11.01.19

Age of Digital Deception: Startpage, Mozilla and the Linux Foundation Are Enemies of Your Privacy

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Search, Servers at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

For the time being use Searx, available under the GNU Affero General Public Licence version 3

There’s Whitewashing, Greenwashing & now also Privacywashing
Reference: There’s Whitewashing, Greenwashing & now also Privacywashing

Privacywashing memeSummary: Mozilla’s biggest income source is still ‘surveillance capitalism’ (Google), the Linux Foundation is in the pockets of ‘surveillance capitalism’ (to ‘whiten’ the practice) and Startpage has been handed over to ‘surveillance capitalists’ (System1); the business model is leveraging personal data (secrets) to manipulate/oppress people

Mozilla’s privacy issues have long been documented here. Mozilla loves talking about privacy, but anyone who has paid close enough attention is aware of all those scandals and ‘accidents’ or ‘gaffes’ (i.e. times Mozilla got caught red-handed and then changed course). We covered similar privacy issues associated with DuckDuckGo and recently Startpage as well (System1 took it). What about “Linux”? Well, many are aware of the “scopes” scandal of Ubuntu/Canonical (we wrote about that too) and a few other things, e.g. Linspyware. The Linux world, not to be mistaken for GNU, does not guarantee privacy. It barely even speaks about the subject.

“The Linux world, not to be mistaken for GNU, does not guarantee privacy. It barely even speaks about the subject.”There are ‘fashionable’ buzzwords for spying, along with euphemisms like ‘telemetry’ or ‘data science’ (making these seem like some sort of scientific research project). But that’s not the subject of this post. Days ago we wrote about the Linux Foundation‘s participation in 'surveillance capitalism' businesses, which are also funding it as “members” (clients). So far this week we keep seeing lots of puff pieces and keep stock/track of it all at Tux Machines. This latest one from Packt Hub says that “the Linux Foundation introduced a new policy around the collection and usage of telemetry data.”

“This kind of openwashing merely serves to associate “Linux” with evil.”They mean ‘monetisation’ (exploitation and sale), as the Foundation itself puts it in the site. It’s ‘surveillance capitalism’; it’s a classic! That’s just surveillance being whitewashed by the Foundation and it is embarrassing to Linux. It disgraces the project’s name. This kind of openwashing merely serves to associate “Linux” with evil.

But here’s the most interesting new find.

“Thought you might be interested in this Reddit thread,” one reader told us. Here’s the gist, a System1 “Web Developer (Browser Developer)” job ad (we’ve made this local copy as the ad will vanish one day):

Just ran into this ad for a Web Developer (Browser Developer). Seems like System1, a pay-per-click ad company based in Venice, California, is aiming to take on Mozilla Firefox and maybe even Brave. Here’s an excerpt:

Have you ever build any of the most popular open-source browsers like Brave/Chromium/Firefox?

Would you be excited to the idea of setting up build pipelines for an open source browser?

System1 is hiring a Web Developer (back-end development) to join our team. This is a diverse role that will involve “hacking” on the Mozilla platform, mostly on the backend. You will work with experts who know the Mozilla platform inside-out, while being a key contributor to novel open-source products which already have a passionate and growing user base.

Key goals for this role: Keep a “classic” version of the browser up-to-date with security patches; update components where possible and create better compatibility with legacy add-ons for the newer version of the platform that supports them. Build system work is required for this role sometimes, but that’s one of the fun parts!

Yet one more artefact of the “privacy gold rush.” It’s happening. Eyes open.

The top comment says: “So, is this implying that you get an “up to date” browser in exchange for spying on you? I am working under the assumption that the search engine for this new wonder-browser will be Startpage with modifications to track the browser by some serialized ID embedded in it that is only readable by Startpage, so that only Startpage can identify you, yet they get to collect and sell your profile/personal information.”

“Mozilla’s dependence on selling your privacy is a matter of public record; they keep trying to distract from it by — just like GAFAM — constantly talking about how much they value your privacy.”Another says: “Did System1 invest in Mozilla or another company that already has these “experts” and a “growing user base”? We need to start asking all privacy services if they have new investors/owners and evaluate their trustworthiness. Now that privacy is popular with consumers, even behavioral ad tracking companies may want “in” on the money — if just to “privacy wash” or hedge their privacy invasive services. System1 has already invested in the Startpage privacy search engine, and it seems the Chairman of System1 has bought into some security products.”

There’s lots more in there (17 comments). Very interesting comments.

There might be a role there for Mozilla and others. As one person put it, “I wonder if they’re creating a new browser based on Mozilla? Could they be working with Mozilla or another company? It does refer to “products which already have a passionate and growing user base.” It also claims to have people who know Mozilla inside and out.

“The Linux Foundation now has several projects (at least 3) whose main role is openwashing surveillance at the datacentre. Great for the Linux brand, eh?”“I believe we have to start asking all privacy services if they have been sold or gotten new investors — especially ones that previously worked against privacy in fields like consumer behavioral ad tracking and targeting.”

