At a press conference today in Taipei, The Foxconn Technology Group announced their support for Firefox OS, Mozilla’s open Web mobile operating system based on HTML5 and other Web technologies. The partnership includes collaboration on the use of the Firefox OS on Foxconn devices to create new, integrated offerings.
Firefox for Android comes with the custom, open source fonts Charis and Open Sans to make the Web more beautiful and easier to read on your small screen. The Web is made up almost entirely of text and sometimes reading text can be difficult on small phone and tablet screens. These new fonts will replace the three available Android default fonts to enable a more visually appealing and clear reading experience on the Web. The difference is subtle, but beautiful.
Firefox for Android includes HTML5 compatibility improvements as tested on HTML5test.com, the leading industry HTML5 compliance test. Firefox Firefox scores 421 and 14 bonus points (out of a total of 500).
Thanks to the hard work of the many Mozillians who contribute to building the best mobile browser, Firefox for Android now has an average rating of 4.5 stars in the Google Play Store. Whoo-hoo!
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Social sites are a key part of online life and with Firefox we want to make it easier to use the Web the way you want. Mozilla developed the Social API to enable social providers to integrate directly into Firefox to make your browsing experience more social, customizable and personal. The Social API makes it easy for your favorite social providers to add a sidebar with your content to Firefox or notification buttons directly on the Firefox toolbar.
Last year we launched with Facebook as the first social integration partner in Firefox. Today, we are adding multiple new social providers Cliqz, Mixi and msnNOW to Firefox, in addition to Facebook Messenger for Firefox, to help you stay connected to your social networks, no matter where you go on the Web.
The new social providers in Firefox make it even easier for you to keep up with friends, family, news and events while you surf the Web. You can get real time updates about news activity, entertainment or your personal network while you browse the Web.
New providers you can now add to your Firefox include:
Cliqz delivers a real-time stream of the most relevant articles, stories, and videos based on your interests directly to Firefox. In the upper left of the sidebar, you can personalize your news feed by selecting categories, keywords, websites, and specific people you want to follow. Share links across your social networks or by email; preview Twitter commentary; and save articles for later without ever leaving Firefox.
To activate, visit the Cliqz activation page and click “Activate Cliqz.”
The Mixi sidebar let’s you easily stay in touch with your friends on the Mixi social network in Japan. It provides a real-time activity stream of all comments and photo shares from your personal social network directly to your Firefox browser. Mixi for Firefox is only available to users in Japan.
msnNOW makes it easy to stay up to date on the things people are talking about, searching for and sharing the most on Web. MSN scours the most interesting trends from real-time sources like Facebook, Twitter, Bing, and BreakingNews.com, so you’ll always know what’s happening and get the jump on what everyone is talking about. You can customize the activity stream to watch for particular types of trending content from the sidebar dropdown menu.
To activate, go to the msnNOW page and click “Turn it On.”
The Social API has endless potential for integrating social networks, e-mail, finance, music, cloud possibilities, services, to-do lists, sports, news and other applications into your Firefox experience. We designed the Social API to make it easier and more convenient to use the Web the way you want. Soon we’ll add even more ways to integrate your favorite Web services into your Firefox Web experience.
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Mozilla’s mission compels us to provide people with an Internet experience that puts them in control of their online lives and that treats them with respect. Respecting someone includes respecting their privacy. We aspire to a “no surprises” principle: the idea that when information is gathered about a person, it is done with their knowledge and is used in ways that benefit that person. People should be made aware of how information is collected and used. Each individual should also be able to decide whether the exchange of personal data for the services received in return feels fair. This can be challenging to achieve, especially when balanced against convenience and ease of use: people expect a fast, streamlined user experience without excessive prompts and confusing choices. But we are always striving toward this ideal.
Mozilla is an active participant in the ecosystem of today’s Web economics. Much of the content and information that people enjoy and benefit from is funded by digital marketing and sponsorship. This is a valid business model. We simply believe that when personal data is collected to deliver these services, the collection should be done respectfully and with the consent of the consumer. Commerce works best when users understand the transactions they engage in. The best long-term customer relationships are built on trust.
Mozilla aspires to enable personalization — the customization of ads, content, recommendations, offers and more — that doesn’t rely on the user being in the dark about who has access to that information, and with whom that information is shared. As a major Web browser provider and, now, OS developer, Mozilla’s role is to experiment and innovate toward that aspiration. As an open source project, where contributions are welcomed by all, we encourage all in the industry to help, by constructively proposing approaches and collaborating with us in the open.
