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Mozilla Launches Firefox Focus, a Stripped-Down Private Browser For iOS ( 35

Krystalo quotes a report from VentureBeat: Mozilla today launched a new browser for iOS. In addition to Firefox, the company now also offers Firefox Focus, a browser dedicated to user privacy that by default blocks many web trackers, including analytics, social, and advertising. You can download the new app now from Apple's App Store. If you're getting a huge feeling of deja vu, that's because in December 2015, Mozilla launched Focus by Firefox, a content blocker for iOS. The company has now rebranded the app as Firefox Focus, and it serves two purposes. The content blocker, which can still be used with Safari, remains unchanged. The basic browser, which can be used in conjunction with Firefox for iOS, is new. Firefox Focus is basically just an iOS web view with tracking protection. If you shut it down, or iOS shuts it down while it's in the background, the session is lost. There's also an erase button if you want to wipe your session sooner. But those are really the only features -- there's no history, menus, or even tabs.
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Mozilla Launches Firefox Focus, a Stripped-Down Private Browser For iOS

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  • by Geoffrey.landis ( 926948 ) on Thursday November 17, 2016 @06:52PM (#53310313) Homepage

    Nice. If "stripped down" means none of the useless bells and whistles, just simple functionality, I'm all for it.
    The privacy part doesn't hurt, too.

    • They probably just removed the UI. Or made it so low contrast you can't see it anyway.

  • by wafflemonger ( 515122 ) on Thursday November 17, 2016 @07:05PM (#53310437) []

    It phones home by default. Turn off telemetry if that bothers you.

    • "Telemetry" isn't necessarily antithetical to privacy. It just means companies can see how their users collectively use their products. Effective telemetry really has no use for personally identifiable data anyhow, because it's most often analyzed collectively. For instance, you might look at percentage of users who keep x number of tabs open on average, or how long those tabs tend to stay open, or how often a user digs into advance settings. Knowing things like this can help to design better user inter

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The problem is not Telemetry, not even with MS. The problem is being quiet about it, not telling the user what data is sent, when it's sent, and enabling it by default. I have no reason to trust even Mozilla that their telemetry data is innocent. Until they provide a clear specification of the telemetry data, and a UI to verify it, I will assume that they'll log and send home every single keystroke, every visited site, every single click

  • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Thursday November 17, 2016 @08:00PM (#53310771) Journal

    Why bother, until Apple allows someone to build a browser that isn't just a thin wrapper around their one webkit library who cares?

    I mean what is the point, its as if you can offer much in terms of experience on a phone. Its probably the one place where a web browser really should be stripped of just about any UI other than a combine address/search bar, which is the trend everywhere anyway. As far as 'privacy' you are one IOS update away from Apple deciding to break it utterly by having webviews cache update typed word suggestions, or otherwise spew data all over the place.

    Its all a big waste of time really.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Apple is bound to make some distinct changes over time, if their marketing aim is to sell you privacy, rather than selling your privacy, they will need to make series of background changes to promote that, including listing warnings on apps from the store. They can not sell your privacy if they take a commission on apps that sell your privacy. The big question is what kind of market premium can be charged for privacy assurance, 25%, 50% or even 100%, this over troll works like Windows anal probe 10. That pr

  • "Focus by Firefox" no longer exists in Apple's app store, just Firefox Focus.
  • I downloaded it and I like it. I did immediately turn off the "anon stats phone home" stuff.

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