Mozilla’s dependence on selling your privacy is a matter of public record; they keep trying to distract from it by — just like GAFAM — constantly talking about how much they value your privacy. They don’t actually manage to fool technical privacy proponents, who shoot back at them and shoot down the PR; seeing the above speculation, Mozilla’s Vice President hire from Facebook starts to make sense. Remember that Facebook itself keep talking about how much it values people’s privacy. If only…

The Linux Foundation now has several projects (at least 3) whose main role is openwashing surveillance at the datacentre. Great for the Linux brand, eh?

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Living in a State of Constant and Never-Ending Fear Will Harm Software Freedom

    "Freedom" or "liberty" may seem to have been co-opted by extreme right-wing and COVID-denying (or COVID-minimising) elements, but at the moment we do stand to lose many "tech rights" (in the name of "protecting" us)



  2. [Meme] Mozilla's 2020 Vision

    Mozilla does not seem to understand that proprietary Azure and proprietary GitHub won't offer Mozilla a way/path out of the mess it's in



  3. Techrights Done With Maintenance For Now, Will Resume Posting at a Higher Publication Pace

    With a few new features added to the site we can finally resume normal operations (more articles per day)



  4. Moving to Phones Won't Liberate Users

    A so-called 'phone' (or 'smart' phone) with Linux under the bonnet isn't freedom; it's a branding war being won, but principles are being abandoned



  5. Links 29/10/2020: LibreOffice 7.0.3, Linux 5.9.2, NVIDIA 455.38 Linux Driver

    Links for the day



  6. Links 29/10/2020: Istio 1.6.13, Krita 4.4.1 and PyPI Key-Signing Ceremony

    Links for the day



  7. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, October 28, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, October 28, 2020



  8. Links 28/10/2020: Linux Dropping WiMAX Support, Istio 1.7.4, Ubuntu is “Hirsute Hippo”

    Links for the day



  9. Linux Foundation (Men for Monopolies) Once Again Hijacking Women's (and Minorities') Voices for Public Relations

    Diversity and tolerance are absolutely essential, but those who preach or lecture us about it most loudly (their financial means or privilege enable media reach) set a bad example and are mostly opportunistic hypocrites who perpetuate the status quo



  10. In a State of Flux Due to Maintenance and Improvements

    For the first time since summer of 2019 we're investing time and effort improving the site in a number of ways



  11. Links 28/10/2020: Torvalds on Succession, PyTorch 1.7.0

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] Stealing the Competition

    After the fall (and fail) of CodePlex Microsoft decided to grab the Linux Foundation and most Git-based projects (through GitHub) — a strategy even Microsoft can learn to love



  13. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, October 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, October 27, 2020



  14. Links 28/10/2020: FreeBSD 12.2, NixOS 20.09 and WordPress 5.6 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  15. Taking Our Efforts to the Next Level in an Increasingly Proprietary and Hostile Web

    Web users are being repressed by mechanisms of mass manipulation, control and restrictions; the Web may not be going away any time soon, but architectural and topological issues need to be overcome (the sooner, the better)



  16. Read Techrights Without a Web Browser

    Any text editor can now be used to read Techrights, owing to a daily bulletin we've set up and will maintain every day



  17. [Meme] Torvalds Assimilated

    People belatedly realise that Microsoft’s plan for Git (and for Linux) isn't for the betterment of those projects but for Microsoft monopoly



  18. Links 27/10/2020: FuguIta 6.8, Fedora 33, Red Hat Satellite 6.8, KDE Plasma 5.20.2 and GStreamer 1.18.1

    Links for the day



  19. Site Changes Ahead of Anniversary

    We’re making some changes to the presentation and function of the site — changes that will become more prominent over the coming days



  20. IRC Proceedings: Monday, October 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, October 26, 2020



  21. Links 26/10/2020: rpminspect 1.2, Open Source Hardware Certification and LibreOffice Conference

    Links for the day



  22. Links 26/10/2020: Debian "Bullseye" Artwork, Fwupd 1.5 Released

    Links for the day



  23. [Meme] Satya Na-DL

    Microsoft has shown its real priorities (just before the weekend when many people might not notice)



  24. Jonathan Wiltshire and Debian, Falsified Harassment Claims, Tiger Computing and GCHQ

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News



  25. Links 26/10/2020: Linux 5.10 RC1 and Loongsoon Laptops

    Links for the day



  26. The Downfall of Free Software Leaders (and Their Projects or Missions)

    "Cancel George Orwell, and happy hacking."



  27. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, October 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, October 25, 2020



  28. Links 25/10/2020: Kodi 18.9, ScummVM Android Love, Cutelyst 2.13

    Links for the day



  29. [Meme] Captain Zemlin and Neil McGovern's Ugly Legacy in GNOME (His Predecessors Work for Microsoft Directly Now)

    The Linux Foundation is already ‘sold’ and Microsoft Tim‘s interview with Neil McGovern, published a few days ago, was rather revealing (comments on the article/interview were also harsh)



  30. How Microsoft is Still Worse Than Google

    "I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for the likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage."


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts