You may have run into headlines or random forum posts this morning claiming that the “New Firefox gives all your browsing history to Google”.  Many seem to quickly say that it steals all your website information and sells for fun and profit … but don’t even get into what is really happening. 

So to briefly expand, the new Firefox has some anti-phishing capabilities, these capabilities depend on a database managed by Google, that tracks known phishing sites.  FF sends the URL you want to visit off to Google, who checks it against the database.  If it isn’t on the list, then you get to go there, otherwise you get a message telling you not to directly click on links in emails purporting to be from your bank, or Nigeria, or whatever get rich quick scheme you just tried to get in on.  Scary, huh?

Sure Google gets to know about the URLs you visit, and can sell that info to advertisers or use it in their own Adwords; but since you use Google to search, they probably have a good idea already, no?  To top off this wonderful outbreak of FUD … the anti-phishing tool is disabled by default … you have to turn it on yourself!  Follow the link at the Inquirer for more info on this.

“THE FORTHCOMING version of the Firefox browser, Gran Paradiso, will ship with a function that will tell Google all about your browsing habits.

The feature is supposed to be designed to allow the browser to check the URL against a list of phishing sites which is stored at Google.

The downside is that while the punter gets some form of malware protection, Google is getting shedloads of information on the sorts of sites you are visiting.”

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