect)





(Reporter: ekr, Unassigned)


It would be nice if there was a user preference to disable WebRTC entirely.
Component: WebRTC: Networking → Preferences
Product: Core → Firefox
Perhaps this should be tied to private browsing.
OS: Mac OS X → All
Set media.peerconnection.enabled = false can does this.
Yes, my suggestion is that we create a user-facing preference, not just an about:config.
I'd honestly prefer a solution similar to the little permission popup that appears when a website tries to access the user's webcam or microphone. Just burying a dumb checkbox somewhere in the depths of the preferences window for toggling the about:config setting doesn't really solve the problem. It will still be enabled by default, and so people *still* won't notice unless they happen to stumble across some blogpost or github page explaining the problem.

The problem is that the browser ships with a default configuration that makes it do things no user can reasonable expect a browser to do. That problem is not fixed by cramming yet another checkbox into the 3rd or 4th click level of a preferences window that is already today totally worthless to non-tech-savvy people.

People who understand what the problem is with the current implementation of WebRTC/media.peerconnection know (or will find out easily) how to disable the feature via about:config. People who are not as tech-savvy on the other handside don't know what WebRTC is, they won't have a chance to assess the real impact of this setting on their privacy. These people make up for by far the largest fraction of the userbase, and they deserve a sane default config that does not jeopardize their privacy for the sake of features they probably will never use anyhow.

A setting that would actually deserve such a checkbox would be link and DNS prefetching. Yet, I'm still convinced that those should be disabled by default as well - but that's another topic.

By the way, this bug report does not only affect Firefox, but also Thunderbird.
Severity: normal → S3
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