Please do not ship the Cliqz addon (well-known adware in Germany) as experiment

RESOLVED INACTIVE

Status

()

defect
--
major
RESOLVED INACTIVE
2 years ago
10 months ago

People

(Reporter: darkspirit, Unassigned)

Tracking

({nightly-community, privacy})

unspecified
Points:
---

Firefox Tracking Flags

(firefox57 unaffected)

Details

(I am just a Nightly user/community member.)

Cliqz is a well-known Adware from Germany[1] and it was a plague because it was bundled with Freeware installers (for example from chip.de).

There is massive negative feedback[2][3].

Burda (shareholder) has a bad image as german press publisher because of things like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancillary_copyright_for_press_publishers - just because it's a german publisher.

Cliqz has a very interesting technology, but those arguments don't reach users and they wouldn't be strong enough to overcome negative concerns.
Buy them (change the name, make an own (legally public benefit) search engine), or cancel every partnership. Their commercial background plus Burda (even Cliqz itself seems to have good intentions) is source of mistrust.

It has to be Opt-In. Ask in the onboarding tour or show some bubble on about:newtab.

You don't want to ask to enable basic tracking protection while onboarding (germans would love it), instead we can read sentences like 'which evaluates the surfing activities of the users.' In the last year we had enough bad press of dangerous Firefox/Chrome Addons that sell surf history.

At the moment, some users find it useful, but most other users get a negative impression of Mozilla.

[1] https://www.google.de/search?q=cliqz+adware
[2] https://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Firefox-Testlauf-fuer-neue-Empfehlungsfunktion-3852129.html
[3] http://stadt-bremerhaven.de/mozilla-firefox-mit-cliqz-experiment-welches-von-nutzern-automatisch-daten-sammelt/
> Buy them (change the name, make an own (legally public benefit) search engine), or cancel every partnership. 
And it would have to be open source then. Think about crowdfunding.

Another thread:
https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/74n0b2/mozilla_ships_cliqz_experiment_in_germany_for_1/

Updated

2 years ago
Severity: enhancement → major
Component: Untriaged → Releases: Custom Builds
Keywords: privacy
Product: Firefox → Release Engineering
QA Contact: catlee
Version: 56 Branch → unspecified
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https://blog.fefe.de/?ts=a726167b (in Top 10 of german blogs according to Wikipedia)
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Please use the voting feature instead of spaming the comments with +1s.

(In reply to fff from comment #4)
> I definitively agree with the reporter. Very bad publicity and negative
> feedback. Also hit German tech newsmag:
> https://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Firefox-Testlauf-fuer-neue-
> Empfehlungsfunktion-3852129.html
> […]

Please see comment #0 above.
I think a "Sorry, we were wrong and heard your feedback" press release which refers to https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/about/manifesto/ may be helpful. A bit of humility would certainly be a good thing, even you had good intentions. You could combine this with an announcement of doing bug 1387681 (privacy.trackingprotection.ui.enabled;true) and that you want to test if you could enable it by default (bug 1377563) - at least for German users. This would show in what direction Firefox wants to go.
If you really want to promote Cliqz, you could show an "Install Cliqz" button on about:preferences#search or when asking if search suggestions should get enabled.
> If you really want to promote Cliqz, you could show an "Install Cliqz" button on about:preferences#search or when asking if search suggestions should get enabled.

But this certainly would be also perceived negatively. Just showing it in the list of search engines would be the least offending.
See Also: → 1392855

Comment 9

2 years ago
(In reply to Christian Stadelmann from comment #6)
> Please use the voting feature instead of spaming the comments with +1s.

Just for the Users, you has to expand "Details" on Top to Vote.
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Comment 14

2 years ago
I recommend rolling back this change and to apologize. This has already gone viral and it'is becoming PR desaster. And if any of the major IT-news websites/magazines picks this up… let's just say in a normal company people could get fired. You might loose your most valuable user base, the power users and advocates, and that in a country with a very high Firefox user base. 

If you want this test data, advertise on the download page “download firefox“ „download firefox with better search results by Cliqz“ with an explanation of the privacy issues (Cliqz' privacy policy doesn't look to bad and it's open source, only the owning company is questionable).

