Waterfox – 'Spyware Level: High'

Waterfox is a fork of Firefox and i used to use it until it gave me problems that Firefox didn't. Waterfox made its mark as a speedy, 64 bit version of Firefox before there was a 64 bit version of Firefox. More recently the developer started focusing on privacy, or so he claims. I was quite surprised when i ran across this today:

Waterfox – Spyware Level: High

To be clear, the 'spyware' that is claimed to exist in Waterfox is mostly the same kind of stuff that Mozilla Firefox does before it's beaten into submission; phoning home, update checks, search engine shenanigans, etc., but in my book some of that stuff is malware/spyware.

The article is a year old and maybe some of this stuff has been addressed, but not all of it has to my knowledge. Here's some highlights…

If you start up Waterfox for the first time, it will make 109 requests[5] 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.

[…] […] Waterfox's privacy policy does not necessarily reflect what information the browser currently collects. The lack of detail and clarity in the privacy policy is also very concerning.


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).

And just a note to those who subscribe to new post notifications via email; if you haven't seen the boo-boo i made, please read this.

6 thoughts on “Waterfox – 'Spyware Level: High'”

        1. i absolutely disagree with his recomendation – Pale Moon was forked from a very old Firefox code base – it supports the old XUL extensions which have the potential to do a lot more damage than Web Extensions, yet does not, and will not ever (according to him) support Web Extensions

          it's a dinosaur that hasn't gone extinct

            1. compare the number of core developers working on Moon (approx. 5) with the number working on Firefox (hundreds? i really don't know)

              web browsers are incredibly complex beasts consisting of millions of lines of code and operating in a highly complex and dynamic environment

              i hate to put down WF, but as critically important the role of the browser is, no way am i going to put my privacy and computer security in that hands of a handful of people

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