Mozilla Firefox to Enable Hyperlink Ping Tracking By Default

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For those not familiar with hyperlink auditing, it is a HTML feature that allows web sites to track link clicks by adding the “ping=” attribute to HTML links. When these links are clicked, in addition to navigating to the linked to page, the browser will also connect to the page listed in the ping= attribute, which can then be used to record the click.

“We don’t believe that offering an option to disable this feature alone will have any meaningful improvement in the user privacy, since website can (and often already do) detect the various supported mechanisms for hyperlink auditing in each browser and disabling the more user friendly mechanisms will cause them to fall back to the less user friendly ones, without actually disabling the hyperlink auditing functionality itself.”

“Why do we track everything a person does in their own browser?”

“Performance auditing.”



disabling the more user friendly mechanisms will cause them to fall back to the less user friendly ones

Bullshit. That’s called bad design, bad decision-making, etc. Bad. So let’s make it easier for them to do bad things. No, their websites should crash the browser, not hide what they are doing! Fuckers.

but they’re not supposed to disappoint us. i’m confused =(

Torn about this. My gut reaction is “ffs whyyyyy” but I feel like their hand is being forced by Chrome and Safari defaulting users into this. And their reasoning isn’t wrong: assume clicktracking is a reality; does the site wrap links through oodles of javascript resulting in inconsistent UX and unpredictable page performance, power usage? where patterns like right click and copy link works on some sites and not on others? Or does it just and let the browser handle it as a normal post action?

Weaning major sites off their own tracking code in favor of a global default, and then giving users the option of turning that default off everywhere at once, makes some kind of sense. Imo the problem here is that there’s an http standard that accepts tracking as status quo and codifies features supporting it. But tracking is status quo, and HTTP already implicitly supported it. Bad defaults in software because bad defaults in society. Have more curiosity about mozilla’s possible actions and the status quo and real life power/info asymmetry/economic implications of clicktracking in general but to the topic at hand, what is mozilla supposed to do? Watch performance and market share slowly and painfully suffer on firefox (which currently competes evenly for market share with all the major non-chrome browsers)?


I generally agree with what you’re saying, but we are basically lost at this point. The standard is the villainous device in this scenario, but that’s why we need these defaults in place, and is what Firefox should double-down on as all the browsers betray users (oh gawd, except Brave :roll_eyes:).

Yeah, and that sounds great. Here’s the kink in my think: this serves Google. GAnalytics is failing all over the place.

Some of my clients use GA, and at various times I run Matamo beside, and I always have raw logs. Over the last few years GA is becoming less and less accurate across the board, sites of all sizes from blogs no one by bots visit up to major publishers. Google is losing the javascript tracking fight.

I can’t shake the feeling we are playing into their business plan, ya know?

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I know, right?

Thing is too, it is crazy fast with the script blocking. has like web locusts, and even loading via Firefox with script blocking takes a long time to load sometimes. Brave is so much faster.

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That seems like a great deal for Brave.

But why? Why is SFGate allowed to have that site? Why do people not leave it until they make it better?

See, here’s the issue with all of this: the answers are stupidly simple, as are the problems. Why are we not punishing companies for taking our time? Does SFGate pass out dopamine? Block that site in /etc/hosts! Burn it from memory, because they fucking hate you and are complicit. :slight_smile:

Edit: it’s fine to point out humans are irrational, or some other hand-wavy excuse. I’ll back off. Someone else pissed me off, anyhow. :grimacing:


I know your backing off on this, but this is something ive been wanting to explore for some time. However i’ve been having a hard time talking about it in the clear.

Ive done a halfway decent job of burning a lot of toxic sites from my life for a couple of years now. However, I recently found out people on facebook had deeper insight into close family’s lives than I do. Family I am extremely close to. In a way that both really stung and in a way that really underlined the social tax some of us pay by avoiding toxic sites; and how we rapidly are finding ourselves in a culture which just expects that we are willing to plug into and are often plugged into such things.

