Firefox, the popular open source browser, gained much of it’s popularity and market exposure by being open and allowing developers to create useful extensions. One of the more popular extensions is called Adblock Plus, which allows surfers to turn off most traditional web based advertisements. But Firefox, which is helping users remain private on some fronts, is also creating a stealth start up based on sharing usage data across the web graph.
Firefox version 3 beta ships with StopBadWare turned on by default, but older versions shipped with Google Prefetch turned on, which automatically visited top ranked sites in the search results and loaded your computer up with cookies.
The line between useful features and violating user privacy is a thin one. Some of the things that you once liked about Firefox are being countered by
- their desire to track users
- their Google partnership
- external programmers who are creating scripts to detect ad blocking scripts!