back to article 'An issue of survival': Why Mozilla welcomes EU attempts to regulate the internet giants

Mozilla's head of EU public policy, Raegan MacDonald, reckons effective regulation to protect privacy and enable fair competition is an "issue of survival" for Mozilla and other independent companies. The browser developer approached us in order to comment on the EU's newly announced digital strategy. "We're at the beginning …

      1. veti Silver badge

        But it still applies until at least 31 December.

        Which implies that whatever Google is doing now, it's not contrary to GDPR or any other EU rules at all.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It still applies until the Data Protection Act in UK law is modified, even after Dec 31st. GDPR rules exist as part of UK legislation, not just EU rules (although it was down to EU rules)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That’s only part of the story though...

        “...Ireland where Google and other US tech companies have their European headquarters, is staying in the EU...It is understood that Google decided to move its British users out of Irish jurisdiction because it is unclear whether Britain will follow GDPR or adopt other rules that could affect the handling of user data...”

        So it’s more about Brexit legal uncertainty than what you suggested.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        GDPR exists in UK law as the Data Protection Act. Without amendment or revocation GDPR rules will still apply despite the self harm the country has committed.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          And yet somehow Google thinks they can shift the data to the US. Now which data controller in the US would you need to speak to to assert your GDPR rights? And would they take any notice of you? And if they don't, which independent data protection public body would you speak to to get them enforced (do they even exist in the US)?

          1. Mike11111

            You would speak to the exact same person you spoke to to assert your rights if the data were stored in France or on the moon. The UK ICO. The Data Protection Act was always stronger than the requirements mandated by the EU; at present GDPR is written into UK law and continues to apply after Brexit - of course any 'punishment' handed down would be wholly inadequate but that can be assumed as it has been historically nothing to do with Brexit.

      4. P. Lee Silver badge

        I'd suggest it makes sense not to use google on a day-to-day basis.

        However, I'm not sure what Mozilla does any more. How many people does it take to maintain a browser?

        It was my browser of choice and I still like it, but I can't say I've seen a lot of new features recently.

      5. P. Lee Silver badge

        >Google could also have had British accounts answer to a British subsidiary, but has opted not to do so

        British people could also generally not to use google, but have opted not to do so.

        With the prevalence of big tech, privacy is non-trivial to keep, but you can do some basic things, like use a paid-for email service, use Brave or no-script. I really value privacy, but even just blocking the ads makes the internet a more pleasant place.

  1. big_D Silver badge

    That photo!

    My grandmother wants her specs back! She had a pair like that, back in the 70s! What is old is new.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: That photo!

      Judging from those glasses this woman is clearly a librarian!

      1. DJV Silver badge

        Re: That photo!

        Ook? But she isn't orange and hairy!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That photo!

          Are you saying Donald Trump is a librarian?

          1. DJV Silver badge

            Re: That photo!

            If only!

        2. Teiwaz Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: That photo!

          Ook? But she isn't orange and hairy!

          At least where we can see....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That photo!

      Or Barry Humphries want his glasses back.

  2. P.B. Lecavalier
    Megaphone

    Optimization??

    How about you optimize Mozilla with its 1000+ employees and its 300+ million budget?

  3. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Oh yes you can ..... and it's quite easy

    "Mozilla is not a company that owns an ecosystem; we do not own hardware; we cannot promote or create ourselves as the default in mobile, in iOS, in Android, or on a laptop or desktop." ..... Mozilla head of EU public policy Raegan MacDonald

    Of course we can, Ms MacDonald, by the simple adage of prime drivering information for browsers in all systems to access for Advanced IntelAIgent Programming.

    A little something extra especial to energise and exercise that great matter between the ears.

    And that's enough to keep anyone busy for more than just ever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh yes .... quite easy

      well, probably really yes! - and does one need to add in one's post that the target is already half set with the question of Ms MacDonald, but would that require some brand new method of crypting/decrypting wbstf right on-the-go, appearing right out-of-the-blue?

      aIright, nobody getting jealous, blue's just an example (-;

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Oh yes you can ..... and it's quite easy

      And that's what the establishment are terrified of for then have they lost command and control of the leading narratives ..... to SMARTR IntelAIgent Systems executing Almighty Beta Virtual Instructions.

      I Kid U Not.

      Do you realise those points in time and space are your current reality to deny if you can and want to?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But there's one sound

      ....That no one knows

      https://youtu.be/jofNR_WkoCE

  4. Ozan

    We really need Firefox alive

    Long time ago, the existance saved us from Proprietary MS only internet.

