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Questions About .org

Mozilla Blog - ti, 03/12/2019 - 15:01

Last month, the Internet Society (ISOC) announced plans to sell the Public Interest Registry (PIR) — the organization that manages all the dot org domain names in the world — to a private equity firm named Ethos. This caught the attention of Mozilla and other public benefit orgs.

Many have called for the deal to be stopped. It’s not clear that this kind of sale is inherently bad. It is possible that with the right safeguards a private company could act as a good steward of the dot org ecosystem. However, it is clear that the stakes are high — and that anyone with the power to do so should urgently step in to slow things down and ask some hard questions.

For example: Is this deal a good thing for orgs that use these domains? Is it structured to ensure that dot org will retain its unique character as a home for non-commercial organizations online? What accountability measures will be put in place?

In a letter to ISOC, the EFF and others summarize why the stakes are high. Whoever runs the dot org registry has the power to: set (and raise) prices; define rights protection rules; and suspend or take down domains that are unlawful, a standard that varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It is critical that whoever runs the dot org registry is a reliable steward who can be held accountable for exercising these powers fairly and effectively.

ISOC and Ethos put up a site last week called keypointsabout.org which argues that the newly privatized PIR will be just such a steward. Measures outlined on the site include the creation of a stewardship council, price caps, and the incorporation of the new PIR as a B Corp. These sound like good plans at first read, but they need much more scrutiny and detail given what is at stake.

ICANN and the ISOC board are both in a position to slow things down and offer greater scrutiny and public transparency. We urge them to step back and provide public answers to questions of interest to the public and the millions of orgs that have made dot org their home online for the last 15 years. Specific questions should include:

  1. Are the stewardship measures proposed for the new PIR sufficient to protect the interests of the dot org community? What is missing?
  2. What level of scope, authority and independence will the proposed Stewardship Council possess? Will dot org stakeholders have opportunities to weigh in on the selection of the Council and development of its bylaws and its relationship to PIR and Ethos?
  3. What assurances can the dot org community have that Ethos and PIR will keep their promises regarding price increases? Will there be any remedy if these promises are not kept?
  4. What mechanisms does PIR currently have in place to implement measures to protect free speech and other rights of domain holders under its revised contract, and will those mechanisms change in any way with the transfer of ownership and control? In particular, how will PIR handle requests from government actors?
  5. When is the planned incorporation of PIR as a B corp? Are there any repercussions for Ethos and/or PIR if this incorporation does not take place?
  6. What guarantees are in place to retain the unique character of the dot org as a home for non-commercial organizations, one of the important stewardship promises made by PIR when it was granted the registry?
  7. Did ISOC receive multiple bids for PIR? If yes, what criteria in addition to price were used to review the bids? Were the ICANN criteria originally applied to dot org bidders in 2002 considered? If no, would ISOC consider other bids should the current proposal be rejected?
  8. How long has Ethos committed to stay invested in PIR? Are there measures in place to ensure continued commitment to the answers above in the event of a resale?
  9. What changes to ICANN’s agreement with PIR should be made to ensure that dot org is maintained in a manner that serves the public interest, and that ICANN has recourse to act swiftly if it is not?

In terms of process, ICANN needs to approve or reject the transfer of control over the dot org contract. And, presumably, the ISOC board has the power to go back and ask further questions about the deal before it is finalized. We urge these groups to step up to ask questions like the ones above — and not finalize the deal until they and a broad cross section of the dot org community are satisfied with the answers. As they address these questions, we urge them to post their answers publicly.

Also, the state attorneys general of the relevant jurisdictions may be in a position to ask questions about the conversion of PIR into a for profit or about whether ISOCs sale of PIR represents fair market value. If they feel these questions are in their purview, we urge them to share the results of their findings publicly.

One of Mozilla’s principles is the idea that “a balance between commercial profit and public benefit is critical” to maintaining a healthy internet. Yes, much of the internet is and should be commercial — but it is important that significant parts of the internet also remain dedicated to the public interest. The current dot org ecosystem is clearly one of these parts.

