fathom.jsm third party module in omni.ja : why ?

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Post Posted July 17th, 2020, 3:29 am

A new third-party module has been introduced in TB 78 builds.
omni.ja > modules > third_party > fathom > fathom.jsm

What is exactly fathom module is not that clear:
Fathom is a supervised-learning system for recognizing parts of web pages—pop-ups, address forms, slideshows—or for classifying a page as a whole.

A DOM flows in one side, and DOM nodes flow out the other, tagged with types and probabilities that those types are correct.
A Prolog-like language makes it straightforward to specify the hints that suggest each type, and a neural-net-based trainer determines the optimal contribution of each.
Finally, the FathomFox web extension and a rich assortment of commandline tools help you collect, label, and use a corpus of web pages to train a recognizer.

Looks really weird in a email application, and potentially introducing some security holes.
Could someone better explain what a "normal" TB user should expect from this "supervised-learning system" ????
Was it requested by someone ? Or any third-party company ?


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Post Posted July 17th, 2020, 4:09 am


Moving this to Thunderbird Builds...
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Post Posted July 17th, 2020, 4:38 am

Yes, I thought I was in the TB thread. and wanted to move it, but blocked by a crazy Captcha asking me "how many letters in Mozilla?" ?
I tried 7 many times, then 8, but it was not correct, even after counting and counting again.
I needed to find this thread to learn that there are 6 letters in Mozilla.
Seriously..... nobody thought about reformulating this crazy captcha question ??

However..... this fathom question is also relevant for Firefox !!
omni.ja > modules > third_party > fathom > fathom.jsm

It's all the Fx/Tb 78 series which are concerned by this fathom third-party module (which looks like a spying machine.)
If no answer in TB thread which is not so active, I will post again in Fx thread.

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Post Posted July 17th, 2020, 5:20 am


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Post Posted July 17th, 2020, 10:26 am

Fathom: a framework for understanding web pages

Oh, that's beyond me, so in my mind, I'll simply call it - spyware.

Oh, & look, an extension, Block Yourself from Analytics.
(Since it is not recommended [& even if it were], it's probably spyware ;-).)
Fire 750, bring back 250.
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Post Posted July 20th, 2020, 4:50 am

Note that this is about UNIQUE letters: Mozilla -> 6 (counting the double 'll' as one).


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Post Posted July 20th, 2020, 10:35 am

The captcha question: How many letters in "Mozilla?:" (no space between 'a' and '?:', then extra confusion, letters ? characters ?... who knows):
Spontaneous human answer: 7, may be 8 (even 9 for some others I've seen).
With no doubt at all, there are 6 letters in Mozila, and 3 letters in 'cat' or 'dog'.

How many unique letters in the word Mozilla ? " / Answer is 6.

The remark which is totally valid was made in 2018, but no correction yet.
I forgot to say I also needed to check with another browser (Falkon), to verify that there were nothing wrong with '7' answer in the captcha script not correctly interpreted by Firefox.
I also assumed that capital 'M' was may be counted for 2 letters, then tried answer '8' ....
Amazing the time lost for an absurd inaccurate captcha question.

Well, not the topic / just a remark on lost of time, and why thread "not at the right place" could not be moved (although not true, Firefox being concerned).
Now back to the new "fathom" supervisor improvement.
Why this marvelous improvement introduced in the 78 series (Firefox and Thunderbird) is nowhere mentioned in the "What's knew" 78 series ?

Is it for the same reason "fathom supervised-learning system" has been hidden in omni.ja file which is a zip file with some header mistakes to fake it as a non zip file ?

And no answer found anywhere to these questions:
* which third-party wants to supervise mail user content (still supposed to be private ???) ?
* who had the brilliant idea to introduce fathom in both Firefox and Thunderbird, with no user information ?

Well, not sure any "confidential" answer is necessary. I have my own opinion.
Thanks anyway.


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Post Posted July 21st, 2020, 1:50 am


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Post Posted July 21st, 2020, 3:29 am

thunderbird/firefox fathom.jsm file is this one:



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Post Posted July 21st, 2020, 10:27 am

Only the admin can change the captcha.

Our admin has been unreachable since last Sept (after stating he was going to shutdown the web site due to lack of time to make certain changes). When he decides to return we have a candidate to replace him that we want to suggest.

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