Ask the user, trust is at utmost importance!

And another thing: make your announcement quick - rumors are always bad, fight them early.
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Please do not post further "me too"s. There are some suggestions how to solve this situation. I think it's clear enough that there is a problem (Opt-Opt, Burda, Adware). Let's wait for Mozilla's response. And please try to find some words that try to explain why Mozilla and Firefox are important to you (some motivational words!), what Mozilla should do better and maybe what you could imagine to do for the non-profit Mozilla: https://input.mozilla.org/feedback

I (just a Nightly tester) would be thankful if you could help testing the amazing Firefox Quantum (https://beta.mozilla.org) and make clear to Mozilla that it is more important than this experiment.
Let's donate (without Paypal :-) to underline this and give a small comment as purpose:
https://donate.mozilla.org/de/ways-to-give#wire
Maybe Mozilla finally thinks about memberships and making surveys among their members.
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Component: Releases: Custom Builds → General
Product: Release Engineering → Firefox
QA Contact: catlee
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Please note: I am hiding your me-toos, not Mozilla. Bugzilla is a place to report problems, not to attack people making ones. You get an assessment, mostly a fix, then you verify the fix and express some appreciation to give motivation. You tell them your perception (no me-too) and may bring up possible solutions (no me-too). If you want to express your disgust you can use the feedback formular, but don't forget to mention why Firefox is important to you. They are friendly people, they see the feedback. Firefox Quantum 57 (https://beta.mozilla.org) and regular updates (please don't disable them) would not be affected by this experiment.
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(In reply to tt_1 from comment #25)
> In the meantime you closed #1392855 for comments because they were not of your liking

Hi, I closed comments in the other bugs, because differently from this one they are technical bugs. I didn't touch this bug that has far more many comments, as you can see, even if it's probably still not the best place to discuss these topics.
Please remember that for us Bugzilla is a work tool we use every day, and spread noise in multiple technical tickets just makes our lives harder for no benefit of anyone.
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Status: UNCONFIRMED → NEW
Ever confirmed: true
Flags: needinfo?(past)

Comment 32

2 years ago
Why is Firefox 57 unaffected. Could you please provide an URL or a commit, that it the add-on isn’t enabled on 10 % of the users? I only found news reporting that the integration is planned.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/7df7n9/cliqz_in_firefox_57/
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(In reply to H.-Dirk Schmitt from comment #33)
>
> declare -r -g -a  _BannedFeatures=(
>     aushelper@mozilla.org

Please note that aushelper is sometimes used to temporarily resolve topcrasher situations (e.g. by disabling a certain feature) until a fix is available or in case of a security vulnerability if immediate response is required.
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(In reply to Paul Menzel from comment #32)
> Why is Firefox 57 unaffected. Could you please provide an URL or a commit,
> that it the add-on isn’t enabled on 10 % of the users? I only found news
> reporting that the integration is planned.

A while ago I filed https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1432048 regarding the privacy statement on the about:rights page which links to the default statement even on Cliqz editions. In addition to stating the the about:rights page is a static page and does not support changing the link to the privacy statement, Mike Kaply from Mozilla stated:

(In reply to Mike Kaply [:mkaply] from comment #7)
> Those funnelcakes were disabled in early November and are no longer being
> served to users. This line:
> 
> https://github.com/mozmeao/www-config/blob/2e0339abbd2696350cb5035b11ee83db69884dce/configs/bedrock-prod.env#L91
> 
> turned them off.
> 
>  I have verified this with the mozilla.org team. I will be having those
> removed from that file.
(see https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1432048#c7)

That change Mike refers to happened on 2017-11-01 (UTC) in commit https://github.com/mozmeao/www-config/commit/32e90e844a138ad1feb3b186ef9470eda4f0e48c, deactivating the distribution of the Cliqz funnelcake experiment. 

And only some hours after Mike Kaply's cited comment the Firefox distribution configurations were updated in commit https://github.com/mozmeao/www-config/commit/03c0fca308e0321eaf120ee87f08fad9621aab65 that got merged into master later on in commit https://github.com/mozmeao/www-config/commit/eb98f086e224ef5923f1c90e878c091319a4f477 on 2018-01-29 (UTC). Visiting the links that still served the v56.0 funnelcake experiment editions before that commit, e.g. https://www.mozilla.org/de/firefox/new/?scene=2&f=120, then just served the standard installer and still do today.

