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Prepare to be Creeped Out

do, 15/03/2018 - 17:53

Mozilla Fellow Hang Do Thi Duc joins us to share her Data Selfie art project. It collects the same basic info you provide to Facebook. Sharing this kind of data about yourself isn’t something we’d normally recommend. But, if you want to know what’s happening behind the scenes when you scroll through your Facebook feed, installing Data Selfie is worth considering. Use at your own risk. If you do, you might be surprised by what you see.

Hi everyone, I’m Hang,

Ever wonder what Facebook knows about you? Why did that ad for motorcycle insurance pop up when you don’t own a motorcycle? Why did that ad for foot cream pop up right after you talked about your foot itching?

I wondered. So I created something to help me find out. I call it Data Selfie. It’s an add-on–a little piece of software you download to use with your web browser–that works in both Firefox and Chrome.

How does it work? Every time you like, click, read, or post something on Facebook, Facebook knows. Even if you don’t comment or share much, Facebook learns about you as you scroll through your feed.

My add-on does something similar. It’s here to help you understand how your actions online can be tracked. It does this by collecting the same information you provide to Facebook, while still respecting your privacy.

NOTE: The add-on is available in Firefox too.

Want to see what your Data Selfie looks like? Here’s how:

  1. Go here:
  2. Download the Firefox or Chrome add-on
  3. Check out my privacy policy if you want to know more about how this works .
  4. You’ll see an eye icon that looks in the upper right corner of your browser. Click on it.
  5. From the list, click “Your Data Selfie.”

You’ll see there’s not much to your Data Selfie yet. Just browse Facebook as you normally do. It takes about a week of regular Facebook use for your Data Selfie to gather enough information to give you a good idea of what Facebook might know about you.

Thanks! I hope you enjoy your Data Selfie.

Hang Do Thi Duc
Mozilla Fellow

PS. My Data Selfie says I’m a laid-back, liberal man who isn’t likely to have a gym membership and prefers style when buying clothes. Pretty accurate, actually.

The post Prepare to be Creeped Out appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Latest Firefox available to users where they browse the web — laptop, Fire TV and the office. Plus, a chance to help with the next Firefox release!

di, 13/03/2018 - 14:07

This week, we’re happy to roll out not one, but three Firefox releases to our users. Now available in more of the places where they browse, Firefox users can access the web whether they’re relaxing at home with their laptop, in front of their TV with Amazon Fire TV, or at the office. Additionally, we’re running a contest (with prizes!) for users who want to help with the next Firefox Quantum release in May. So, without further ado, here’s information on this week’s Firefox releases:

  • Latest Firefox Quantum release for Desktop

Today, March 13, the latest release of Firefox Quantum for desktop users is now available. We’ve improved privacy for those who use Private Browsing mode. To learn more about the technical details on how that works, you can visit this blog post. And, we made changes under the hood where users may notice faster page load times. The latest version of Firefox Quantum is available for the Desktop and Mobile – iOS and Android.

  • Latest Firefox for Amazon Fire TV Available this Week

With this latest release, we’ve included a fresh new look to help you easily navigate the web on your Fire TV. No more typing in long URLs that you like to visit frequently. Users can now save their preferred websites by pinning them to the Firefox home screen. By using the menu button, you can easily remove any pinned websites at any time.

Add your favorite websites to Firefox on Fire TV


  • Firefox Quantum for Enterprise Available Wednesday in Beta

Starting on Wednesday, Firefox Quantum for Enterprise enters Beta, as a final step towards bringing a release version of Firefox Quantum to enterprise users. Needless to say, we’re all super excited to give millions of additional users an update to Firefox Quantum, as everyone deserves to have a super fast and well designed browser. To learn more about how we’re making it easier for IT professionals to install the new Firefox Quantum for their employees, visit our blog post and sign up for the beta of Firefox Quantum for Enterprise.


Want to help with the next Firefox Quantum release?

Did you know that back in 2008, Pocket won our Extend Firefox 3 contest? We’re bringing back the tradition of Firefox Extensions contests with our first Firefox Quantum Extensions Challenge this month! Whether you’re a developer or someone who likes to create fun, cool things, like one-woman Firefox theme machine, MaDonna, we’re looking for the next generation of Extensions. Since the next release of Firefox Quantum supports new WebExtension APIs, we’re on the hunt for new Extensions to make our users’ browsing experience productive, fast, and fun. The winners will be crowned by the next Firefox Quantum release in May. For more details about the contest and prizes, visit our site today and the Hacks blog on Thursday, March 15.


