Waterfox is a web browser that is a fork of Firefox.
Waterfox is a fork of Firefox that claims to be more private and secure than Firefox. However, Waterfox contains telemetry and shares information about you with Mozilla, and has other spyware features.
If you start up Waterfox for the first time, it will make 109 requests to several spyware platforms, most notably Google Analytics, and Mozilla online services like its Geolocation service, and several other Mozilla services, as well as Waterfox's own update service. You can look at a list of these requests here or on a mirror here.
Waterfox shares this information with Mozilla and will collect this information every time you launch Waterfox.
By default Waterfox is using the spyware search engine Bing. Why would a privacy-based Web Browser offer this search engine by default? The other offered search engines are not much better- we have the option of searching with Google, which also logs your internet searches, and Ecosia, which also logs your internet searches (but it gives them to Bing). Luckily there are some more private search engines offered, like StartPage and DuckDuckGo. What is concerning is the attitude that the developer of Waterfox has towards these spyware search engines:
"Bing is actually quite good for privacy as well (let's not forget Mozilla even suggested them as a more privacy focused search back in 2009)."
It's very clear that while the browser advertises itself as very privacy focused, the actual words and actions of the developers aren't consistent with this claim.
So, Mozilla can see who is sending notifications, when these notifications are being sent, how many notifications are sent, and how many websites you have enabled notifications on. Waterfox collects all of the above, and additionally sees your IP address for each notification sent.
The "Firefox Accounts" platform allows you to sync a lot of sensitive information, such as your internet history, across all of your devices. This is, of course, all being stored on Mozilla's servers. This feature is opt-in spyware, but it should still be mentioned. If you don't want your internet history to be uploaded to Mozilla servers, don't use this feature.
Self updates are a spyware feature since they are usually ways for the developer of a program to put spyware into their software without presenting it in a prominent way where the user can understand what they are giving up when they download the update. Given Waterfox's bad communication, this is especially likely to happen.
Improve security for users everywhere
2. What happened to Waterfox's devotion to user privacy? [web.archive.org] [archive.li]
3. Waterfox and Ecosia — Privacy Concerns [web.archive.org] [archive.is]
4. Access Mozilla Services with Firefox Account [archive.li]
5. How to choose a browser for everyday use? [web.archive.org] [archive.is]
This article was last edited on 6/2/2018
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