Author Topic: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?  (Read 16911 times)

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Offline fourtytwo42Topic starter

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Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« on: February 04, 2024, 06:08:38 pm »
I recently was tracking hard disk writes by application and found FireFox doing writes at a rate determined by search frequency from an application within FireFox called Glean.
https://docs.telemetry.mozilla.org/concepts/glean/glean.html

I always thought you could turn off any monitoring by Mozilla BUT now I discover they have added this Glean that does not appear to have any means of disabling it :wtf:

It is a telemetry system gathering data, storing it on my hard drive and reporting it to Mozilla so just as bad as any other Spyware installed by software of dubious quality.

Any comments anybody or anybody know how to kill it stone dead ? >:D


I should mention this is FF 122.0 (64bit) and I had not noticed it on previous versions though I had no cause to look.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2024, 06:14:30 pm by fourtytwo42 »
 

Offline ataradov

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2024, 06:32:01 pm »
This https://firefox-source-docs.mozilla.org/toolkit/components/glean/dev/preferences.html suggests that Glean SDK is controlled by datareporting.healthreport.uploadEnabled config option.

The same is controlled by the config UI option "Allow Firefox to send technical and Interaction data to Mozilla"
Alex
 
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Offline fourtytwo42Topic starter

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2024, 07:13:06 pm »
Wow fast & comprehensive reply. Interestingly both settings are false  :-//
 

Offline ataradov

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2024, 07:28:43 pm »
They were enabled on my PC and I did disable as much tracking and reporting as I could while setting up the system. So, I assume this was added at some later date and set by default.
Alex
 

Offline fourtytwo42Topic starter

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2024, 08:22:07 pm »
I use Linux (Mint 21 atm) and use iotop to watch disk writes and there it was firefox(glean.dispatche), NASTY INDEED!
Maybe time to change browser........
 

Offline YurkshireLad

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2024, 08:39:59 pm »
They were enabled on my PC and I did disable as much tracking and reporting as I could while setting up the system. So, I assume this was added at some later date and set by default.

Same here - I assume a Firefox update must have re-enabled this option.
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2024, 12:14:15 am »
I use Linux (Mint 21 atm) and use iotop to watch disk writes and there it was firefox(glean.dispatche), NASTY INDEED!
Maybe time to change browser........

That's odd. But there's a category in Firefox settings: "Firefox Data Collection and Use" - always uncheck everything. Normally no need to fiddle with about:config parameters.
I don't know how Firefox updates are handled on Mint, but that's the benefit of updating via your distro's package manager: it bypasses the installers of applications. I've never seen any setting changed after an update, but I only update via the package manager of my distro. If you use flatpacks, or similar, then that's what you're exposed to. Just something to keep in mind.
 

Offline ataradov

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2024, 12:36:35 am »
The settings do not change. But when they add a new one, they always default to spying.
Alex
 
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Online indeterminate

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2024, 12:56:48 am »
Try setting " datareporting.policy.dataSubmissionEnabled " to false
 
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Offline abeyer

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2024, 07:10:26 am »
Also, given that you're looking only at local disk access, it seems conceivable that whatever monitors glean is running is just locally collecting data for future access (eg if you choose to send a crash report or something) but not actively uploading it based on the names of those perms.

Have you actually confirmed some network payload is doing anything with what it writes to disk?
 

Offline fourtytwo42Topic starter

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2024, 12:23:39 pm »
Try setting " datareporting.policy.dataSubmissionEnabled " to false
Tried and failed! Thanks for the idea :)
 

Offline fourtytwo42Topic starter

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2024, 12:25:37 pm »
Also, given that you're looking only at local disk access, it seems conceivable that whatever monitors glean is running is just locally collecting data for future access (eg if you choose to send a crash report or something) but not actively uploading it based on the names of those perms.

Have you actually confirmed some network payload is doing anything with what it writes to disk?
You are quite right and no I have not BUT to me any disk activity by applications such as glean is highly suspicious and given the security settings should not be happening at all.
 

Offline fourtytwo42Topic starter

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2024, 12:29:59 pm »
I use Linux (Mint 21 atm) and use iotop to watch disk writes and there it was firefox(glean.dispatche), NASTY INDEED!
Maybe time to change browser........

That's odd. But there's a category in Firefox settings: "Firefox Data Collection and Use" - always uncheck everything. Normally no need to fiddle with about:config parameters.
I don't know how Firefox updates are handled on Mint, but that's the benefit of updating via your distro's package manager: it bypasses the installers of applications. I've never seen any setting changed after an update, but I only update via the package manager of my distro. If you use flatpacks, or similar, then that's what you're exposed to. Just something to keep in mind.
I am afraid unchecking everything is how I always set up FF, that's why I was so surprised to find this disk activity from glean that I did not even know FF had added to there browser recently. Of course I only use the version of FF released and updated by the distribution, in this case Mint.
 

Offline audiotubes

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2024, 12:53:35 pm »
Maybe it's worth it to set up a chroot, jail etc. for sandboxing browers. Or use a VM.
I have taken apart more gear than many people. But I have put less gear back together than most people. So there is still room for improvement.
 

Online Stray Electron

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Re: Is the use of GLEAN in FireFox Spyware ?
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2024, 02:22:01 pm »
Try setting " datareporting.policy.dataSubmissionEnabled " to false

   
   Thanks.  I just checked my Firefox and it was there and it was set to True, even though I had gone through several months ago and turned off all reporting. So this must be something new. 

  I had very carefully turned off all updating Firefox a couple of years ago because I didn't like the sluggishness of the newer versions. But Firefox kept updating anyway. I finally located the address of their update server and added it to my Hosts file and finally stopped it from updating but it seems that that didn't prevent it from adding new Spy-Ware.
 


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