The Mozilla Blog., 18 .
Dispatches from the Internet frontier.

1. Explore the immersive web with Firefox Reality. Now available for Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream., 18 .[−]

Earlier this year, we shared that we are building a completely new browser called Firefox Reality. The mixed reality team at Mozilla set out to build a web browser that has been designed from the ground up to work on stand-alone virtual and augmented reality (or mixed reality) headsets. Today, we are pleased to announce that the first release of Firefox Reality is available in the Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream app stores.

At a time when people are questioning the impact of technology on their lives and looking for leadership from independent organizations like Mozilla, Firefox Reality brings to the 3D web and immersive content experiences the level of ease of use, choice, control and privacy they’ve come to expect from Firefox.

But for us, the ability to enjoy the 2D web is just table stakes for a VR browser. We built Firefox Reality to move seamlessly between the 2D web and the immersive web.

Designed from the virtual ground up

The Mixed Reality team here at Mozilla has invested a significant amount of time, effort, and research into figuring out how we can design a browser for virtual reality:

We had to rethink everything, including navigation, text-input, environments, search and more. This required years of research, and countless conversations with users, content creators, and hardware partners. The result is a browser that is built for the medium it serves. It makes a big difference, and we think you will love all of the features and details that weve created specifically for a MR browser.
– Andre Vrignaud, Head of Mixed Reality Platform Strategy at Mozilla

Among these features is the ability to search the web using your voice. Text input is still a chore for virtual reality, and this is a great first step towards solving that. With Firefox Reality you can choose to search using the microphone in your headset.

Content served fresh

We spent a lot of time talking to early VR headset owners. We asked questions like: “What is missing?” “Do you love your device?” And “If not, why?” The feedback we heard the most was that users were having a hard time finding new games and experiences. This is why we built a feed of amazing content into the home screen of Firefox Reality.
– Andre Vrignaud, Head of Mixed Reality Platform Strategy at Mozilla

From the moment you open the browser, you will be presented with immersive experiences that can be enjoyed on a VR headset directly from the Firefox Reality browser. We are working with creators around the world to bring an amazing collection of games, videos, environments, and experiences that can be accessed directly from the home screen.

A new dimension of Firefox

We know a thing or two about making an amazing web browser. Firefox Reality is using our new Quantum engine for mobile browsers. The result is smooth and fast performance that is crucial for a VR browser. We also take things like privacy and transparency very seriously. As a company, we are dedicated to fighting for your right to privacy on the web. Our values have guided us through this creation process, just as they do with every product we build.

We are just getting started

We are in this for the long haul. This is version 1.0 of Firefox Reality and version 1.1 is right around the corner. We have an always-growing list of ideas and features that we are working to add to make this the best browser for mixed reality. We will also be listening and react quickly when we need to provide bug fixes and other minor updates.

If you notice a few things are missing (Hey! Where are the bookmarks), just know that we will be adding features at a steady pace. In the coming months, we will be adding support for bookmarks, 360 videos, accounts, and more. We intend to quickly prove our commitment to this product and our users.

Built in the open

Here at Mozilla, we make it a habit to work in the open because we believe in the power of transparency, community and collaboration. If you have an idea, or a bug report, or even if you just want to geek out, we would love to hear from you. You can follow @mozillareality on twitter, file an issue on GitHub, or visit our support site.

Calling all creators

Are you creating immersive content for the web? Have you built something using WebVR? We would love to connect with you about featuring those experiences in Firefox Reality. Are you building a mixed reality headset that needs a best-in-class browser? Lets chat.

Firefox Reality is available right now.

Download for Oculus
(supports Oculus Go)

Download for Daydream
(supports all-in-one devices)

Download for Viveport (Search for “Firefox Reality” in Viveport store)
(supports all-in-one devices running Vive Wave)

The post Explore the immersive web with Firefox Reality. Now available for Viveport, Oculus, and Daydream appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

2. Fast Company Innovation by Design Award for Common Voice., 10 .[−]

Today Common Voice — our crowdsourcing-initiative for an open and publicly available voice dataset that anyone can use to train speech-enabled applications — was honored as a Finalist in the Experimental category in Fast Companys 2018 Innovation by Design Awards.

