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fnkmaster
 
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Post Posted November 16th, 2004, 11:28 pm

guest123: When I use the eBay search function I still expect to be sent to the eBay site, and to be subject to eBay privacy policies, not to a third party site. So there's the transparency issue here - it is not clear that you are being sent through a third party site without digging around. I don't care if eBay "nominated" them or not.

And if this is all the case, why the hell the official Mozilla silence and blatant cover-up attempt at the beginning of this thread by Axel? Why didn't he just reply and say "Hey guys, this search engine was what eBay told us to use in place of their own, we're sorry we weren't more clear about this and we'll fix that in the future"? And why don't they seem to want to engage with the userbase in a discussion about whether search derived revenue or paid feature placement is an appropriate strategy for an Open Source, community-built browser?

Again, it's all about trust and transparency, the latter of which I hate to say the Mozilla org people have always been pretty shitty about no matter how much I like their browsers.

Scarlettrunner20

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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 12:54 am

I'm not sure what to make of this:

Re:Firefox GER contains Spyware (Score:5, Informative)
by falonaj (615782) on Tuesday November 16, @06:20PM (#10836783)
(http://www.amen-online.org/)

The german version of Firefox 1.0 contains spyware in the ebay-plugin. Search queries are redirected to a data-mining corporation in switzerland.

It seems that the spyware claim is wrong.

After the Heise.de news article was published, there were some responses from Mozilla developers in the German forum linked in the article.

Here is a summary of the facts:

1. The Swiss company is a contract partner of Ebay.
2. Ebay gave the Swiss URL to the Mozilla Foundation as a localized link for the search plug-in.
3. Ebay always forwards search requests to affiliate companies, no matter whether you enter the search keywords in the search plug-in or on the site.
4. The redirect via the Swiss contract partner of Ebay was the sole decision of Ebay.de. The Mozilla Foundation has no relation to that company. Ebay chose to give direct links for Ebay.com and for all all other Ebay sites.
5. If you don't trust Ebay's contract partners then you should not use their services. Switching your browser won't help.
6. The Mozilla Foundation has a contract with Ebay saying that for every Ebay search originating from the search plug-in they get a certain amount of money. This contract is valid for all localizations. The Mozilla developers have no access to any data collected by Ebay or its partners.

The contract between the Ebay and the Mozilla Foundation is interesting, but allegations of spyware are untrue if you know the facts.

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=129904&cid=10836783

guest123

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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 1:20 am

Scarlettrunner20 wrote: 6. The Mozilla Foundation has a contract with Ebay saying that for every Ebay search originating from the search plug-in they get a certain amount of money. This contract is valid for all localizations.


Was just wondering, does mozilla get money as we search google from the default firefox home page?
Last edited by guest123 on November 17th, 2004, 1:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.7.12) Gecko/20050915 Firefox/1.0.7

fnkmaster
 
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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 1:29 am

That's nice, but then why didn't one of them just come here and fucking post that themselves instead of trying to squelch discussion here? The /. post you refer to (which I already saw in the discussion over there) is basically the same thing esavior posted here, but spun more positively for Mozilla.

Furthermore, I consider the fact that eBay now has "discretion" about what content goes into Firefox essentially a bad thing, and that this payola system was adopted without public discussion is terrible. And call them eBay's "contract partner" all you want, sending a search request to their website isn't the same as sending it to eBay's website, and I have no knowledge of the nature of their contract, what obligations they have under it to protect my privacy and so on.

xor
 
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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 2:04 am

Scarlettrunner20 wrote:After the Heise.de news article was published, there were some responses from Mozilla developers in the German forum linked in the article.

Here is a summary of the facts:

1. The Swiss company is a contract partner of Ebay.

That does not make things better: everybody payed by eBay is their "contract partner" of course.
2. Ebay gave the Swiss URL to the Mozilla Foundation as a localized link for the search plug-in.

Why would the Mozilla Foundation use the link eBay wants them to use? What if eBay requested them to also forward other information? Would they do it? Mozilla should not be eBays helper...
3. Ebay always forwards search requests to affiliate companies, no matter whether you enter the search keywords in the search plug-in or on the site.

