Today is International Data Privacy Day. It is a day designed to raise awareness and promote best practices for privacy and data protection. It is a day that looks to the future and recognizes that we can and should do better as an industry. It reminds us that we need to focus on the importance of having the trust of our users. We start from the baseline that privacy and security on the Web are fundamental and not optional. We are transparent with our users about our data practices and provide them options for choice and control. We seek to build trust so we can collectively create the Web our users want – the Web we all want. Still, we are working to do better.
The term “privacy” means different things to each of us. At Mozilla, we don’t pretend to know what it means to everyone or that we can determine the right course of action for each user. Rather, our goal is to provide options to our users so they can choose what is right for them. Our privacy principles help guide features specifically targeted at user privacy and security — such as Do Not Track and accountless communications through Hello. And, we have other initiatives that are aimed at changing the way industry interacts with users. For example, our Tiles initiative helps prove that advertising and other customized content can be displayed in a manner that respects users. Each of these features has been engineered with privacy in mind.
We are also experimenting with new privacy and security features. In November, we announced an experimental tool — a tracking protection feature — that allows a user to opt-out of cross-site tracking of their Web activities. This month, we’ve conducted user testing to iterate and improve the feature and will further simplify and optimize its operation. We also announced that we would support Tor’s efforts to provide users with a private and secure browsing experience. We’ve now launched Tor relays that allow Tor to expand its network and serve more users. Tor can now spend more time on innovation and less time on scalability. We’re learning through this experimentation and will continue to iterate until we can do better.
We continue to advocate for transparency in our industry with respect to the collection and use of user data, and are committed to proving — through our own actions — that there is a better way. We are excited to begin 2015 by being recognized for the second time as the Most Trusted Internet Company for Privacy by the Ponemon Institute. We want you to help us to create the Web you want. If you have ideas about other steps we can take, please get involved. In the mean time, let’s celebrate International Data Privacy Day! Here are a few quick tips to get smart on privacy. And please join our Twitter Chat on January 28 at 11am PST hosted by @Firefox with guests (including from DuckDuckGo, McAfee, iKeepSafe, Privacy International and the Center for Democracy and Technology, among others).