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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

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Chanson de Roland

Mozilla's has installed, as a default installation of CDM, Google's Widevine CDM in the beta version of Firefox, version 47.0b6, which will almost certainly be the default installation in four to six weeks in the release version of Firefox. I don't object to CDM-DRM per se, where it does nothing more than protect and defend a copyright holder's lawful interests in his/its copyright. My objection to Widevine, however, and my great disappointment with Mozilla is that Widevine goes much further and does much more than simply protect copyright; it installs what I regard as Google's malware, Widevine, into Firefox, which boldly and unabashedly collects a Firefox user's personal information, as set forth in Google's privacy policy, as the consideration for using Widevine. That violates at least my privacy.

And my disappointment with Mozilla is that it is almost certainly installing Widevine into Firefox, instead of CDM that only protects copyright and does nothing more, because it is getting a fat check from Google to do so. I expected Mozilla, in the spirit of open-source software and with respect for its users' privacy, to install CDM that only protects copyright, instead of a CDM, here Widevine, that requires its users' to sacrifice their personal information to Google and its business partners have CDM. If, instead of Widevine, Mozilla installs CDM that only protects copyright in future versions of Firefox, it will permit its users to use CDM-DRM protected and duly copyrighted materials without sacrificing their privacy to do so. Otherwise, Mozilla is little better than a pimp, with its users as its whoes.

To not put to fine a point on it, the reasonable inference is that Mozilla has sold out or is in the process of selling out: It is preparing to compromise its users' privacy for money. That is morally repugnant, at least to me, and will cause me to revisit using Apple's Safari as my primary, if not sole, browser, if Apple uses CDM that does not compromise its users' privacy but only protects copyright.

I occasionally might wish to use CDM content, but I will only do so without compromising my privacy. Therefore, I will be watching to see what CDM Mozilla installs in the release and future beta version of Firefox. If it is Widevine or any other CDM that lays claim to my personal information or in any other way compromises my privacy, I won't use it but will look for a third-party CDM extension to Firefox that does not compromise its users' privacy. If there are no such extensions that provide CDM for Firefox without compromising my privacy, I will look elsewhere for my browser. And if there is no browser that does not require its users to sacrifice their privacy to use CDM, then I will forgo CDM content.

It appears that no one need save Firefox, because Firefox is in the process of saving itself at a handsome profit but at the cost of its soul. And, as has been said: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” The Bible, KJV, Mark 8:36.

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