    Also, I only used Firefox all my life.

    1. DJV Silver badge

      Re: We really need Firefox alive

      As a web developer I tend to use lots of different ones. But Firefox is still my main go to browser and has been since it was called Phoenix (and, for a very short time, Firebird).

      1. iron Silver badge

        Re: We really need Firefox alive

        I was the person who told them Firebird was already taken (by an Interbase database clone). They weren't too pleased having spent several weeks coming up with that name to replace Phoenix.

        When they suggested Firefox I laughed and said "you know there's a Clint Eastwood film..."

        1. DJV Silver badge

          Re: We really need Firefox alive

          That reminds me of when Norwich Union rebranded itself as Aviva, which they thought was a pretty unique/unused name. That is until until someone pointed out that on one of the main pedestrian areas in Norwich there was already a women's clothes shop* called Aviva...

          (* it's gone now)

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: We really need Firefox alive

            and a transport company called Arriva.

      2. Ozan

        Re: We really need Firefox alive

        Remember Phoenix days. We are lucky to have it at that time. We are lucky that we still have it around.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We really need Firefox alive

        I was sad to discover it's woeful support for CSS columns recently though. Had to make a franken-div to get sensible breaking in both Chrome and Firefox.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: We really need Firefox alive

          CSS is dead. It was created to fix the problem of browsers, ESPECIALLY IE, that were not WC3 standards compliant.

          It is now more of a problem and part of the bloat rather than a solution these days.

        2. 142

          Re: We really need Firefox alive

          On quite a few of these CSS3 issues, it's that Firefox adheres to the actual CSS spec, but the spec is an ass. Chrome and several others deviate from the spec with proprietary undocumented cludges, that give behaviour that's much more intuitive, and makes FF look "broken" in contrast. Certainly this is the case with a lot of Flexbox oddness, not as certain about grid.

          Worked on a site recently where I just relented that it will look different on FF and Chrome... I didn't have the energy to franken-div it.

    2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: We really need Firefox alive

      Long time ago, the existance saved us from Proprietary MS only internet.

      And I would have thought it deliciously ironic (and a much better choice for them and us) if Microsoft had based their Edge rewrite on Mozilla/Firefox rather than MSIE6-revisited (AKA Google Chrome).

    3. Updraft102 Silver badge

      Re: We really need Firefox alive

      I wish we had that same Firefox now. Back then, Mozilla's strategy was to unabashedly deliver a better browser than the corporate giant offered. The bit about not being part of the Microsoft hegemony was certainly part of it, but being a better browser was important too. It's doubtful people would have migrated just because of the dislike for what MS was doing to the web!

      Now the same outfit that aimed to unseat IE by making a better browser is doing its level best to lop off every feature that makes Firefox better than Chrome, in some kind of foolish hope that it can somehow out-Chrome the actual Chrome. What would have happened if Mozilla of the early 2000s removed Firefox's tabbed browsing feature, removed the toolbar customization, and restricted the addon APIs so that only IE BHOs (browser helper objects) could be used instead of the much more powerful XPCOM addons? Would it have had the impact it did if it tried to compete with IE on who can have the most IE-like feature set?

      Mozilla has been obsessed with trying to copy Chrome for more than a decade, and its market share has been in freefall for about the same time. I'm not suggesting causation... only that trying to out-Chrome the actual Chrome has not worked, and yet they still persist, as if there was some kind of critical mass of deleted features that will finally start the exodus away from Chrome.

      Chrome's UI is the worst I have ever seen on a desktop browser, and Firefox's used to be the best, until they dumped that to be more like Chrome. It's been a gradual process of dropping important features with each release, but extension authors repeatedly stepped up and provided the means to fix these blunders. Then, of course, Mozilla chopped off the extension API capable of making such changes, in favor of the Chrome extension API (of course). If not for userChrome.css, bringing a Firefox-like UI to Firefox would be impossible... and that's a feature Chrome doesn't have, so I'm terribly suspicious that its days are numbered too.

      Mozilla seems to be engaged in a decade-long suicide pact, and it shows no sign of changing direction.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: We really need Firefox alive

        Your experience is very outdated.

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: We really need Firefox alive

          Current as of Firefox 73.

      2. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: We really need Firefox alive

        @Updraft102

        "Chrome's UI is the worst I have ever seen on a desktop browser, and Firefox's used to be the best, until they dumped that to be more like Chrome."

