3rd party web analytics vendors

On the back of the recent very active discussions here https://github.com/m=
ozilla/addons-frontend/issues/2785 here https://github.com/mozilla/addons-f=
rontend/issues/1107 and here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3D1475354=
6 as a number of Mozilla employees were referring back to this group as a s=
ource of decision making, I thought this might be the best place to raise t=
his issue.

For reference the decision to use Google Analytics seems to stem from this =
5-year-old thread https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/mozilla.governance/=
9IQvIubDOXU/0tWVVlrUJOQJ

I'm not sure what suitable alternatives to GA were available in 2012, where=
 Mozilla's marketing position on privacy was exactly back then, and what wo=
uld have been involved logistically in self-hosting analytics, so I can't c=
omment on the relevance of the comments in that thread.

However, as a Firefox user and long-time Mozilla supporter, I strongly beli=
eve that Mozilla should not be using 3rd-party analytics. If they are, I at=
 the very least think that Google is a very poor choice of vendor, for a nu=
mber of reasons, outined below:

Case for not using 3rd-parties:

 - Mozilla has very recently been advertising itself as a bastion of privac=
y. For me, online analytics trackers are the single biggest source of priva=
cy concern. If Mozilla is not tackling these head-on (by self-hosting), the=
ir marketing words are somewhat hollow.

Case for not using Google *if* 3rd-parties are used:

 - Often, one of the primary (if not *the only*) reason for people to switc=
h to Firefox is to escape Google. Any use of Google services whatsoever is =
going to be frowned upon by a certain subset of core Firefox users.
 - Google was a PRISM participant
 - Google has a documented history of breaking the law in other privacy rel=
ated areas - e.g. http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-23002166
 - generally, from a PR/marketing perspective, Mozilla's privacy-advocacy "=
mission" is seen by web users as something positive in opposition to large,=
 powerful entities such as Google

I'll highlight one quote from a Bugzilla bug referenced numerous in the abo=
ve Github thread:

> Mozilla went through a year long legal discussion with GA before we would=
 ever implement it on our websites. GA had to provide how and what they sto=
red and we would only sign a contract with them if they allowed Mozilla to =
opt-out of Google using the data for mining and 3rd parties.

I guess the intent of referencing that comment was to emphasise that the de=
cision to use GA was not taken lightly. However, my own personal take-away =
from reading the comment is that Mozilla chose to invest a years worth of r=
esources in negotiating a legal contract with a company with a history of l=
egal non-compliance on privacy issues.
0
Ed
7/12/2017 6:26:55 PM
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Now that this has been approved by a moderator, I realise it lacks any concrete questions/proposals to the group, so I'll add this quick addendum:


Acknowledging that:

1. Google Analytics offers an enormous amount of value to Mozilla currently
2. Transitioning to any other solution would consume an enormous amount of resources

I'm not proposing any drastic immediate action here. However, I would anyone else here believes that:

1. Mozilla should consider a gradual but concerted move away from reliance on 3rd-party analytics, or at the very least reliance on Google services
2. Mozilla should consider a policy of reducing any expansion of the use of GA across various web properties
0
Ed
7/12/2017 7:16:49 PM
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