Firefox goes private by default

An interesting change from Mozilla, the browser underdog, today: it’s turning on privacy settings by default, and will begin blocking trackers for all users of the browser. Arguing that it’s a move to protect against “pervasive tracking and collection” of data, Firefox says defaults matter.

It’s an interesting change in policy, perfectly timed as the rest of the world becomes more aware of privacy. In a study cited by Mozilla, this stat blew my mind:

Chrome and Safari are the two most prevalent browsers in our data, with Chrome being associated to about 43% of the ad transactions and Safari to about 38%. About 73% of the ads shown on a Safari browser do not have a cookie associated, whereas on Chrome this is the case about 17% of the time.

That leaves Chrome as the outlier, with the majority of the market share, and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon. Google has made moves to block abusive advertising by default in the browser, but that’s the extent of how far it’s willing to go, since it has skin in the game.

I’ve written about tracker prevalence in the past, and how many of them seem to be slathered on without thought for the user. As Mozilla points out, the amount of money gained in return for using trackers is fractions of cents, so it’s probably time to change the trend (and by proxy, make the web faster again).

Tab Dump

The SEC is suing Kik for issuing unregistered securities
It’s the first real case of this type, and will probe whether Kik’s move to finance the company by selling $100M in securities was a violation of U.S. law. The cryptocurrency is valued at a fraction of the opening price, and it’s now emerged that Ontario’s security commission also warned Kik (which is based in Canada) that it appeared to be creating a security. Initial Coin Offerings seem to have slowed down this year, but this case is likely to finally draw a line in the sand.

A Facebook employee leaked the identity of a controversial video uploaded
Facebook refused to remove a viral video of U.S. speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, that appeared to show her slurring her speech, but the story got worse: an employee at the company happily leaked the identity of the user that uploaded it that uploaded it to the media. 

The FTC mulls an investigation into Amazon as well
Antitrust law is suddenly alive and well in the technology sector, and the FTC is reportedly asking questions about Amazon’s bundling practices. 

Apple is making developers put its ‘Sign in with Apple’ button at the top of other buttons
I wrote about this feature in depth yesterday, and how uneasy it makes me feel that Apple is forcing adoption with its market advantage. Tiny moves like this make me question what’s going on here all the more.

IKEA is making robotic furniture for ultra-tiny spaces