Note: This does not stop already existing Cliqz installations from functioning. I have a working Cliqz edition that still updates like a regular Firefox and also receives updates for the Cliqz extension (Firefox 58.0.2, Cliqz 8.23.3 and Search Volume Modeling 0.4). This only stops new users that download Firefox in Germany from receiving the Cliqz edition.

TLDR:
- The Cliqz experiment distribution was turned off in early November 2017, stopping the distribution when trying to download Firefox using the standard links like https://www.mozilla.org/de/firefox/new/.
- On 2018-01-29 (UTC), the distribution using explicit links to the funnelcake experiment like https://www.mozilla.org/de/firefox/new/?scene=2&f=120 was also stopped.
- Existing Cliqz editions will continue to work and update like a normal Firefox does. The Cliqz extension stays active until the user uses the opt-out methods. Updating Firefox will not deactivate or remove the Cliqz extension.
The chapter of Cliqz seems to have ended, so I should close my report.
Mozilla has massively improved Tracking Protection and other privacy features in the mean time. The efforts with Rust and Servo improve software security and performance to a grade we had not before. They are fighting for the good: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/internet-health/ A big thank you for that!


But now there's a new idea: Advance by Firefox, Powered by Laserlike.
It's 100% Opt-In (advertised by only one press release and nowhere else) and they ask for feedback.

German:
https://blog.mozilla.org/press-de/2018/08/07/advance-neues-firefox-test-pilot-experiment-gibt-relevante-content-empfehlungen/
https://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Firefox-Erweiterung-Advance-empfiehlt-Webseiten-4131351.html
https://www.golem.de/news/mozilla-firefox-testet-funktion-fuer-webseiten-empfehlungen-1808-135901.html
(Offtopic: Some readers might be interested in this: https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/livemarks/)

English:
https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2018/08/07/firefox-offers-recommendations-with-latest-test-pilot-experiment-advance/
https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/95brn8/advancing_the_web_firefox_test_pilot_medium/
https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/95j92s/firefox_experiment_recommends_articles_based_on/

Some open questions:
- If I am not paying, who pays for processing my browsing history and with what intention?
- What are your thoughts about their privacy policy?
    https://laserlike.com/privacy
    "Corporate Restructuring. — We may share some or all of your Personal Data in connection with or during negotiation
    of any merger, financing, acquisition or dissolution transaction or proceeding involving sale, transfer, divestiture,
    or disclosure of all or a portion of our business or assets. In the event of an insolvency, bankruptcy, or receivership,
    Personal Data may also be transferred as a business asset."
  Especially the last five words are worse than, for example, Google - which is well-funded, regulated and were you just
  need to turn off personalization. Do you think it's realistic that Google wouldn't want to pay anymore
  sometime in the future (unless you have destroyed market share or blind trust before)?
- Are you financially desperate or do you just offering irresponsible users to be analyzed a bit more?
  You have half a billion dollar income, more than ever before. Please don't mess with your brand and keep your identity.
  (Two suggestions for saving a bit money: Why can't Focus just be the Private Mode of Firefox? Why do you have
  extremely wasteful banking conditions in Germany? https://donate.mozilla.org/de/ways-to-give#wire (5 EUR/SEPA transfer)
  Please Move to https://bit.ly/2IpqkTe (0.12 EUR/transfer), Netzpolitik.org is customer there, Moz Berlin will know them.)
- Mozilla Foundation: https://blog.mozilla.org/berlin/wie-privatsphaere-immer-exklusiver-wird-und-zwar-ueberall-auf-der-welt/
  Is privacy becoming a luxury? If the Mozilla Corporation advertises a start-up to us where we can upload all our
  history to develop a new revenue stream, then the answer might be yes. I am missing Mozilla's advocacy for data reduction.

(Please do not post feedback here, visit Reddit or https://discourse.mozilla.org/.)
Status: NEW → RESOLVED
Last Resolved: 10 months ago
Resolution: --- → INACTIVE
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