10.12.21

Gemini version available ♊︎

Mozilla Firefox Takes Another Step in the Direction of Being Malware With “Firefox Suggest”

Posted in Deception, Search at 7:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

Opening: Yesterday I was surfing the web when I found out that LKML.org, a centralized place to see what’s going on in Linux kernel development, was attempting to load an ad script from a company called “BuySellAds dot com”.

When I investigated the company in more detail, I found that there was an entire page where they plot with some of the titans of the web industry to track and psychologically manipulate people.

One such partnership was Brave. Apparently, this company is pushing Brave’s “ethical ads” from behind the scenes, and another was Mozilla.

“One such partnership was Brave. Apparently, this company is pushing Brave’s “ethical ads” from behind the scenes, and another was Mozilla.”It said that they feed ads into “Pocket”, which is where the “Sponsored Content” (including from Big Oil companies like Exxon) keep popping up in the Firefox New Tab page, and now in your address bar if you live in the US (under the guise of Firefox Suggest).

Well, what I suggest is that Mozilla CEO Mitchell Baker does with Firefox Suggest and Pocket is probably anatomically impossible, but that’s outside the scope of this post.

It sickens me, that a great piece of software that I used from its inception in 2002 (pre-releases), and even before that (as Mozilla Suite, and before Mozilla, as the proprietary Netscape suite) has gone and done this as a cash grab on the way down.

Each release, there’s more stuff to turn off, and you have to remember to do all of that every time you install it somewhere.

“Each release, there’s more stuff to turn off, and you have to remember to do all of that every time you install it somewhere.”There’s like 5 different settings (something like that) to fully disable DRM and keep it from coming back on or demanding it. That’s pretty bad when many of the sites using it are using it not for DRM, but as a fingerprinting attack.

Firefox ceased being Free and Open Source Software when distributed according to the Mozilla Trademark policies long ago, when they enabled Google DRM by default and pestered the user if they turned it off and then didn’t do some “about:config fu” to make sure it stayed off and disappeared from the GUI, but with Cloudflare DNS (a privacy hazard that OpenBSD patched to turn off!), Pocket’s Sponsored Crap, and Firefox Suggest, Firefox has not only straddled the line of what I consider to be “malware”, but has finally crossed it.

Perhaps there’s something very wrong with Debian for not going back to calling it “IceWeasel” and patching this stuff out of the source code so that it can’t come on. They are now in abeyance of their Debian Free Software Guidelines all so they can ship malware and call it Firefox.

You can perhaps forgive, under these circumstances, that some GNU/Linux distributions are throwing in the towel with Firefox, which doesn’t perform very well and uses gobs and gobs of RAM to perform the tasks, and are shipping some other browser.

Linux Mint spins are even putting in Vivaldi. And, if you frame it as a choice between Vivaldi and Firefox, I’d say Firefox is even worse than Vivaldi at this point, though Vivaldi doesn’t pretend to be open source like Firefox does, and they don’t beg for donations while they sell you down the river to adtechs like Mozilla does.

“Firefox ceased being Free and Open Source Software when distributed according to the Mozilla Trademark policies long ago, when they enabled Google DRM by default and pestered the user if they turned it off and then didn’t do some “about:config fu” to make sure it stayed off and disappeared from the GUI, but with Cloudflare DNS (a privacy hazard that OpenBSD patched to turn off!), Pocket’s Sponsored Crap, and Firefox Suggest, Firefox has not only straddled the line of what I consider to be “malware”, but has finally crossed it.”What Mozilla fails to understand, obviously, is that by pissing off users into leaving, they not only have less who will stay and drive “ad hits” for them, but they’ll see a further collapse in their search royalty value to Google, and incoming revenue will fall faster than had they just left it alone.

Furthermore, by letting this incompetent twit remain as CEO and firing the engineers while leaving a “Global Chief Diversity Officer” and other dead weight so that they can be a political party, development of the browser’s underpinnings lags while they fritter away valuable capital towards these nutjobs.

Well, enough was enough so….

