- What is Firefox Health Report?
Firefox Health Report (FHR) enables users to optimize their Firefox configuration and will help us build a more excellent browser. As a non-profit dedicated to making the Web better, Mozilla will use FHR to help us improve performance, fix problems and let users see how their browsing experience compares against other instances of Firefox. FHR will also provide the Mozilla Project a source of open data for improving and prioritizing development.
FHR collects a series of technical indicators about the Firefox browser and periodically send this data to Mozilla. This information includes stability and performance information about the browser and its environment. Users will be able to disable FHR or delete data associated with their browser at any time.
FHR powers a dashboard built into Firefox for users to visualize how their browser performs in comparison to other browser configurations and what they can do to improve its performance. For example, they can see whether a performance problem is unique to their installation or related to a particular add-on, and whether upgrading to the next
version is likely to solve their problem.
- Why has Mozilla created Firefox Health Report (FHR)?
FHR will help users resolve issues with their browser, help Mozilla identify, understand, and fix problems more quickly, ultimately helping us build a better, faster, stronger product for the hundreds of millions of Firefox users around the world.
- How does Firefox Health Report (FHR) work?
Here’s how FHR collects data from a newly activated browser:
On day one it submits one day’s worth of FHR data, “document A”. On day two, the browser submits a document with data for day 1 and 2, “document B”, with an instruction to delete “document A” on the server. The submission from day 3
instructs the server to remove “document B” and so on. Each Firefox browser will store the last copy of the collected data, including per-day data points going back up to 180 days. This way, each browser instance is only represented once on our servers.
We are aggregating data after we receive it from Firefox and delete individual browser data after 180 days.
We convert the IP address of a request to a country and store that data element. If a country does not have many requests, we put requests received from that country into an “everywhere else” geo-bucket, further de-identifying that data.
Users wishing to troubleshoot a potential Firefox problem will only see their own data in comparison to all Firefox browser instances.
- How will Firefox Health Report make the browsing experience better for users?
We will use FHR information to make Firefox better. It will allow us to:
- Enable users to examine their browser’s performance or stability against other configurations of Firefox. This will allow them, and the Mozilla support community, to find and fix problems with their installation.
- Accurately measure performance and stability trends for the majority of Firefox installations. This will help us determine whether problems we see reported are isolated to specific browser configurations (e.g., issues associated with certain combinations of add-ons or a particular version of Firefox).
- Determine what configuration of add-ons and different Firefox versions are contributing to performance or stability problems. Diagnosing exactly how a problem occurs is half the battle in finding a fix.
- How have you acquired product-related data in the past to help improve Firefox?
Firefox users can enable some data gathering tools, like Telemetry and TestPilot that carry out specific tests on parts of the code base. The Firefox ‘Help’ menu also offers users a chance to submit written feedback about their experience with Firefox that goes directly to our customer support team.
Firefox also periodically checks to see:
a) whether there is a newer version of Firefox to upgrade to , and whether the computer is signed up for automatic updates.
b) whether there are any harmful or outdated add-ons or plug-ins installed that Firefox should disable (e.g., when a plugin causes Firefox to crash on startup or contains a critical security vulnerability).
Over the years, Mozilla has relied on various combinations of the above data to determine the number of installations of Firefox and try to identify usage patterns or correlate performance issues with changes in these data types.
- How is Firefox Health Report (FHR) different from how your competitors get product feedback?
We believe that Mozilla’s approach to FHR, which was created in consultation with our community, is a great model for balancing a user centric feature with user privacy. FHR is designed to avoid keeping a long-running record of data correlated to a particular browser. Because FHR makes it clear what information is collected, makes the information directly visible within Firefox, explains why this data is important and provides users with complete control over
deleting their own data, we hope to establish new best practices that can be followed by other developers and our competitors.
- What data will Firefox Health Report send to Mozilla?
Mozilla is a non-profit dedicated to making the Web better and believes being open is the best policy. We don’t want to build a long history of Firefox Health Report (FHR) submissions for any one instance of the browser. Rather, we want to collect product data in the open that will help users optimize Firefox and help Mozilla to build a more excellent browser. FHR is different from our Telemetry engineering monitoring system which is designed to analyze very specific and detailed data about the performance of specific portions of Firefox browser code and is enabled by users.
FHR sends a limited set of data that is relevant to improving the quality and capabilities of Firefox.
For example, FHR sends data to Mozilla on things like: operating system, PC/Mac, number of processors, Firefox version, the number and type of add-ons. The data collected by FHR is tied to a Document ID that corresponds to a browser installation (explained above in question #4) so that the data can be correlated across a limited window of time.
FHR does not collect email addresses or track website visits, which services users are logged into, downloads, or search details, nor does it collect other information which directly identifies you as a user.
- Will Firefox Health Report be rolled out in Firefox for Android?
The initial release of FHR will be for desktop versions of Firefox only. In time, we expect we’ll want to collect this type of diagnostic data for Firefox on mobile platforms as well.
- Can you tell it’s “me” directly from the data you collect?
No. The data we will collect is specific to a given browser instance (the set of configurations used associated with a single instance of the browser).
If multiple users browse with the same browser, their activity is indistinguishable. If a user uses multiple browser instances on the same or different computers, the information is collected and submitted separately for each browser instance with no common identifier.
Mozilla automatically destroys the link between browser instance and data collected after 180 days of having that information.
Users can also disable FHR at any time and remove information that is identified to a specific browser.
- Does Do Not Track disable Firefox Health Report?
Firefox Health Report (FHR) is separate from Do Not Track.
Do Not Track is a Firefox feature that lets you express a preference not to be tracked by third parties online. When the feature is enabled, Firefox will tell advertising networks, data brokers and other websites that you do not want to be tracked.
FHR does not track how a user uses the browser. If you activate Do Not Track you will still be contributing information to FHR unless you specifically disable it.
- Are you selling the data you collect?
- Does FHR align with your policy of putting users in control of their own information?
We believe in giving users power over data, even data like this that isn’t personally identifiable or linkable to our users. FHR gives Firefox users control over data submitted by their browser. Users can use FHR data to better understand their browser’s performance or stability by comparing it to that of aggregate data from other browser configurations. At any time users can disable the feature or delete data associated with their browser.