The organization that maintains the underpinnings of this ecosystem needs to be a fair and responsible steward. One way to ensure this is to entrust this role to a publicly accountable non-profit, as ICANN did when it picked ISOC as a steward in 2002. While it’s also possible that a for-profit company could effectively play this stewardship role, extra steps would need to be taken to ensure that the company is accountable to dot org stakeholders and not just investors, now and for the long run. It is urgent that we take such steps if the sale of PIR is to go through.

A small postscript: We have sent a letter to ICANN encouraging them to ask the questions above.

The post Questions About .org appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Firefox Preview Beta reaches another milestone, with Enhanced Tracking Protection and several intuitive features for ease and convenience

Mozilla Futurereleases - ti, 03/12/2019 - 15:00

In June we made an announcement, that left us — just like many of our users — particularly excited: we introduced Firefox Preview, a publicly available test version of our upcoming best in class browser for Android that will be fueled by GeckoView. GeckoView is Mozilla’s own high-performance mobile browser engine, which enables us to deliver an even better, faster and more private Firefox to Android device owners. Hundreds of thousands of users have downloaded and tested Firefox Preview since it became available.

Over the past 5 months we’ve been working diligently on improvements to the app. We’ve been listening closely to user feedback and are basing app development on users’ requests and needs; one very recent example is our support for extensions through the WebExtensions API. We will still continue to test Firefox Preview Beta and we’re expecting to launch as a final product in the first half of 2020. Today, we want to provide an update on our progress, and share some of the amazing new features we’ve added to Firefox Preview since the beta release of 1.0.

Please note: The rollout of Firefox Preview Beta 3.0 is currently delayed. The newest features, such as Site Protections, will be made available within the next couple of days. Thanks for your patience.

Browse the web conveniently on mobile with privacy by default

At Firefox, we foster user choice and individual decision making. However, we’ve noticed the massive change the internet economy has undergone over the last couple of years. This transformation has distorted the value exchange between online businesses, the ad industry in particular, and users. It is no longer transparent and consumers are being taken advantage of more and more. We want a better web for people. One that puts users first while still being fast, performant and, above all, private and secure. Still, we can’t expect every user to become an expert on these topics in order to protect themselves. That’s why we’re now making next-level privacy protections the default instead of an option for only the tech-savvy.

This is a guiding principle for the whole Firefox product family and it’s why we’re now taking Firefox Preview to the next level by equipping it with Enhanced Tracking Protection, an innovative technology we first introduced in Firefox for desktop earlier this year, and have been improving ever since. Enhanced Tracking Protection is our approach to put users back in control of their online life by stopping third-party tracking cookies from following them around on the web.

When mapping out how to implement this feature in the next Firefox for Android, we took the distinct use-cases for mobile and desktop into account. On the phone or tablet, most users care much more about performance and blocking of annoyances compared to desktop. Users are more forgiving when a site doesn’t load exactly like it’s meant to. So we decided that while Firefox for desktop’s default mode is “Standard”, Firefox Preview will use “Strict” mode. “Standard” prevents third-party trackers from (re)using cookies to identify a user while still allowing the trackers to run on the site, “strict” actually blocks the trackers, which makes the browser up to 20% percent faster. Users will no longer face ad banners that contain trackers and therefore have a rather uninterrupted browsing experience, though there is a chance that some website content may not work. If users prefer to avoid that they can always switch to “Standard” mode with just 3 taps or turn off Enhanced Tracking Protection with only 2 taps.

Enhanced Tracking Protection in Firefox Preview defaults to “Strict” mode, blocking tracking cookies and trackers for stronger protection and enhanced performance.

We’re looking forward to hearing what users think about Enhanced Tracking Protection on mobile as well as these additional new features in Firefox Preview:

      • Firefox Site Protections: Only recently, we introduced the Privacy Protection report to Firefox for desktop, which brings more visibility into how users are being tracked online so they can better combat it. On mobile, we decided to implement an abbreviated version. When tapping on the shield icon, users can now see the type of trackers, such as third-party trackers, social media trackers or cryptominers, that Firefox Preview blocks for them on each site. Another tap on the individual categories then opens a list of the trackers blocked for additional transparency.
      • Adding and customizing a Search Widget: Users who want to be prepared to do a web search really quickly can add the Firefox Preview Search Widget to their Android home screen, so they don’t have to open the app first anymore: just long-press on the Firefox Preview icon on the home screen, tap on the widget icon, then add it. User can also easily choose their preferred search engine and resize the widget to make it fit their needs and taste.
      • Getting organized with our Send Tab: No need to spam one’s own email folder again with links intended to use on another device! Firefox account holders can now send a tab or a collection of tabs from their Android phone or tablet to any other device they’ve logged into with their Firefox account.