I finally figured out the dependency matrix to get Debian to allow me to apt purge firefox-esr from my Debian 11 system without trying to take out GNOME metapackages and the X server.

It turns out that I had to give up on using the GNOME Web flatpak from FlatHub, because it collides with the Stable version from Debian. So I backed that out, and deleted its settings and cache under the .var folder hierarchy, and put the epiphany-browser package back in.

“…on a clean install, Firefox Suggest is on by default and doesn’t even ask whether the user wants ads or a keylogger malware in their address bar.”As long as that’s there, and those internationalization and LibreOffice Help Packs and foreign spell checkers and such that I removed the other day are gone, you can remove firefox-esr and the system won’t complain that you need a web browser.

It seems that Apt only wants to remove the gnome metapackages and xorg (Jean-Baptist…Emanuel….Zorg! Sorry.) if epiphany-browser is not already installed. If it is, it’ll shut up and let you get rid of Firefox.

Now you can also reclaim some disk space by removing .mozilla and all of the .mozilla and .firefox stuff under your Home folder (it’s all hidden but unhiding it with Ctrl+H and then using the finder is easy enough). In my case, I don’t use Thunderbird either, so I got rid of its stuff and now it’s just GNOME Web and Evolution.

Mozilla lies and says Firefox Suggest is off by default and that it is opt-in.

In the Bleeping Computer article about Firefox Suggest, which also notes Firefox’s dwindling market share (they went from being almost half of all web users at their peak to being only slightly more popular than Vivaldi, and still falling), they say that in their own tests and user reports, on a clean install, Firefox Suggest is on by default and doesn’t even ask whether the user wants ads or a keylogger malware in their address bar.

I installed the Firefox 93 Flatpak to find out myself. Mozilla even builds it and uploads the builds to Flathub, so they are official. Firefox Suggest was on by default, no message asking me if I wanted it.

When Ubuntu briefly implemented a keylogger that sent your Shell searches to Amazon in their now-abandoned Unity Shell, Richard Stallman called Ubuntu malware.

In its default configuration, Firefox not only sends everything you type into the address bar to Google (even though you can turn that off and split searches into a different box), but also to Mozilla, and Mozilla’s advertisers. This is certainly malware.

“How is it that Debian says the firmware to run my wifi, SSD, and graphics chip isn’t allowed (in the official image, which will lead some people to think Debian is broken and not bother figuring out why….while others have to know there’s a real installer that has firmware that is semi-hidden) but Widevine DRM blobs and a malicious keylogger in Firefox are fine?”How much longer will “Free” operating systems like Debian continue ignoring their own Free Software Guidelines to package this? It already had a grabber that’s on by default to download Google DRM blobs, and now this.

It’s bad enough that Fedora chucked its own Free Software policy out the door when IBM took them over, and started pushing Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Edge.

How is it that Debian says the firmware to run my wifi, SSD, and graphics chip isn’t allowed (in the official image, which will lead some people to think Debian is broken and not bother figuring out why….while others have to know there’s a real installer that has firmware that is semi-hidden) but Widevine DRM blobs and a malicious keylogger in Firefox are fine?

Sounds like someone at Debian should explain this.

As an aside, Mozilla is also considering changing the default search engine to Bing.

Every few years, they come in and decide which crappy privacy-violating mess with worse search results than Google to switch all their users to as part of a cynical ploy to ultimately get Google back to the table for more money.

Microsoft has never offered any browser vendor more money than Google, which is why Google is the default search engine on almost every browser, and the iPhone/Safari, even though Apple pretends they’re bitter enemies (over 60% of Apple iOS apps have Google tracking libraries in them).

I’m not a big fan of Google, but Bing is much worse. Instead of Google violating your privacy, it will be Microsoft, and then the search results often won’t even be usable.

When will Mozilla learn to stop manipulating its remaining users? Never?

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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. The Committee on Patent Law (PLC) Informed About Overlooked Issues “Which Might Have a Bearing on the Validity of EPO Patents.”