Fast Company states that Innovation by Design is the only competition to honor creative work at the intersection of design, business, and innovation. ??The awards, which can be found in the October 2018 issue of Fast Company, on stands September 18th, recognize people, teams, and companies solving problems through design. After spending a year researching and reviewing applicants Fast Company is honoring an influential and diverse group of 398 leaders in fashion, architecture, graphic design and data visualization, social good, user experience, and more. To see the complete list go to:

The future of design is about more than coddling users, says Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company. Its about giving them power over their technology. We as Mozilla couldnt agree more. And not only to the extent of how they use technology but also how and for whom it is being developed. The recognised Common Voice experience didnt just happen by chance. From the very beginning, the team around the Open Innovation project has been diligent about bringing in additional minds and perspectives from day-to-day users and experts likewise, testing and revising prototypes, all while challenging initial, strongly held assumptions. Another visible result of this is the ongoing, collaborative iteration of the project website and contribution methods with the projects diverse communities.

For those interested in how human-centered research and design has shaped the direction of Common Voice, the Open Innovation Team has kicked-off a series of articles to share learnings about the application of Service Design to Open Source projects. These will include how communities and new experiments may benefit from, and engage with, this perspective. To read more, visit the Open Innovation Medium Blog.

The Innovation by Design Award is the second distinction for the project, after Tech publication InfoWorld, along with Open Source software developer Black Duck, named Common Voice one of the seven Open Source Rookies of the Year for 2018. Back then Common Voice made the cut from an initial list of roughly 11,000 Github/openhub projects.

The post Fast Company Innovation by Design Award for Common Voice appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

3. Latest Firefox Releases Available Today., 05 .[−]

The latest versions of Firefox for desktop, Android and iOS launched today. Since our last release update, weve been working on a couple improvements and laying the foundation for upcoming future releases. To get the details on whats new with todays release, check out the release notes.

In the coming months, well unveil and share new features that help people feel safe while on the web, and worry less about whos collecting their personal data. You can read more about it in our blog post where we talked about our approach to Anti-tracking.

Latest Firefox for iOS Updates Add Greater Personalization

Recently, we unveiled the latest features in Firefox for iOS to personalize your web experience.

Change your Firefox from Dark to Light

Now, in Firefox for iOS you have the ability to change your theme from dark to light just as easily as you can switch up the wallpaper on your phone. For some people, it might depend on the sites they visit, and for others its just a matter of preference. Whatever your choice, you can easily switch between dark and light themes either manually or automatically.

There are two ways to accomplish this. You can tap Settings in the menu panel. Then, tap Display, and choose either Light or Dark. And youre all set. Another option, you can also automatically turn it on by using the Automatic switch.

Search, Switch and Easily Manage Tabs

Were making it much simpler to get to the content you want with several improvements to tabs in Firefox for iOS. You can now manage tab settings in a single view allowing you to make changes easily and quickly. Additionally, youll be able to search your open tabs and seamlessly switch between normal and private browsing.

Manage tab settings in a single view

Check out and download the latest version of Firefox Quantum available here. For the latest version of Firefox for iOS, visit the App Store.

The post Latest Firefox Releases Available Today appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

4. Welcome Alan Davidson, Mozillas new VP of Global Policy, Trust and Security., 04 .[−]

Im excited to announce that Alan Davidson is joining us today as our new Vice President of Global Policy, Trust and Security.

At a time when people are questioning the impact of technology on their lives and looking for leadership from organizations like Mozilla, Alan will add considerable capacity to our public policy, trust and security efforts, drawing from his extensive professional history working to advance a free and open digital economy.

Alan will work closely with me to help scale and reinforce our policy, trust and security capabilities and impact. He will be responsible for leading Mozillas public policy work promoting an open Internet and a healthy web around the world. He will also supervise a trust and security team focused on promoting innovative privacy and security features that put people in control of their online lives.

For over 15 years, Mozilla has been a driving force for a free and open Internet, building open source products with industry-leading privacy and security features. I am thrilled to be joining an organization so committed to putting the user first, and to making technology a force for good in peoples lives, says Alan Davidson, Mozillas new Vice President of Global Policy, Trust and Security.

Alan is not new to Mozilla. He was a Mozilla Fellow for a year in 2017-2018. During his tenure with us, Alan worked on advancing policies and practices to support the nascent field of public interest technologists the next generation of leaders with expertise in technology and public policy who we need to guide our society through coming challenges such as encryption, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, cybersecurity, and more.

Alan was a tremendous asset to the Commerce Department in our groundbreaking work to promote a strong and prosperous digital economy for all Americans, said Penny Pritzker, former United States Secretary of Commerce and the Chairman of PSP Capital. I am sure he will be a terrific addition to Mozilla and its role as a leading voice for a free and open Internet around the world.” Until early 2017, Alan served as the first Director of Digital Economy at the U.S. Department of Commerce and a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce.

