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=
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/=
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.