Firefox Preview makes mobile browsing convenient: with intuitive search widgets and easy tab sharing between your devices.

 

Help us shape the mobile product that puts users in control of their digital life again

We’re excited to see Firefox Preview develop further and can’t wait to share out what the final product will look like! In the meantime, we continue to welcome more testers to Firefox Preview and look forward to hearing more of users’ feedback. All the features described above, plus everything else we recently added to our new mobile browser, has been picked, prioritized and added based on what our users requested. This has been our approach, especially in the mobile sphere, for many years and we’re planning to maintain it: not only is feedback immensely important for us in order to improve our products before their actual launch and during further development; we also want to make sure to deliver exactly what users need and demand. They can help surface what that is and shape our new mobile product. So, download Firefox Preview now and let us know what you think!

And in the spirit of the upcoming holiday season: thanks to the whole Firefox community for your support!

 

 

The post Firefox Preview Beta reaches another milestone, with Enhanced Tracking Protection and several intuitive features for ease and convenience appeared first on Future Releases.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

News from Firefox on Mobile, Private Network and Desktop

Mozilla Blog - ti, 03/12/2019 - 15:00

As the year comes to a close, we look back at what we’ve accomplished. As recently noted in the press, this year may be the mark of our privacy-renaissance. We’ve built additional privacy protections in the browser which included blocking third party tracking cookies and cryptomining by default and created an easy-to-view report which shows the trackers that follow you and collect your online browsing habits and interests. To date, we’ve blocked more than 1 Trillion tracking requests that attempt to follow you around the web! Privacy has always been part of our DNA. We’ve always believed our role is and has always been to help give people more control over their online lives.

1 Trillion tracking requests have been blocked with Enhanced Tracking Protection

Today, we’ve got something for everyone, for tech savvy folks who want to test-drive privacy-first features and products or those who love to multitask while on their desktop. We have a lot in store for the next year, and will continue to uphold our promise to create privacy-focused products and features. Before we roll anything out widely to consumers, we’ve still got some fine-tuning to do. So today we’re kicking off the next phase in our ongoing testing of our Firefox Private Network Beta, and the latest Firefox Preview app for Android powered by GeckoView. Although the year might be winding down, just like Santa’s elves, we’re working around the clock to deliver experiments and the latest versions of our Firefox browser for desktop and iOS.

Latest Firefox Private Network Beta test protects users just in time for the holidays

In September, we introduced the beta release of our Firefox Private Network (FPN), an extension which provides a secure, encrypted path to the web to protect your connection and personal information when you use the Firefox browser. Since then, we’ve received feedback from our beta testers on how they’re using FPN, its protections, and we learned about websites that weren’t compatible as well as connection issues. This allowed us to quickly identify and fix bugs, and ensure a stable product.

As we continue our beta testing, we are considering various ways to bring additional privacy protections to our users. Today we’re announcing an additional beta test for US-based Firefox account users who didn’t get a chance to get in the initial group, and are interested in testing FPN.

In the next phase of our beta, we are offering a limited-time free service that lets you encrypt your Firefox connections for up to 12 hours a month. With the holidays around the corner, the FPN couldn’t come at a more convenient time. We know people are traveling and might have to rely on an unsecured public Wi-Fi network, like the one at the airport, at your local coffee shop, or even at your doctor’s office. FPN provides encrypted internet traffic thus giving you peace of mind whenever you’re using our browser.

This limited-time free service is currently available in the US on the Firefox desktop browser and you’ll need a Firefox account to try the service. You can sign up directly from the extension which can be found here.

For those looking to extend their protection beyond the browser, you can now sign up to be one of the first to experience the newest member of the FPN family. This month, Firefox account holders can request invitations to experience device-level protection with our new full-device VPN (virtual private network). Join the waitlist and if you’re eligible, we’ll follow up with a link to access the VPN at an introductory price of $4.99 per month. Currently the VPN will be available for Windows 10 only, and like the rest of the FPN, it is only available to US-based Firefox account holders. Pricing and platform availability will continue to evolve and we look forward to hearing your feedback.