        I am glad its not just me with that problem. I dont care that other people might prefer chromes look over FF but I preferred FF over chrome. That and the version number thing where they seem to be rushing to have the highest number yet for what I am using I see nothing different.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We really need Firefox alive

          www.palemoon.org

          Try it, you may like it

  5. IGotOut Silver badge

    If you want to see this in action.

    Use Chrome and do an image search in Google.

    Now use a different browser and perform the same.

    Notice how the Chrome version gives you a whole load more options to filter and refine?

    1. JimPoak

      Re: If you want to see this in action.

      Another damning thing that Google actively discourages use of other browses. How do I know this? The last month Google maps became unusable on Firefox but I have access to other browsers one of which Falkon was able to fool Google that it was Chrome. It promoted Google to sent out a message saying "Chrome needs to be on a new version". Nevertheless Google maps worked perfectly.

      1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: If you want to see this in action.

        Another damning thing that Google actively discourages use of other browses.

        It's definitely the case with the Google Play Store.

      2. Glenturret Single Malt

        Re: If you want to see this in action.

        "last month Google maps became unusable on Firefox"

        I do not understand the comment. I am using FF 73.0.1 and Google maps without any problems.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: If you want to see this in action.

          Same here. No issues.

  6. Blackjack Silver badge

    And before, the web was the land of Internet Explorer

    Remember that thing? Oh wait, Windows 10 still has it!

    1. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Re: And before, the web was the land of Internet Explorer

      Sort-of.

      I am not a big Windows user, but IIRC, the Mosaic (via Spyglass Software, an amazingly prescient name) based Internet Explorer has been replaced by the Chromium based Edge browser. I'm pretty sure this "child of Chrome" is at least the default browser for Windows 10.

      But, yeah, you _can_ run IE on Win10, much as you _can_ swim in the SF Bay in January. That said, most employers will not require you to do that (the swimming bit, not the "use IE until we can fix some crucial company sites". That's still a thing)

      1. Blackjack Silver badge

        Re: And before, the web was the land of Internet Explorer

        Microsoft still includes some support for IE (HECK IE 11 STILL GETS UPDATES!) because Enterprises for some reason still need it.

        And I was referring to the late 90s early 2000s when the Wed was literally made for Internet Explorer and if you tried another Web Browser the webpages didn't work right.

  7. Eeep !
    IT Angle

    El Reg less relevant to IT as ***** ** ****** * ***** ** *** commentards die off ?

    Age appropriate eye sight loss related to f*ckwittery about female attractiveness?

  8. RegGuy1 Silver badge

    FFS -- delete the cookies

    ok it probably doesn't solve much, but set your browser to delete ALL cookies when you exit the browser. And exit it at least once per day, preferably more often.

    It will make it a little more difficult for them to track you as you'll get a different cookie the next time you go to their site. Plus use an ad blocker to stop more cookies getting stored, which reduces the footprint of data they have on you from different sites. Then use No Script to stop unnecessary scripts from loading, often in the background. Don't think that's a problem? Then I recommend you put No Script on for a short time and just look at the number of websites that get loaded when you load a page -- try the 'free' news sites, as they seem to be the worst. Every time you go on one you will load sometimes twenty or so other sites; some are needed for the page to function, but many are just parasitic trying to get you to store cookies so they can build a picture of what you view.

    As I say none of this is foolproof, but it only adds a little more effort on your side, and will break some of their scripts so they have less complete data about you.

    If you think all the above is shit, then be my guest and do nowt. I may be just as exposed as you, but at least I don't see any of those annoying flashing adverts. They drive me mad. And if the website then breaks when you use these tools don't use it and go to a different website. Whose loss is that, yours or theirs?

    You have the power!! :-)

    Oh, and forget about those fucking glasses. They are not important.

    1. Blackjack Silver badge

      Re: FFS -- delete the cookies

      Nowadays they also track you by location and IP so deleting cookies barely does anything to improve your privacy.

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: FFS -- delete the cookies

        Nowadays they also track you by location and IP so deleting cookies barely does anything to improve your privacy.

        My IP address changes every few days (or more often if I want it to), and it comes from a pool of IP addresses that cover an area that includes multiple millions of people in a radius of at least 50 miles. If they can track me with that without some other form of persistent ID (like a cookie), my hat is off to them!

  9. Lars Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Good EU, size matters.

    Using Vivaldi now however.

    1. The obvious

      Vivaldi the chromeskin. I use it too but it’s worth remembering as there lies the problem. Browser engine diversity protects standards and we as a community seems to have forgotten the browser wars.

  10. Tom Paine Silver badge

    +1 Mozilla. Apparently "purity spirals" are a thing. If one happened in the realm of browser security, then I for one...

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