Security Experts:

Firefox 72 Will Let Users Delete Telemetry Data

Set to be released next week, Firefox 72 will provide users with an option to delete the telemetry data that the browser collects from them, Mozilla says.

The new feature was included in the popular browser as a reaction to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which went into effect on January 1, 2020, and which aims to provide Californians more control over their data.

Specifically, the CCPA enables people to learn more about the personal information that is being collected on them, to access the data and correct or delete it, to be informed on the third parties the data is being shared with, and to opt out of the sale of the data.

According to Mozilla, Firefox already operates and handles data in line with these requirements, given the browser maker’s focus on user privacy, but it is now taking this approach a step further by allowing users to delete even the small amount of telemetry data collected by the browser.

The telemetry data includes general information such as the number of tabs opened or how long a browsing session was, but does not include details on the accessed sites, Mozilla notes. Such data is not collected in private browsing mode and users can always disable telemetry in Firefox.

Telemetry data hasn’t been generally considered personal data, and Mozilla already had in place policies regarding how long such data is kept, but now it’s taking it one step further by allowing users to delete such data from its servers.

“[T]he deletion control will be built into Firefox and will begin rolling out in the next version of the browser on January 7. This setting will provide users a way to request deletion for desktop telemetry directly from Firefox – and a way for us, at Mozilla, to perform that deletion,” Mozilla says.

What’s more, even if CCPA applies to users in California, Mozilla is making the feature available to all of its users, just as it did when the privacy requirements of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in 2018.

“For Firefox, privacy is not optional. We don’t think people should have to choose between the technology they love and their privacy. We think you should have both. That’s why we are taking these steps to bring additional protection to all our users under CCPA,” Mozilla concludes.

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