Attention mobile beta testers: Firefox Preview Beta release now available

This past summer we introduced Firefox Preview Beta, a publicly available test version of our Firefox browser for Android powered by GeckoView, Mozilla’s own high-performance mobile browser engine. It allows us to deliver a better, faster and more private online experience for Android users. Today, we have an update on our progress, including new features we’ve added since its initial beta release in June. To learn more visit the announcement here.

Picture-in-Picture available in today’s Firefox browser release

Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of multi-tasking whether it’s checking email in a meeting or online shopping and watching product videos before we press the buy button. We all have busy lives and want to get the most out of every minute. In today’s Firefox release we’re rolling out Picture-in-Picture available in all video sites.

Picture-in-Picture allows a video to be contained in a separate and small window, and still be viewable whether you switch from tab-to-tab or outside the Firefox browser. To see if Picture-in-Picture is available to you, hover your mouse over the video to see a small blue “Picture in Picture” option. Once you click the option, the video will pop into its own and will always stay as the top window, allowing you to continue to watch the video even if you switch tabs. Currently, Picture-in-Picture will only be available on Windows OS. It will be available to MacOS and Linux in our next browser release in January 2020.

Hover your mouse over the video to see a small blue “Picture in Picture” option

To see what else is new or what we’ve changed in today’s desktop and iOS release, you can check out our release notes.

Check out and download the latest version of Firefox available here.

 

The post News from Firefox on Mobile, Private Network and Desktop appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Mozilla and the Contract for the Web

Mozilla Blog - to, 28/11/2019 - 21:42

Mozilla supports the Contract for the Web and the vision of the world it seeks to create. We participated in helping develop the content of the principles in the Contract. The result is language very much aligned with Mozilla, and including words that in many cases echo our Manifesto. Mozilla works to build momentum behind these ideas, as well as building products and programs that help make them real.

At the same time, we would like to see a clear method for accountability as part of the signatory process, particularly since some of the big tech platforms are high profile signatories. This gives more power to the commitment made by signatories to uphold the Contract about privacy, trust and ensuring the web supports the best in humanity.

We decided not to sign the Contract but would consider doing so if stronger accountability measures are added. In the meantime, we continue Mozilla’s work, which remains strongly aligned with the substance of the Contract.

The post Mozilla and the Contract for the Web appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Mozilla and BMZ Announce Cooperation to Open Up Voice Technology for African Languages

Mozilla Blog - mo, 25/11/2019 - 09:11

Mozilla and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to jointly build new alliance to foster open voice data and technology in Africa and beyond

Berlin – 25 November 2019. Today, Mozilla and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) have announced to join forces in the collection of open speech data in local languages, as well as the development of local innovation ecosystems for voice-enabled products and technologies. The initiative builds on the pilot project, which our Open Innovation team and the Machine Learning Group started together with the organization “Digital Umuganda” earlier this year. The Rwandan start-up collects language data in Kinyarwanda, an African language spoken by over 12 million people. Further languages in Africa and Asia are going to be added.

Kelly Davis, Head of Mozilla’s Machine Learning Group, explaining the design and technology behind Deep Speech and Common Voice at a Hackathon in Kigali

Kelly Davis, Head of Mozilla’s Machine Learning Group, explaining the design and technology behind Deep Speech and Common Voice at a Hackathon in Kigali, February 2019.

Mozilla’s projects Common Voice and Deep Speech will be the heart of the joint initiative, which aims at collecting diverse voice data and opening up a common, public database. Mozilla and the BMZ are planning to partner and collaborate with African start-ups, which need respective training data in order to develop locally suitable, voice-enabled products or technologies that are relevant to their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Mozilla and the BMZ are also inviting like-minded companies and identifying further countries interested in joining their efforts to open up language data.

The German Ministry and Mozilla share a similar vision and work towards the responsible use of automated decision-making and artificial intelligence for sustainable development on scale. Supporting partner countries in reaching the SDGs, today, the BMZ is carrying out more than 470 digitally enhanced projects in over 90 countries around the world. As part of the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, the Federal German Government has agreed to support developing countries in building up capacities and knowledge on opportunities and challenges of AI – an area of expertise that the Mozilla Foundation has heavily invested in with their work on trustworthy AI.