And in related Extensions/Add-on news, we’re holding our annual March Add(on)ness. There are thousands of ways you can customize Firefox to make it your own web experience. So, we’re playing off the top Add-ons to find out who will walk away with the title as “the must-have, must-install extension” of our annual tournament. Learn more on the Firefox Frontier.


If you haven’t yet switched to the new Firefox Quantum browser, we invite you to download the latest version.

Release Notes for Firefox for Android

The post Latest Firefox available to users where they browse the web — laptop, Fire TV and the office. Plus, a chance to help with the next Firefox release! appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Mozilla experiment aims to reduce bias in code reviews

do, 08/03/2018 - 16:39

Mozilla is kicking off a new experiment for International Women’s Day, looking at ways to make open source software projects friendlier to women and racial minorities. Its first target? The code review process.

The experiment has two parts: there’s an effort to build an extension for Firefox that gives programmers a way to anonymize pull requests, so reviewers will see the code itself, but not necessarily the identity of the person who wrote it. The second part is gathering data about how sites like Bugzilla and GitHub work, to see how “blind reviews” might fit into established workflows.

The idea behind the experiment is a simple one: If the identity of a coder is shielded, there’s less opportunity for unconscious gender or racial bias to creep into decision-making processes. It’s similar to an experiment that began the 1970s, when U.S. symphonies began using blind auditions to hire musicians. Instead of hand-picking known proteges, juries listened to candidates playing behind a screen. That change gave women an edge: They were 50 percent more likely to make it past the first audition if their gender wasn’t known. Over the decades, women gained ground, going from 10% representation in orchestras to 35 percent in the 1990s.

Mozilla is hoping to use a similar mechanism – anonymity – to make the code review process more egalitarian, especially in open source projects that rely on volunteers. Female programmers are underrepresented in the tech industry overall, and much less likely to participate in open source projects. Women account for 22 percent of computer programmers working in the U.S, but only 11 percent of them contribute to open source projects. A 2016 study of more than 50 GitHub repositories revealed that, in fact, women’s pull requests were approved more often than their male counterparts – nearly 3% more often. However, if their gender was known, female coders were .8% less likely to have their code accepted.

What’s going on? There are two possible answers. One is that people have an unconscious bias against women who write code. If that’s the case, there’s a test you can take to find out: Do I have trouble associating women with scientific and technical roles?

Then there is a darker interpretation: that men are acting deliberately to keep computer programming a boy’s club, rather than accepting high-quality input from women, racial minorities, transgender individuals, and economically underprivileged folks.

A Commitment to Diversity

What does it mean to be inclusive and welcoming to female software engineers? It means, first of all, taking stock of what kind of people we think will do the best job creating software.

“When we talk about diversity and inclusion, it helps to understand the “default persona” that we’re dealing with,” said Emma Humphries, an engineering program manager and bugmaster at Mozilla. “We think of a typical software programmer as a white male with a college education and full-time job that affords him the opportunity to do open source work, either as a hobby or as part of a job that directly supports open source projects.”

This default group comes with a lot of assumptions, Humphries said. They have access to high-bandwidth internet and computers that can run a compiler and development tools, as opposed to a smartphone or a Chromebook. “When we talk about including people outside of this idealized group, we get pushback based on those assumptions,” she said.

For decades, white men have dominated the ranks of software developers in the U.S. But that’s starting to change. The question is, how can we deal with biases that have been years in the making?

Inventing a Solution

Mozilla’s Don Marti, a strategist for Mozilla’s Open Innovation group, decided to take on the challenge. Marti’s hypothesis was: If I don’t know who requested the code review, then I won’t have any preconceived notions about how good or bad the code might be. Marti recruited Tomislav Jovanovic, a ten-year veteran of Mozilla’s open source projects, to create a blinding mechanism for code repositories like GitHub. That way, reviewers can’t see the gender, location, user name, icon, or avatar associated with a particular code submission.

Jovanovic was eager to contribute. “I have been following tech industry diversity efforts for a long time, so the idea of using a browser extension to help with that seemed intriguing,” he said. “Even if we are explicitly trying to be fair, most of us still have some unconscious bias that may influence our reviews based on the author’s perceived gender, race, and/or authority.”