Here are a just a few examples of the work Mozilla is doing to explore personalization with respect:
- Persona is an identity system for the Web. It gives people control over their Web logins. People choose what identity to present to a given service. In particular, people can keep their work, personal, and other facets of their lives distinct.
- Do Not Track allows you to tell a website that you would like to opt-out of third-party tracking for purposes including behavioral advertising. It lets users express how they would like information about themselves to be handled. It has many benefits. People who use Firefox must actively enable Do Not Track, making it very clear that the user has made an explicit choice Also, Do Not Track is independent of any particular technology, providing resilience in the face of technology evolution. We continue to work with a broad range of interested parties to see the Web adopt Do Not Track.
- Third party cookie policies are being evaluated to strike a better balance between personalized ads and the tracking of users across the Web without their consent. For example, an experimental version of Firefox allows cookies to be set by first parties and by third parties where Firefox has stored a cookie for the party’s domain, but to block by default third-party cookies whose domain is not known from Firefox’s cookie store. We’ve been evaluating that approach, as well as others, working with stakeholders from across the industry.
It should be possible to delight users (and yes, the right offer at the right time can be a delight), while treating them with respect. We continue to experiment with and evaluate new ways to put users in control of their Web experience and encourage you to join us in building toward this vision. We will share more updates soon.
A recent report by Citizen Lab uncovered that commercial spyware produced by Gamma International is designed to trick people into thinking it’s Mozilla Firefox. We’ve sent Gamma a cease and desist letter today demanding that these illegal practices stop immediately.
As an open source project trusted by hundreds of millions of people around the world, defending Mozilla’s trademarks from this type of abuse is vital to our brand, our users and the continued success of our mission. Mozilla has a longstanding history of protecting users online and was named the Most Trusted Internet Company for Privacy in 2012 by the Ponemon Institute. We cannot abide a software company using our name to disguise online surveillance tools that can be – and in several cases actually have been – used by Gamma’s customers to violate citizens’ human rights and online privacy.
It’s important to note that the spyware does not affect Firefox itself, either during the installation process or when it is operating covertly on a person’s computer or mobile device. Gamma’s software is entirely separate, and only uses our brand and trademarks to lie and mislead as one of its methods for avoiding detection and deletion.
Through the work of the Citizen Lab research team, we believe Gamma’s spyware tries to give users the false impression that, as a program installed on their computer or mobile device, it’s related to Mozilla and Firefox, and is thus trustworthy both technically and in its content. This is accomplished in two ways:
- When a user examines the installed spyware on his/her machine by viewing its properties, Gamma misrepresents its program as “Firefox.exe” and includes the properties associated with Firefox along with a version number and copyright and trademark claims attributed to “Firefox and Mozilla Developers.”
- For an expert user who examines the underlying code of the installed spyware, Gamma includes verbatim the assembly manifest from Firefox software.
The Citizen Lab research team has provided us with samples from the following three instances that demonstrate how this misuse of our brand, trademarks and public trust is a designed feature of Gamma’s spyware products and not unique to a single customer’s deployment:
- A spyware attack in Bahrain aimed at pro-democracy activists;
- The recent discovery of Gamma’s spyware apparently in use amidst Malaysia’s upcoming General Elections; and
- A promotional demo produced by Gamma.
Each sample demonstrates the exact same pattern of falsely designating the installed spyware as originating from Mozilla. Gamma’s own brochures and promotional videos tout one of the essential features of its surveillance software is that it can be covertly deployed on the person’s system and remain undetected.
Unfortunately, Mozilla is no stranger to the misuse of our brand. We’ve fought against companies that use our trademarks to deceive users into downloading malware, providing personal information or paying for Firefox, sometimes in a highly organized and syndicated fashion. Not only are these activities illegal, but we take them seriously because they are deceptive, harm users, cause consumer confusion, and jeopardize Mozilla’s reputation.
We’re grateful for the important work of groups such as Citizen Lab, Privacy International, European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights and Reporters without Borders, and encourage anyone interested in the growing prevalence and societal implications of online surveillance to support their efforts.
Hacking at the White House: introducing Maker Party 2013
We’re extremely excited to be participating in today’s White House Science Fair—and even more excited to have President Obama help us kick off our new summer-long Maker Party: thousands of community-led events around the world to celebrate the amazing things we can make and learn thanks to the Web.