“Artificial Intelligence is changing and shaping our societies globally. It is critical that these technologies are both trustworthy and truly serve everyone. And that means they need to be developed with local needs and expertise in mind, diverse, decentralized, and not driven by monopolies,” says Mark Surman, Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation.

“Innovating in AI poses complex technological, regulatory and ethical challenges. This is why I am very pleased to see multiple teams within Mozilla working together in this promising cooperation with the BMZ, building on our shared visions and objectives for a positive digital future,” adds Katharina Borchert, Chief Open Innovation Officer of the Mozilla Corporation.

The cooperation was announced at Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Berlin and will be part of the BMZ initiative “Artificial Intelligence for All: FAIR FORWARD”. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at Mozilla’s headquarters in Mountain View on November 14.

Representatives of the BMz and Mozilla signing the Memorandom of Understanding

From left to right: Björn Richter, Head of Digital Development Sector Program, GIZ, Dr. Andreas Foerster, Head of Division Digital Technologies in Development Cooperation, BMZ, Katharina Borchert, Chief Open Innovation Officer, Mozilla, Ashley Boyd, VP, Advocacy Mozilla Foundation, and Udbhav Tiwari, Public Policy Advisor, Mozilla

Mozilla believes that the internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible for all people, no matter where they are and which language they speak. With projects such as Common Voice and Deep Speech, Mozilla’s Machine Learning Group is working on advancing and democratizing voice recognition technology on the web.

Useful Links:

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Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Karl Dubost: Saving Webcompat images as a microservice

Mozilla planet - to, 21/11/2019 - 02:40

Update: You may want to fast forward to the latest part… of this blog post. (Head explodes).

Thinking out loud on separating our images into a separate service. The initial goal was to push the images to the cloud, but I think we could probably have a first step. We could keep the images on our server, but instead of the current save, we could send them to another service, let say upload.webcompat.com with a HTTP PUT. And this service would save them locally.

That way it would allow us two things:

  1. Virtualize the core app on heroku if needed
  2. Replace when we are ready the microservice by another cloud hosting solution.

All of this is mainly thinking for now.

Anatomy of our environment

config/environment.py defines:

UPLOADS_DEFAULT_DEST = os.environ.get('PROD_UPLOADS_DEFAULT_DEST') UPLOADS_DEFAULT_URL = os.environ.get('PROD_UPLOADS_DEFAULT_URL')

The maximum limit for images is defined in __init__.py Currently in views.py, there is a route for localhost upload.

# set limit of 5.5MB for file uploads # in practice, this is ~4MB (5.5 / 1.37) # after the data URI is saved to disk app.config['MAX_CONTENT_LENGTH'] = 5.5 * 1024 * 1024

The localhost part would probably not changed much. This is just for reading the images URL.

if app.config['LOCALHOST']: @app.route('/uploads/<path:filename>') def download_file(filename): """Route just for local environments to send uploaded images. In production, nginx handles this without needing to touch the Python app. """ return send_from_directory( app.config['UPLOADS_DEFAULT_DEST'], filename)

then the api for uploads is defined in api/uploads.py

This is where the production route is defined.

@uploads.route('/', methods=['POST']) def upload(): '''Endpoint to upload an image. If the image asset passes validation, it's saved as: UPLOADS_DEFAULT_DEST + /year/month/random-uuid.ext Returns a JSON string that contains the filename and url. ''' … # cut some stuff. try: upload = Upload(imagedata) upload.save() data = { 'filename': upload.get_filename(upload.image_path), 'url': upload.get_url(upload.image_path), 'thumb_url': upload.get_url(upload.thumb_path) } return (json.dumps(data), 201, {'content-type': JSON_MIME}) except (TypeError, IOError): abort(415) except RequestEntityTooLarge: abort(413)

upload.save is basically where we should replace this by an HTTP PUT to a micro service.

What is Amazon S3 doing?