Bias goes the other way as well, in that reviewers might be less critical of work by their peers and colleagues. “Our mind often tricks us into skimming code submitted by known and trusted contributors,” Jovanovic said. “So hiding their identities can lead to more thorough reviews, and ultimately better code overall.”

Test and Measure

An early prototype of a Firefox Quantum add-on can redact the identity of a review requestor on Bugzilla and the Pull Request author on GitHub. It also provides the ability to uncover that identity, if you prefer to get a first look at code without author info, then greet a new contributor or refer to a familiar contributor by name in your comments. Early users can also flag the final review as performed in “blind mode”, helping gather information about who is getting their code accepted and measuring how long the process takes.

Jovanovic is also gathering user input about what types of reviews could be blind by default and how to use a browser extension to streamline common workflows in GitHub. It’s still early days, but so far, feedback on the tests has been overwhelmingly positive.

Having a tool that can protect coders, no matter who they are, is a great first step to building a meritocracy in a rough-and-tumble programmer culture. In recent years, there have been a number of high-profile cases of harassment at companies like Google, GitHub, Facebook, and others. An even better step would be if companies, projects, and code repositories would adopt blind reviews as a mandatory part of their code review processes.

For folks who are committed to open source software development, the GitHub study was something of a downer. “I thought open source was this great democratizing force in the world,” said Larissa Shapiro, Head of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Mozilla. “But it does seem that there is a pervasive pattern of gender bias in tech, and it’s even worse in the open source culture.”

Small Bias, Big Impact

Bias in any context adds up to a whole lot more than hurt feelings. There are far-reaching consequences to having gender and racial bias in peer reviews of code. For the programmers, completing software projects – including review and approval of their code – is the way to be productive and therefore valued. If a woman is not able to merge her code into a project for whatever reason, it imperils her job.

“In the software world, code review is a primary tool that we use to communicate, to assign value to our work, and to establish the pecking order at work in our industry,” Shapiro said.

Ironically, demand for programming talent is high and expected to go higher. Businesses need programmers to help them build new applications, create and deliver quality content, and offer novel ways to communicate and share experiences online. According to the group Women Who Code, companies could see a massive shortfall of technical talent just two years from now, with as many as a million jobs going unfilled. At 59% of the U.S. workforce, women could help with that shortfall. However, they make up just 30% of workers in the tech industry today, and are leaving it faster than any other sector. So we’re not really heading in the right direction, in terms of encouraging women and other underrepresented groups to take on technical roles.

Maybe a clever bit of browser code can start to turn the tide. At the very least, we should all be invested in making open source more open to all, and accept high-quality contributions, no matter who or where they come from. The upside is there: Eliminate bias. Build better communities. Cultivate talent. Get better code, and complete projects faster. What’s not to like about that?

You can sign up for an email alert when the final version of the Blind Reviews Experiment browser extension becomes available later this year, and we’ll ask for your feedback on how to make the extensions as efficient and effective as possible.


The post Mozilla experiment aims to reduce bias in code reviews appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet

Setting the stage for our next chapter

do, 08/03/2018 - 16:02

2017 was a great year for Mozilla. From new and revitalized product releases across our expanding portfolio to significant progress in advocating for and advancing the open web with new capabilities and approaches, to ramping up support for our allies in the broader community, to establishing new strategic partnerships with global search providers — we now have a much stronger foundation from which we can grow our impact in the world.

Building on this momentum, we are making two important changes to our leadership team to ensure we’re positioned for even greater impact in the years to come.  I’m pleased to announce that Denelle Dixon has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer and Mark Mayo has been promoted to Chief Product Officer.

As Chief Operating Officer, Denelle will be responsible for our overall operating business leading the strategic and operational teams that work across Mozilla to ensure we’re scaling our impact as a robust open source organization. Aligning these groups under Denelle’s leadership will ensure a holistic approach to business growth, development and operating efficiency by integrating the best of commercial and open innovation practices across all that we do.

As Chief Product Officer, Mark will oversee existing and new product development as we deepen and expand our product portfolio. In his new role, Mark will oversee Firefox, Pocket, and our Emerging Markets teams. Having all our product groups in one organization means we can more effectively execute against a single, clear vision and roadmap to ultimately give people more agency in every part of their connected lives.

Our mission is more important and urgent than ever, our goals are ambitious and I’m confident that together we will achieve them.


The post Setting the stage for our next chapter appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

Categorieën: Mozilla-nl planet