    In a publication circulated or prepared last week the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO explains a situation never explored in so-called 'media' (the very little that's left of it)



  2. Links 6/12/2021: HowTos and Patents

    Links for the day



  3. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 05, 2021



  4. Gemini Space/Protocol: Taking IRC Logs to the Next Level

    Tonight we begin the migration to GemText for our daily IRC logs, having already made them available over gemini://



  5. Links 6/12/2021: Gnuastro 0.16 and Linux 5.16 RC4

    Links for the day



  6. Links 5/12/2021: Touchpad Gestures in XWayland

    Links for the day



  7. Society Needs to Take Back Computing, Data, and Networks

    Why GemText needs to become 'the new HTML' (but remain very simple) in order for cyberspace to be taken away from state-connected and military-funded corporations that spy on people and abuse society at large



  8. [Meme] Meanwhile in Austria...

    With lobbyists-led leadership one might be led to believe that a treaty strictly requiring ratification by the UK is somehow feasible (even if technically and legally it's moot already)



  9. The EPO's Web Site is a Parade of Endless Lies and Celebration of Gross Violations of the Law

    The EPO's noise site (formerly it had a "news" section, but it has not been honest for about a decade) is a torrent of lies, cover-up, and promotion of crimes; maybe the lies are obvious for everybody to see (at least EPO insiders), but nevertheless a rebuttal seems necessary



  10. The Letter EPO Management Does Not Want Applicants to See (or Respond to)

    A letter from the Munich Staff Committee at the EPO highlights the worrying extent of neglect of patent quality under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; the management of the EPO did not even bother replying to that letter (instead it was busy outsourcing the EPO to Microsoft)



  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 04, 2021



  12. EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

    It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)



  13. Tux Machines is 17.5 Years Old Today

    Tux Machines -- our 'sister site' for GNU/Linux news -- started in 2004. We're soon entering 2022.



  14. Approaching 100

    We'll soon have 100 files in Git; if that matters at all...



  15. Improving Gemini by Posting IRC Logs (and Scrollback) as GemText

    Our adoption of Gemini and of GemText increases; with nearly 100,000 page requests in the first 3 days of Decembe (over gemini://) it’s clear that the growing potential of the protocol is realised, hence the rapid growth too; Gemini is great for self-hosting, which is in turn essential when publishing suppressed and controversial information (subject to censorship through blackmail and other ‘creative’ means)



  16. Links 4/12/2021: IPFire 2.27 Core Update 162 and Genode OS Framework 21.11

    Links for the day



  17. Links 4/12/2021: Gedit Plans and More

    Links for the day



  18. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

    Links for the day



  19. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021



  20. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

    Links for the day



  21. Another Gemini Milestone: 1,500 Active Capsules

    This page from Balázs Botond plots a graph, based on these statistics that now (as of minutes ago) say: “We successfully connected recently to 1500 of them.” Less than a fortnight ago more than 1,800 capsules overall were registered by Lupa, almost quadrupling in a single year



  22. [Meme] António Campinos and Socialist Posturing

    Staff of the EPO isn’t as gullible as António Campinos needs it to be



  23. António Campinos as EPO President is Considered Worse Than Benoît Battistelli (in Some Regards) After 3.5 Years in Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    The EPO's demise at the hands of people who don't understand patents and don't care what the EPO exists for is a real crisis which European media is unwilling to even speak about; today we share some internal publications and comment on them



  24. Media Coverage for Sale

    Today we're highlighting a couple of new examples (there are many other examples which can be found any day of the year) demonstrating that the World Wide Web is like a corporate spamfarm in "news" clothing



  25. Links 3/12/2021: GNU Poke 1.4 and KDDockWidgets 1.5.0

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 02, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 02, 2021



  27. Links 3/12/2021: Nitrux 1.7.1 and Xen 4.16 Released

    Links for the day



  28. Links 2/12/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Alpha, Qt Creator 6

    Links for the day



  29. The EPO's “Gender Awareness Report”

    There’s a new document with remarks by the EPO’s staff representatives and it concerns opportunities for women at the EPO — a longstanding issue



  30. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 01, 2021


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