In these musings, I wonder if we could mimick the way Amazon S3 operates at a very high level. No need to replicate everything. We just need to save some bytes into a folder structure.

boto 3 has a documentation for uploading files.

def upload_file(file_name, bucket, object_name=None): """Upload a file to an S3 bucket :param file_name: File to upload :param bucket: Bucket to upload to :param object_name: S3 object name. If not specified then file_name is used :return: True if file was uploaded, else False """ # If S3 object_name was not specified, use file_name if object_name is None: object_name = file_name # Upload the file s3_client = boto3.client('s3') try: response = s3_client.upload_file(file_name, bucket, object_name) except ClientError as e: logging.error(e) return False return True

We could keep the image validation on the size of webcompat.com, but then the naming and checking is done. We can save this to a service the same way aws is doing.

So our priviledged service could accept images and save them locally in the same folder structure a separate flask structure. And later on, we could adjust it to use S3.

Surprise. Surprise.

I just found out that each time you put an image in an issue or a comment. GitHub is making a private copy of this image. Not sure if it's borderline with regards to property.

If you enter:

!['m root](http://www.la-grange.net/2019/01/01/2535-misere)

Then it creates this markup.

<p><a target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://camo.githubusercontent.com/a285646de4a7c3b3cdd3e82d599e46607df8d3cc/687474703a2f2f7777772e6c612d6772616e67652e6e65742f323031392f30312f30312f323533352d6d6973657265"><img src="https://camo.githubusercontent.com/a285646de4a7c3b3cdd3e82d599e46607df8d3cc/687474703a2f2f7777772e6c612d6772616e67652e6e65742f323031392f30312f30312f323533352d6d6973657265" alt="I'm root" data-canonical-src="http://www.la-grange.net/2019/01/01/2535-misere" style="max-width:100%;"></a></p>

And we can notice that the img src is pointing to… GitHub?

I checked in my server logs to be sure. And I found…

140.82.115.251 - - [20/Nov/2019:06:44:54 +0000] "GET /2019/01/01/2535-misere HTTP/1.1" 200 62673 "-" "github-camo (876de43e)"

That will seriously challenge the OKR for this quarter.

Update: 2019-11-21 So I tried to decipher what was really happening. It seems GitHub acts as a proxy using camo, but still has a caching system keeping a real copy of the images, instead of just a proxy. And this can become a problem in the context of webcompat.com.

Early on, we had added s3.amazonaws.com to our connect-src since we had uses that were making requests to https://s3.amazonaws.com/github-cloud. However, this effectively opened up our connect-src to any Amazon S3 bucket. We refactored our URL generation and switched all call sites and our connect-src to use https://github-cloud.s3.amazonaws.com to reference our bucket.

GitHub is hosting the images on Amazon S3.

Otsukare!

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

The Firefox Frontier: Firefox Extension Spotlight: Image Search Options

Mozilla planet - wo, 20/11/2019 - 23:29

Let’s say you stumble upon an interesting image on the web and you want to learn more about it, like… where did it come from? Who are the people in … Read more

The post Firefox Extension Spotlight: Image Search Options appeared first on The Firefox Frontier.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

The Mozilla Blog: Can Your Holiday Gift Spy on You?

Mozilla planet - wo, 20/11/2019 - 16:57
Mozilla is unveiling its annual holiday ranking of the creepiest and safest connected devices. Our researchers reviewed the security and privacy features and flaws of 76 popular gifts for 2019’s *Privacy Not Included guide

Mozilla today launches the third-annual *Privacy Not Included, a report and shopping guide identifying which connected gadgets and toys are secure and trustworthy — and which aren’t. The goal is two-fold: arm shoppers with the information they need to choose gifts that protect the privacy of their friends and family. And, spur the tech industry to do more to safeguard consumers.

Mozilla researchers reviewed 76 popular connected gifts available for purchase in the United States across six categories: Toys & Games; Smart Home; Entertainment; Wearables; Health & Exercise; and Pets. Researchers combed through privacy policies, sifted through product and app specifications, reached out to companies about their encryption and bug bounty programs, and more. As a result, we can answer questions like: How accessible is the privacy policy, if there is one? Does the product require strong passwords? Does it collect biometric data? And, Are there automatic security updates?

The guide also showcases the Creep-O-Meter, an interactive tool allowing shoppers to rate the creepiness of a product using an emoji sliding scale from “Super Creepy” to “Not Creepy.

