Category: IT|Oct 11, 2021 | Author: Admin

Firefox sends everything you type into Mozilla's search box

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Firefox sends more data than you might think to Mozilla. To run Firefox Suggest, Firefox sends the keystrokes you type to the search box, your location information, and more to Mozilla's servers.

Firefox Suggest
With Firefox 93 released on October 5, Firefox Suggest was introduced. As part of Firefox Suggest, Firefox gets ads in the search box - but it's not the only news for those who have used Firefox for a few years.


According to Mozilla, "Firefox Suggest acts as a reliable guide to the better part of the web and displays relevant information and websites to help people reach their goals."


In fact, when you start typing in the address bar, you will not only see common search suggestions from Google or your current default search engine. You will also see "Firefox Suggest" results pointing to web pages.


Some of them are sponsored ads, but you can disable the ads.


What data is being sent?
Firefox Suggest is enabled by default. Mozilla's blog post on the subject says that Firefox Suggest is an "opt-in experience" and that was the case in September 2021, but in Firefox 93 it is activated by default.


Firefox and other browsers have had search suggestions in the address bar for many years. So when you start writing "wine" you get suggestions like "Vinmonopolet" and "Finn Erik Vinje".


This is done by sending the keystrokes to the default search engine while typing in the search field, according to the explanation on Mozilla's support page.


All major browsers now use a combined address and search field. If you enter the address of a sensitive website to go directly there, the keystrokes will be sent to your default search engine as you type, and the search engine may be able to find the URL you enter manually.


Double set of suggestions
With Firefox Suggest, there's more of it. In addition to sending keystrokes to Google or whatever your default search engine may be, Firefox also sends them to Mozilla. Both your search engine and Mozilla will return suggestions.


Mozilla also provides contextual suggestions and for that, they need additional data including the city you are in and they will know if you click on the suggestions.


In order to provide contextual suggestions, Firefox needs to send Mozilla data about what you type in the search box, data about your location in the city to know what's nearby and relevant, and whether you click on suggestions and which suggestions you click on.


Can be deactivated
This can be disabled if you want. This will prevent Mozilla from collecting the data you enter in the search box, and will also disable the suggested results and ads.


To do so, open Firefox and click Menu> Settings. Select "Privacy and security" in the left pane and scroll down to "Search suggestions."


If you want to stop Firefox from sending keystrokes to the default search engine (Google or whatever) while typing in the address bar, click "Change search suggestion settings" and uncheck the "Offer search suggestions" option.


Mozilla promises privacy

It's worth noting that Mozilla promises not to misuse your data:


We will only collect the data we need to operate, update and improve the functionality of Firefox Suggest and the overall user experience based on our Lean Data and Data Privacy principles.

We will continue to be open about our data collection practices as we develop this new feature.


We have a very ambitious goal of finding out how we can create a better web. We imagine a living ecosystem - partners around the world - that recommend things on the internet in a completely different way than before.

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