This got underscored again for me recently when Bradley Kuhn from the software freedom and law center, admitted to using Google Hangouts; and publicly discussed at Fosdem how this stuff is increasingly non optional; and how he has personally had to give up on avoiding proprietary javascript.

I actually ended up turning on some toxic sites back in my life recently and after a lot of soul searching. Im still meditating on the best ways to minimize my exposure and what the implications of that decesion are.

The social dimension of this is powerful. And a lot of it has to do with who one’s tribes are and where on the net one’s tribes live; and im still meditating on that.

And I know you weren’t leveling that me or this particular slice of the problem. But touching on the problem reminded me ive been meaning to discuss this outloud for a bit. Because it’s a problem with lots of different strategies, and im curious to hearing lots of people’s strategies and thoughts on this problem.

I’ve also got really intense feelings on Firefox/Mozilla as of late; that this original topic ties into but ive got to chime on those when I have more time. Im too verbose to do it quickly this second.

I was aware of the sting in yer life, and decided to avoid jumping into discussion immediately.

Here’s my universal disclaimer: I am not a normal human, especially when it comes to technology. I was crafted by the world into a non-conventional person, and on top of all of that I don’t come with a built-in tribe.

There’s a reason I’m at the center of all my webs, why I make intentional and deep relationships, and always seem to be one annoying step ahead of “novel morality”; I’m broken in a highly functional way. :slight_smile:

And so… I don’t care if people have tribal insights on Facebook that I don’t. That isn’t on me, and it provides no value, so it isn’t even a thing to let go, it never sticks.

Therein lies our combined strength: we cover each other’s blind spots. Because as I don’t care, or more appropriately, won’t be bothered (I still care about what people are doing, and how, and the long term effects), I find it difficult to understand the world we are fixing. I always run the risk of causally burning down social contructs if their public application is not both immediately apparent and helpful.

This is to say, I understand feels, and that folks get them from what other people do. I’m trying to solve it the way I would; just build alternatives. It is slow, as is life, and will evolve to be something, but currently we are a #liferaft with a few dozen would-be “survivors”, and the critical mass of our attention is for the people we love that are hooked into the Matrix.

My metaphors are over the place because this is a difficult topic. :slight_smile:

I’ll add: I don’t read news. Do I seem ignorant, misinformed, or delusional? What has a news org profiting from ad revenue ever informed you of that improved your life, or made any level of impact?

I know what is going on. I listen to what people actually care about, that is: what they say in person and in personal spaces. I ask questions, which often go unanswered, but contributes to the knowledge pool nonetheless.

I also have less anxiety, quick aside.

So it isn’t Mozilla trying to stay relevant in a system that isn’t, and it isn’t ad companies running the web now, and it isn’t the general population’s inability to know how it is being exploited, and it isn’t that they might choose soma over dignity, and it isn’t that news orgs align with corporate interests, and it isn’t that corporate laws criminalize anti-capitalist efforts, and it isn’t that humans have no idea how to deal with digital telepathy, and it isn’t that the natural world is constantly trying to entropy us.

It’s all of the things.

I’m still trying to figure it out.

The problem everyone near this thoughtspace constantly wrestles with is that it is often not possible to force a tribe to move to an alternative. Even if an alternative exists. (I keep coming back to the fable of the boiling frog.)

That has been the crux of the problem for a long time and im not optimistic that anyone has a solution. Culturally we are kinda stuck in the bed we have made. While we OUGHT to move exclusively to alternatives, it behooves us to move to alternatives exclusively; it strikes me that the ones who will and wont suffer for it in large numbers are likely subsequent generations.

This is not unusual. There is a long glorious history of people having to keept their feet planted in two worlds, durring times of transition from an opressive/destructive systems. It is still done in the hope that that future peoples will not. Much in the same way anticapitalists must still seek employment from wage masters; much in the same way environmentalists must sometimes still own and use combustion engines;

But what I am trying to get at it. It strikes me as deeply unfair to blame the people in the factories for not revolting against their wagemasters overnight. That its also not realistic to expect people to turn away from their tribes entirely. Revolutions take time.