Webmaking at the White House Science Fair
Today, Mozilla joined President Obama at the annual White House Science Fair, celebrating the student winners of science, technology, engineering and math competitions across the United States.
A student member of Mozilla’s Hive Learning Network project—16-year old Zainab Oni from MOUSE in NYC—was honored for her contribution to a wrist-mounted Arduino circuit, which helps visually impaired diners find their food. 15-year-old Senqué A. Little-Poole, from the Sprout Fund‘s Hive Pittsburgh chapter, was also honored, for his research on how to use anti-virus cells to cure diseases.
Mozilla’s Executive Director Mark Surman also was there, to talk about our efforts to teach technology skills and, with the help of the White House, to kick off Mozilla’s big summer-long campaign: Maker Party 2013.
Introducing Maker Party 2013
This summer, from June 15 to September 15, Mozilla and the National Writing Project will host dozens of partners from around the world in a giant global Maker Party. Thousands of events will celebrate the amazing things we can make and share on the Web — from video remixes, to apps and webpages, to DIY robots.
Maker Party 2013 will be the second annual summer-long party Mozilla has thrown focused on Web education and digital literacy. Last year’s campaign, the Mozilla Summer Code Party, included more than 700 community-led events, with more than 10,000 participants across 80 countries. This year the party will be much bigger—with 40+ big-name partners currently signed-up, and more to come.
Who’s coming to the party?
Maker Party 2013 is a big tent affair. We’ll be joined by dynamic start-ups, non-profits, institutions, and tech companies, including Black Girls Code, California Academcy of Sciences, DIY.org, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, Intel, NYC Department of Education, and the Sesame Workshop. Together, we’ll be engaging more than 500,000 people to learn and make things thanks to the web. A full and growing list of the organizations joining the Maker Party is available at webmaker.org/party.
“This is a global party — and you’re invited,” said Mozilla Executive Director, Mark Surman. “Mozillians are people who make things, and we’re part of a growing global community of people who feel the same way. That’s why this year’s party isn’t just about learning to code, but celebrating the huge range of learning, making and creating the Web makes possible.”
How to get involved:
- Join the party. Sign up at webmaker.org/party. Make something, share it, or teach others what you know.
- Watch the science fair live today. The White House Science Fair will be livestreaming from 11:30 am on.
- Host or attend a maker party. We make it easy to find an event near you—or to throw your own.
- Get more involved. Take part in our new “Teach the Web” open online course, and connect with other like-minded people around the world.
- Spread the word. We’ll be tweeting our announcement live from the White House using the #MakerParty hashtag. Join in!
Mozilla’s Maker Party is a part of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Summer of Connected Learning.
Here at Mozilla, we believe the Internet is a global public resource that must remain open and accessible. We believe in the importance of balancing the commercial goals of the Internet against those for the public benefit. Brazil’s Internet Bill of Rights, the Marco Civil da Internet, seeks to maintain this balance by guaranteeing basic rights for Internet users. We support this kind of effort to create a comprehensive, pro-Internet policy framework. If adopted, it could well serve as a reference model for future legislation.
The legislation is groundbreaking in its intent. It secures important rights to Internet users through a civil framework rather than a criminal code. These rights include the right to privacy, freedom of speech, and access to information. It defends communications over the Internet, protects the sanctity of the Internet connection itself, requires comprehensive information in service contracts (particularly with respect to the protection of personal data), and limits third party access to connection logs and Internet applications.
The Marco Civil has been percolating since 2009. Despite a high level of community engagement (a collaboration of over eight hundred contributors), the legislation stagnated when commercial interests got involved. Important components of the legislation, such as the safe harbor provision regarding copyright infringement, have already been excluded. We don’t want to see the legislation further diluted.
The Marco Civil mandates net neutrality while outlawing the tracking of consumers through deep packet inspection (DPI). These are two hot-button provisos opposed by certain commercial entities. The prohibition against DPI protects privacy and choice by outlawing its use to track unaware Internet users. The mandate of net neutrality contains very limited exceptions – and particularly prohibits businesses from charging for different types of services depending on what is contained in a data packet.
The drafters of the Marco Civil and other interested parties are hosting a seminar in Brasilia on April 17. This Internet Bill of Rights sets valuable precedent for not only global net neutrality and privacy principles, but for the protection of intellectual property rights everywhere.