Privacy issue with AOM

JoeS jsabash at bellatlantic.net
Sat Mar 12 20:22:34 UTC 2011


What happens when you click on the the "Get Add-ons" tab in the AOM.

 From Firefox Privacy policy 
<http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/legal/privacy/firefox.html> (Is there such 
a document specifically for TB ?)

Get Add-ons Page

Firefox offers a Get Add-ons page of the Add-ons Manager that features 
popular add-ons  and displays personalized recommendations based on the 
add-ons you already have installed.
  This page can be accessed by clicking (or tapping on a mobile device) 
on the "Get Add-ons"  tab of the Firefox Add-ons Manager. To display the 
personalized recommendations, Firefox  sends certain information to 
Mozilla, including the list of add-ons you have installed,  Firefox 
version information, and your IP address. This communication only 
happens when the  Get Add-ons area is open and can be turned off at any 
time by opting out of Automatic Updates  from the Add-ons Manager.


I can't say if the above statement is correct or not for FF4, but it's 
not true for TB trunk.
An additional pref is involved (extensions.getAddons.cache.enabled)
Disabling automatic extension updates does _not_ disable the interactive 
discovery pane.

This sort of Web interactivity might be expected for a browser, but 
might be very surprising
for some folks to encounter in a mail client.

Further; clicking on the "What's this" in the discovery pane gives no 
clue of what just
transpired, and how to opt-out if desired.

Bug #640033 <https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=640033> is 
about adding UI to enable an opt-out to the discovery pane

I would also suggest changes to TB faq 
<https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/faq#personal-recommendations>, 
explaining the discovery process and how to
opt-out if so desired.

I'm not a privacy paranoid by any means, but let's not make "check in 
background" ever
equate to "check behind your back" The end user should always know whats 
going on
and have any easy way to opt-out.
-- 
JoeS
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