Says Ashley Boyd, Mozilla’s Vice President of Advocacy: “This year we found that many of the big tech companies like Apple and Google are doing pretty well at securing their products, and you’ll see that most products in the guide meet our Minimum Security Standards. But don’t let that fool you. Even though devices are secure, we found they are collecting more and more personal information on users, who often don’t have a whole lot of control over that data.”

For the first time ever, this year’s guide is launching alongside new longform research from Mozilla’s Internet Health Report. Two companion articles are debuting alongside the guide and provide additional context and insight into the realm of connected devices: what’s working, what’s not, and how consumers can wrestle back control. The articles include “How Smart Homes Could Be Wiser,” an exploration of why trustworthy connected devices are so scarce, and what consumers can do to remedy this. And “5 key decisions for every smart device,” a look at five key areas manufacturers should address when designing private and secure connected devices.

*Privacy Not Included highlights include:

Top trends identified by Mozilla researchers include:

  • Good on security, questionable on privacy: Many of the big tech companies like Apple and Google are doing pretty well at securing their products. But even when devices are secure, they can still collect a lot of data about users. This year saw an expansion of smart home ecosystems from big tech companies, allowing companies like Amazon to reach deeper into user’s lives. Customer data is also being used in ways users may not have anticipated, even if it’s stated in the privacy policy. For instance, Ring users may not realize their videos are being used in marketing campaigns and that photos of all visitors are stored on servers.
  • Small companies are not doing so well on privacy and security: Smaller companies often do not have the resources to prioritize the privacy and security of their products. Many of the products in the pet category, for example, seem weak on privacy and security. Mozilla could only confirm four of the 13 products meet our Minimum Security Standards. The $500 Litter Robot 3 Connect didn’t even have a privacy policy for the device or the app the device uses. Also, it appears to use the default password “neverscoop” to connect the device to WiFi.
  • Privacy policy readability is improving: Companies are making strides in how they present privacy information, with a lot more privacy pages — like those by Roomba and Apple — being written in simple, accessible language and housed in one central place.
  • Products are becoming more privacy friendly, but sometimes at a cost to consumers: Sonos removed the microphone for the Sonos One SL to make it more privacy-friendly, while Parrot, which made one of the creepiest products in the 2018 guide, launched the Anafi drone, which met the Minimum Security Standards. However, Parrot left the low end consumer market: the Anafi drone costs $700.

 

*Privacy Not Included builds on Mozilla’s work to ensure the internet remains open, safe, and accessible to all people. Mozilla’s initiatives include its annual Internet Health Report; its roster of Fellows who develop research, policies, and products around privacy, security, and other internet health issues; and its advocacy campaigns, such as putting public pressure on apps like Snapchat and Instagram to let users know if they are using facial emotion recognition software.

 

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Mozilla is a nonprofit that believes the internet must always remain a global public resource, open and accessible to all. Its work is guided by the Mozilla Manifesto. The direct work of the Mozilla Foundation focuses on fueling the movement for an open Internet. Mozilla does this by connecting open Internet leaders with each other and by mobilizing grassroots activists around the world. The Foundation is also the sole shareholder in the Mozilla Corporation, the maker of Firefox and other open source tools. Mozilla Corporation functions as a self-sustaining social enterprise — money earned through its products is reinvested into the organization.

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Hacks.Mozilla.Org: Multiple-column Layout and column-span in Firefox 71

Mozilla planet - wo, 20/11/2019 - 16:13

Firefox 71 is an exciting release for anyone who cares about CSS Layout. While I am very excited to have subgrid available in Firefox, there is another property that I’ve been keeping an eye on. Firefox 71 implements column-span from Multiple-column Layout. In this post I’ll explain what it is and a little about the progress of the Multiple-column Layout specification.

Multiple-column Layout, usually referred to as multicol, is a layout method that does something quite different to layout methods such as flexbox and grid. If you have some content marked up and displaying in Normal Flow, and turn that into a multicol container using the column-width or column-count properties, it will display as a set of columns. Unlike Flexbox or Grid however, the content inside the columns flows just as it did in Normal Flow. The difference is that it now flows into a number of anonymous column boxes, much like content in a newspaper.

See the Pen
Columns with multicol
by rachelandrew (@rachelandrew)
on CodePen.

