“When your actions describe a system of evil consequences, you should be judged by those consequences and not by your explanations.”
Frank Herbert

Children of Dune

Mozilla Weave replaces XMarks

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Mozilla Firefox is my primary (open source) web browser and one of my favorite addons to is was XMarks. It enabled me to easily synchronize bookmarks between my computers. It worked great. At some point the XMarks service was extended to store and synchronize passwords as well. Though I can’t say why, I didn’t trust them enough to store my passwords with them.

Sometimes later XMarks made an attempt to capitalize on the information I (and supposedly many other trusting users) had entrusted with them. They provided an additional addon which was used to enhance search results by looking at all the bookmarks they had collected from their users. My thoughts on this were:

  • I can understand &appreciate their motivation to grow and maybe even generate revenues through their freely offered service.
  • When I gave their search addon a try I was very disappointed with it – it was noisy and useless.
  • Though they have not (to the best of my knowledge) exposed my personal bookmark information, they never asked for permission to use that information for any other purpose.
  • They betrayed me. They dishonestly offered me a “free” service, only to later name their price in terms of “compromised privacy”.
  • There was no way I would trust them with more information, especially not my passwords.

Then, a couple of months ago, Mozilla released Weave. It works silently in the background does much more then XMarks. It synchronizes bookmarks, passwords, browsing history & open tabs. It also has applications to make that information available on mobile devices. It does all this securely and privately. When it is installed you are required to enter an encryption key that is used to encrypt all of your information. You will not be able to access your information without this key so store it well. The point is that no one else will be able to access (or try to capitalize on) your information…. and of course it’s open source and in the spirit of Mozilla’s Manifesto.

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