So, let eBay do whatever they want: they will have to deal with the consequences. But why helping them with questionable practices?
4. The redirect via the Swiss contract partner of Ebay was the sole decision of Ebay.de. The Mozilla Foundation has no relation to that company. Ebay chose to give direct links for Ebay.com and for all all other Ebay sites.

But it was the sole decision of the Mozilla Foundation to use this link. Nobody forced them - but payed them!
5. If you don't trust Ebay's contract partners then you should not use their services. Switching your browser won't help.

Again: being a "contract partner" is a very vague statement. I am also a "contract partner" of eBay since I use their web site.
6. The Mozilla Foundation has a contract with Ebay saying that for every Ebay search originating from the search plug-in they get a certain amount of money. This contract is valid for all localizations. The Mozilla developers have no access to any data collected by Ebay or its partners.

If the Mozilla Foundation gets payed by eBay for directing the users search requests, then this should have been communicated clearly in advance as it raises concerns.
The contract between the Ebay and the Mozilla Foundation is interesting, but allegations of spyware are untrue if you know the facts.

For me, Spyware is software that automatically collects data about my actions and supplies this data to somebody else (and gets payed for doing this). This is EXACTLY what Firefox does. How much data is collected and what the collector does with my data is an interesting detail, but does not change the fact that data is collected behind my back.

And when you now say: "no harm is done to you", this is exactly what suppliers of software that alters your TCP/IP stack to redirect you amazon purchases through a partner link would say in their defence.

moeffju
 
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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 2:30 am

505 wrote:Take a look at the Google searchplugin, google.src in /searchplugins. Now compare that to the URL when doing a search with the Google plugin. It would add "client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official" to the URL.


The difference being that all this data would have landed at Google anyway, the only additional information they got is that you used Firefox, and which release of it. Since Google could reasonable mine your queries anyway, this is fine with me.
The eBay Search, however, was redirected over the server of a third party (webtip.ch). I would not even have taken issue with a redirect over mediaplex, since I know Mediaplex is an official eBay partner etc., but I never heard of webtip, and their current homepage (";-)") does little to ease my mind.

Dunderklumpen
 
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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 4:39 am

Ok, I think I have gotten this by now.

The Foundation has a deal with Ebay and some others and they make money out of integrating some searchengines in Firefox.
The links are provided by the the searchengines, in this case Ebay.

I have no problem with that - as long as the users (we) are informed.

The disturbing part is if the searchengines are gathering information and what they do with it.
Not that the Mozilla Foundation is required to investigate that - but it is a concern anyway and this type of deals can be a problem
since one of the marketingarguments is that ad-ware/spyware will not be as much of a problem with Firefox .

If one or more of the integrated searchengines in fact are gathering information - that is a problem.

bcool

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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 5:36 am

Pike2 wrote:Can someone please close this thread?

This issue is discussed in the german FF forums, and there is no reason to split it.

The german thread has attention by both Mozilla Europe and the Foundation, represented by me and Mitchell Baker. Which is up to now ignored by the poster.

Axel Hecht

Mozilla Europe


Do you know that you only fueled the hysteria by your silly request here? You did not help. This issue must be eviscerated until the truth is fully revealed. Hopefully everyone will see that there's no sinister plot afoot. Now behave yourself.
Never let them see you sweat

sybille

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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 6:03 am

bcool wrote:Hopefully everyone will see that there's no sinister plot afoot.


Unless there is one.

Or if not a sinister plot, then poor management, lack of communication, questionable business models, etc.

bcool

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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 6:32 am

Keep hope alive, mon ami! :D
Last edited by bcool on November 17th, 2004, 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
Never let them see you sweat

rfrangioni77

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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 6:34 am

xor wrote:For me, Spyware is software that automatically collects data about my actions and supplies this data to somebody else (and gets payed for doing this). This is EXACTLY what Firefox does. How much data is collected and what the collector does with my data is an interesting detail, but does not change the fact that data is collected behind my back.


