borderline OT fireox question

Brandon J. Wandersee brandon.wandersee at
Fri Jul 15 16:49:04 UTC 2016

Ralf Mardorf via freebsd-questions writes:

> However, Firefox's safe browsing de facto is Google's safe browsing
> and the collected data does say much about people living in some areas.
> And therefore the claim "Google won't be getting anything from Firefox"
> is a wrong claim.
> Other browsers have other pros and cons, I'm just referring to the
> claim "Google won't be getting anything from Firefox".

Seeing as the question was over Google getting readily identifying
information from Firefox, I assumed my meaning could be inferred from
that context. Obviously Google can and will "get something from"
Firefox, since Firefox still allows people to use Google services. That
still doesn't mean that Google is identifying *you*, Ralph Madorph or
William A. Maherty III, by the things you type into the Firefox search
bar. Firefox takes the words you type in and, when you hit Enter, passes
them on to the search engine you use. The browser you use to perform the
searches is of no consequence: as long as you use a search engine that
records your past searches, those searches will be recorded *after* they
are sent by the browser to the remote computer performing the actual

I apologize for derailing this conversation. Privacy on the web is a
worthwhile concern, but I've grown tired of the overwrought paranoia
that accompanies that concern. To most of the world, including the
people you meet every day, you are not Ralph Madorf. You are not William
A. Maheffey III. You are a faceless number nobody cares about, and
beyond your having a legitimate IP that counts toward advertising
revenue or targeted demographic marketing, or socio-political studies,
or your name matching up to the credit card number and address you enter
when you make purchases with them, they don't care who you are or what
you're doing on the Internet. The few people out there that do want to
use potentially identifying information against you pose a problem, but
the solution isn't to fight to keep all information that you fear could
make you a potential target of some malicious entity a secret. That
simply reinforces the idea that many practically harmless aspects of our
lives actually should be hidden; that the mundane searches we perform
are some weakness that can be exploited; that such exploitation is
ultimately the fault of the exploited; and that the potential personal
harm of that information outweighs the potential social good of the
otherwise anonymous information it accompanies. And it's simply an
impossible goal anyway. Perhaps I had a knee-jerk reaction to this
thread and spoke out of turn. Sorry; I'll leave it at that and stop
hijacking it.


::  Brandon J. Wandersee
::  brandon.wandersee at
::  --------------------------------------------------
::  'The best design is as little design as possible.'
::  --- Dieter Rams ----------------------------------

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