Mozilla's got it wrong again?

So Mozilla announced in a post on their blog that they have been working for several months with a team from Meta (the parent company of Facebook) “on a new proposal that aims to enable conversion measurement - or attribution - for advertising called Interoperable Private Attribution, or IPA.". This proposal aims to provide advertisers with the ability to perform attribution while offering strong privacy guarantees: providing us with ads without revealing our identities to GAFAMs (for Google, Apple, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft).

This announcement has received a lot of critics from all sides. It’s not the first time Mozilla has announced a partnership with companies that go against its statement on user data protection. And I’m the first one to shout at Mozilla when it accepts a contract estimated at 300 million dollars a year with Google.

The problem is that things are not going well for the Firefox parent company, as told in a WIRED article from a few weeks ago “Is Firefox OK?": “Mozilla and Google have a complicated relationship. […] Each year Google pays Mozilla hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties—reports say that figure is currently in the range of $400 million per year—for its search engine to be set as the default in Firefox."

Mozilla needs to find a way to make money, as no one gives money to these projects without being reminded on every page that without us, nothing could exist (hi Wikipedia!). The organisation has already announced a VPN, but seriously, who is using it? So it needs to find a way to fund itself without depending on another company.

Let’s turn now to the common research team of Mozilla and Meta. Let’s not lie to each other. Internet advertising is not going to disappear by tomorrow and I don’t think it ever will. So if Mozilla can find a way to provide more privacy-friendly ads, why be against it? Yes, I think it’s a shame that they chose Meta to achieve this. But you also have to remember that Facebook is one of the biggest ad providers in the world. I think what Mozilla is trying to do is kill two birds with one stone: try to improve the privacy of the ads provided by Facebook (is this really possible?) and at the same time maybe find a way to finance itself by respecting its discourse as an organisation that fights for privacy on the internet.

As Henry, CEO of Techlore, says, "The Real Privacy Enemy is Ourselves". Firefox is surely, along with Brave (this may be the occasion of a new post), the only viable alternative to Google Chrome for any average user. Keep on shouting mindlessly at those who are trying to protect you, as best they can, and you will be left with those who only want to steal all your data.