Caution Warranted on a Mozilla Boycott

After the recent resignation of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, many high-profile conservative commentators (such as Charles Krauthammer and Dennis Prager) have called for a boycott of Mozilla products, especially the Firefox browser.  Twitter also has an active #BoycottFirefox hashtag thread.  We must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Regardless of how you feel about Eich's departure and the reasons thereof, there is also a battle going on against unwanted online government, corporate, and other surveillance activities (much of which Edward Snowden brought to light).  Mozilla is helping in this fight.  Note that some calling for a Mozilla boycott are also the same ones who view Snowden as a traitor.

In response to revelations about global data surveillance programs like PRISM, XKeyscore, and Tempora, the PRISM Break project was created to help the public find free (and commercial) software that would provide them with a more secure and private online experience.  Two key touchstones of enhanced privacy online are the Mozilla browser Firefox (especially via the Tor Browser Bundle) and its e-mail program Thunderbird, particularly the add-on available for these products.

Yes, as some have mentioned, Firefox is slower than Google Chrome, and probably less efficient than Internet Explorer depending on the circumstances, but it offers much greater security options than either of these alternatives.  At present, the choice appears to be quite clear: security or speed?  Take your pick.  And if you are a conservative concerned with Mozilla's corporate political stances, do you really think either Microsoft or Google IS more supportive of your ideology?  Not likely.

So before you uninstall Mozilla products, weigh the reasons for your choice against your online security and privacy objectives.  And while you are at it, spend some time investigating the PRISM Break website.  If you aren't there already, consider moving to a more secure (and free) operating system (i.e., GNU/Linux) with all of its software options.  The war for online freedom will go on, but keep in mind that Microsoft, Google, Apple, and others are not on your side.  Is Mozilla?  Well, at least with regard to security and privacy, it appears to be.