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Saturday, 12 December 2009 19:55

Firefox users told to choose Bing over Google

A statement by Google chief executive Eric Schmidt about privacy has so annoyed Mozilla director of community development, Asa Dotzler, that he has recommended that Firefox users use Bing as their search engine instead of Google.

Schmidt's statement, made during an interview with the American business TV channel, CNBC, ran this way:

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines - including Google - do retain this information for some time and it's important, for example, that we are all subject in the United States to the Patriot Act and it is possible that all that information could be made available to the authorities."

Dotzler said that Microsoft's Bing appeared to have much better privacy policies than Google, hence he was recommending that Firefox users switch to Bing.

He also provided a link to the Bing add-on for Firefox.

In a later post, Dotzler linked to a third-party post to get his point across. "I think that the thing that bothers me most about Google CEO Eric Schmidt's comment is that it makes clear that he simply doesn't understand privacy," he wrote.

And a while later, he wrote a long post himself explaining his reaction in detail. "Users have a right to privacy online and to understand exactly what they're giving up in exchange for the great services available from companies like Google," he concluded.

"I understand the value in that negotiation, but for several years things have become increasingly out of balance with the service companies gathering more and more data and making it harder for users to understand the implications and exert control and I think it's past time that the pendulum swing back towards user control.

"Yes, it's a balancing act but right now it's out of whack and people using the web deserve better."

The Mozilla Foundation earns a tidy sum from Google for using it as the default search engine for Firefox.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.



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