Multicol is described as fragmenting the content when it creates these anonymous column boxes to display content. It does not act on the direct children of the multicol container in a flex or grid-like way. In this way it is most similar to the fragmentation that happens when we print a web document, and the content is split between pages. A column-box is essentially the same thing as a page.

What is column-span?

We can use the column-span property to take an element appearing in a column, and cause it to span across all of the columns. This is a pattern common in print design. In the CodePen below I have two such spanning elements:

  • The h1 is inside the article as the first child element and is spanning all of the columns.
  • The h2 is inside the second section, and also spans all of the columns.

See the Pen
Columns with multicol and column-span
by rachelandrew (@rachelandrew)
on CodePen.

This example highlights a few things about column-span. Firstly, it is only possible to span all of the columns, or no columns. The allowable values for column-span are all, or none.

Secondly, when a span interrupts the column boxes, we end up with two lines of columns. The columns are created in the inline direction above the spanning element, then they restart below. Content in the columns does not “jump over” the spanning element and continue.

In addition, the h1 is a direct child of the multicol container, however the h2 is not. The h2 is nested inside a section. This demonstrates the fact that items do not need to be a direct child to have column-span applied to them.

Firefox has now joined other browsers in implementing the column-span property. This means that we have good support for the property across all major browsers, as the Compat data for column-span shows.

The compat data for column-span on MDN

The multicol specification

My interest in the implementation of column-span is partly because I am one of the editors of the multicol specification. I volunteered to edit the multicol specification as it had been stalled for some time, with past resolutions by the WG not having been edited into the spec. There were also a number of unresolved issues, many of which were to do with the column-span feature. I started work by digging through the mailing list archives to find these issues and resolutions where we had them. I then began working through them and editing them into the spec.

At the time I started working on the specification it was at Candidate Recommendation (CR) status, which infers that the specification is deemed to be fairly complete. Given the number of issues, the WG decided to return it to Working Draft (WD) status while these issues were resolved.

CSS development needs teamwork between browsers and spec editors

As a spec editor, it’s exciting when features are being implemented, as it helps to progress the spec. CSS is created via an iterative and collaborative process; the CSS WG do not create a complete specification and fling it over the wall at browser engineers. The process involves working on a feature in the WG, which browser engineers try to implement. Questions and problems discovered during that implementation phase are brought back to the working group. The WG then have to decide what to do about such issues, and the spec editor then gets the job of clarifying the spec based on the resolution. The process repeats — each time we tease out issues. Any lack of clarity could cause an interoperability issue if two browsers interpreted the description of the feature in a different way.

Based on the work that Mozilla have been doing to implement column-span, several issues were brought to the CSS WG and discussed in our calls and face-to-face meetings. We’ve been able to make the specification much clearer on a number of issues with column-span and related issues. Therefore, I’m very happy to have a new property implemented across browsers, and also happy to have a more resilient spec! We recently published an updated WD of multicol, which includes many changes made during the time Mozilla were implementing multicol in Firefox.

Other multicol related issues

With the implementation of column-span, multicol will work in much the same way across browsers. We do have an outstanding issue with regards to the column-fill property, which controls how the columns are filled. The default way that multicol fills columns is to try to balance the content, so equal amounts of content end up in each column.

By using the column-fill property, you can change this behavior to fill columns sequentially. This would mean that a multicol container with a height could fill columns to the specified height, potentially leaving empty columns if there was not enough content.

See the Pen
Columns with multicol and column-fill
by rachelandrew (@rachelandrew)
on CodePen.

Due to specification ambiguity, Firefox and Chrome do different things if the multicol container does not have a height. Chrome ignores the column-fill property and balances, whereas Firefox fills the first column with all of the content. This is the kind of issue that arises when we have a vague or unclear spec. It’s not a case of a browser “getting things wrong”, or trying to make the lives of web developers hard. It’s what happens when specifications aren’t crystal clear! For anyone interested, the somewhat lengthy issue trying to resolve this is here. Most developers won’t come across this issue in practice. However, if you are seeing differences when using column-fill, it is worth knowing about.

The implementation of column-span is a step towards making multicol robust and useful on the web. To read more about multicol and possible use cases see the Guides to Multicol on MDN, and my article When And How To Use Multiple-column Layout.

The post Multiple-column Layout and column-span in Firefox 71 appeared first on Mozilla Hacks - the Web developer blog.

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