A lot of what your writing about is very good and very true for @maiki but one thing ive been wrestling with is that, im not sure there is a single value judgmenet perspective here that’s also right for everyone. Even my own.

In that vein. A lot of us do have built in tribes; and a lot of us have tribes that were constructed in ages before social networking, only to have them co-opted. Some people have jobs which require interaction with toxic websites.

Things like:

Really do come across as value judgments being painting everyone with a very wide brush. This problem is more complex and nuanced than humans being irrational.


I wanna add about Firefox more generally.

While ive gone concerns similar to @maiki 's on this one. For me this is kind of a bigger issue in terms of patterns of behavior of Mozilla. I could honestly itemize a pretty lengthy list this second of disturbing behavior in Firefox. But ill leave that as an exercise for later.

The practical pragmatic point is: The amount of tweaking I have to do to Firefox to make it behave as I believe a browser ought to behave, out of the box. Is starting to honestly get cumbersome. The amount of changes im shipping to my about:config is getting a little bit ridiculous. To the point where the last two times I reinstalled my OS, I migrated my entire firefox profile instead of rebuilding it.

I feel like Mozilla is rappidly developing Firefox in a direction that just doesn’t suit me personally. And as someone who has been using it since it was an alpha called Mozilla Phoenix its a little disturbing.

Also considering im possibly one of the last firefox users on the entire university campus where I work, this is bothering me a great deal in terms of the browser’s future.

Its become clear to me that other browsers default would likely suit me better; and for the first time in memmory im kind of fantasizing about using something like otter browser.

And I don’t mean that as a threat. It isn’t my intention for that to come off as “Mozilla better change or ill leave!” Its just getting increasingly harder to defend Mozilla even as someone who would have described themselves as an ardent lifelong supporter.

It feels a bit like Mozilla keeps trying to be one of the angels who takes no sides; and the story for them isn’t that great either.

Social networks (whether you’re thinking digital or abstract) are inherently self-organizing systems. The landscape of the internet is a system full of self-organizing systems and various other hierarchically-or-otherwise structured actors trying to reach or influence them. But it’s one that moves fast. Large companies can’t keep up with fast (at least, not without a lot of “breaking things”). Pinboards and discords and talkgroups have clear functional advantages over directory-data-mining-billboard platforms everyone’s family is on, and those online billboards have clear connective advantages over smaller channels, and then there’s a lot of unclear stuff in between, like, “is that community toxic because it’s full of toxic people, or because the mods don’t have the proper tools to deal with this on a facebook group?” (or reddit or whatever).

I think in the rush to ubiquity we skipped a lot of the community fabric stuff along the way. But now ubiquity sees diminishing returns, Tumblr’s banning porn, Reddit’s banning extreme content, Facebook’s banning white nationalists and Youtube’s… not really changed much BUT the important part is these companies are faced with an opportunity to respond to a request for stabilization in the most old-world-corporate way possible: top-down with an eye for profits, and not in the community-focused ways that will actually help solidify peoples’ interactions online (not to be too starry-eyed about old internetting. some of it really sucked). Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that one perspective on all of this is that all the big social billboards have keeping them afloat is now-static mixed-content-ad-based business models propped up by data engines reliant on their communities, which they fail at serving save for the biggest ones (and I don’t even think fb has that on lock). Sounds ripe for d̩̰̞i͍̲̗̳̹s̢̖r̖u̺̤̟͈̱͈͜ṕ͚̘t͇̰͙̲͢í̞o̥͕͎͉͕̞̹n̨̟͙̤̥ ̰̹̰̠̼̱if you ask me.

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Personally I like the idea of measuring product engagement as one would measure a public health epidemic

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