Point of order: That's what the <i>GERMAN</i> translation of Firefox does. As far as anyone can tell, no other dubious search plugin exists in any other version.

garyniger
 
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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 6:41 am

rfrangioni77 wrote:
xor wrote:For me, Spyware is software that automatically collects data about my actions and supplies this data to somebody else (and gets payed for doing this). This is EXACTLY what Firefox does. How much data is collected and what the collector does with my data is an interesting detail, but does not change the fact that data is collected behind my back.


Point of order: That's what the <i>GERMAN</i> translation of Firefox does. As far as anyone can tell, no other dubious search plugin exists in any other version.


Yet.

rfrangioni77

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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 6:42 am

garyniger wrote:
rfrangioni77 wrote:
xor wrote:For me, Spyware is software that automatically collects data about my actions and supplies this data to somebody else (and gets payed for doing this). This is EXACTLY what Firefox does. How much data is collected and what the collector does with my data is an interesting detail, but does not change the fact that data is collected behind my back.


Point of order: That's what the <i>GERMAN</i> translation of Firefox does. As far as anyone can tell, no other dubious search plugin exists in any other version.


Yet.


I dare say, after this episode, ever.

pariah
 
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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 6:49 am

Pike2 wrote:Can someone please close this thread?

This issue is discussed in the german FF forums, and there is no reason to split it.

The german thread has attention by both Mozilla Europe and the Foundation, represented by me and Mitchell Baker. Which is up to now ignored by the poster.

Axel Hecht

Mozilla Europe


Well, excuse us for not speaking German. Actually, I do speak German, and my translation reads (very loosely) like this:

"I deliberately inserted the adware and spyware, so it's all good. As the President of the Mozilla Foundation indicated a while back in her personal blog, we're looking to make cash from searches. She didn't tell you how, but you could have guessed what it means. I posted a mention of my 'tracker' to Bugzilla, so you should have read every line of that also, and you should have guessed what it means. It means that (while we expect you to be impressed by the anti-adware and anti-spyware ideas generated by our user-funded PR campaigns) there's actually nothing wrong with covertly redirecting your searches to an ad server with tracking cookies. However, I'd still like all you English-speaking folks to shut up about this 'useful' feature once I've posted a couple of lame and evasive excuses to a German-language forum."

Guess we'd better just keep pressing the 'donate' button while Mitchell and Alex snuggle up to their new corporate spyware buddies. Cool.

esavior

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Post Posted November 17th, 2004, 7:21 am

3. Ebay always forwards search requests to affiliate companies, no matter whether you enter the search keywords in the search plug-in or on the site.

No it doesnt. I just went to ebay.com and ebay.de and searched for ibook. The url progression goes like this,
http://www.ebay.com
http://buy.ebay.com/ibook

http://www.ebay.de
http://search.ebay.de/ibook_W0QQsokeywordredirectZ0

As I said in my post the only time it links through mediaplex is when its a third party site referring to ebay.
Pariah can you or someone else translate(not paraphrase) this paragraph for me, it seems important but babel borked on part of it.
AxelHect wrote:Die inhaltliche Entscheidung aber kann sowohl ich als auch Mozilla Europe und die Mozilla Foundation vertreten. mozilla.org hat 10-15 fest angestellte Mitarbeiter. Das ist bei den Sourcen auch nötig, es muss zwar nicht jeder sich überall auskennen, aber einen Grundstock braucht es schon. Und die Entwicklungen in diesem Projekt sind mit 10-20 Wochenstunden nicht zu verfolgen. Fragt meinen Chef. Mozilla wird sicherlich eher Pleite gehen (oder zumindest einen kompletten Wechsel der Belegschaft durchmachen), bevor wir unsere Produkte zu adware umrüsten oder aber Daten unserer Nutzer an Dritte verkaufen. Sollten aber Teile der Programme, die aus inhaltlichen Gründen drin sind, sich anbieten, die weitere Entwicklung oder die technischen Ressourcen zu finanzieren, so sollten wir diese Chance nutzen dürfen.
Mindjunk
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