Alan joins Mozilla from his most recent engagements as Senior Program Fellow with New America in Washington D.C. and as a private consultant. Prior to joining the U.S. Department of Commerce, he was the director of New Americas Open Technology Institute. Prior to that, Alan opened and grew Googles Washington D.C. office, and led the companys public policy and government relations efforts in North and South America for seven years.

Join me in welcoming Alan to Mozilla!


The post Welcome Alan Davidson, Mozillas new VP of Global Policy, Trust and Security appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

5. Lets be Transparent., 28 .[−]

Two years ago, we released the Firefox Hardware Report to share with the public the state of desktop hardware. Whether youre a web developer deciding what hardware settings to test against or someone just interested in CPUs and GPUs, we wanted to provide a public resource to show exactly what technologies are running in the wild.

This year, were continuing the tradition by releasing the Firefox Public Data Report. This report expands on the hardware report by adding data on how Firefox desktop users are using the browser and the web. Ever wanted to know the effect of Spring Festival on internet use in China? (it goes down.) What add-on is most popular this week in Russia? (it’s .) What country averages the most browser use per day? (Americans, with about 6 to 6.5 hours of use a day.) In total there are 10 metrics, broken down by the top 10 countries, with plans to add more in the future.

Similar to the hardware report for developers, we hope the report can be a resource for journalists, researchers, and the public for understanding not only the state of desktop browsing but also how data is used at Mozilla. We try to be open by design and users should know how data is collected, what data is collected, and how that data is used.

We collect non-sensitive data from the Firefox desktop browsers Telemetry system, which sends us data on the browsers performance, hardware, usage and customizations. All data undergoes an extensive review process to ensure that anything we collect is necessary and secure. If youre curious about exactly what data youre sending to Mozilla, you can see for yourself by navigating to about:telemetry in the Firefox browser (and if youre uncomfortable with sending any of this data to Firefox, you can always disable data collection by going to about:preferences#privacy.)

With this data, we aggregate metrics for a variety of use cases, from tracking crash rates to answering specific product questions (how many clients have add-ons? 35% this week.) In addition we measure the impact of experiments that we run to improve the browser.

Firefox is an open source project and we think the data generated should be useful to the public as well. Code contributors should be able to see how many users their work impacted last month (256 million), researchers should be able to know how browser usage is changing in developing nations, and the general public should be able to see how we use data.

After all, its your data.

Resources and visual assets:

The post Lets be Transparent appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

6. Thank You, Cathy Davidson., 28 .[−]

Cathy Davidson joined the Mozilla Foundation board in 2012, and has been a force helping us broaden our horizons and enter new areas. Cathy was the first person to join the Foundation board without a multi-year history with browsers or open source. This was an act of bravery!

Cathy is a leading educational innovator and a pioneer in recognizing the importance of digital literacy. She co-founded HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) in 2002. HASTAC is dedicated to rethinking the future of learning in the digital age, and is considered to be the worlds first and oldest academic social network (older than Facebook or even MySpace). Shes been directing or co-directing HASTAC since its founding.

Cathy has been using the Mozilla Manifesto in her classes for years, asking students to describe how the Manifesto is applicable in their world.

Cathy has been a forceful figure in Mozillas expansions in learning, outreach and more broad-based programs generally. She set the stage for broadening the expertise in the Mozilla Foundation board. Weve been building a board with an increasing diversity of perspectives ever since she joined.

Three years ago, Cathy took on a new role as a Distinguished Professor and the Director of the Futures Initiative at the City University of New York, a university that makes higher learning accessible to an astounding 274,000 students per year. With these new responsibilities taking up more of her time, Cathy asked that she roll off the Mozilla Foundation board.

Cathy remains a close friend of Mozilla, and were in close contact about work we might continue to do together. Currently, we’re exploring the limitations of STEM education in particular the risks of creating new generations of technologists that lack serious training and toolsets for considering the interactions of technology with societies, a topic she explores in her latest book, The New Education: How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux.

Please join me in thanking Cathy for her tenure as a board member, and wishing her tremendous success in her new endeavors.

The post Thank You, Cathy Davidson appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

7. Dear Venmo: Update Your Privacy Settings., 27 .[−]

Last month, privacy researcher and Mozilla Fellow Hang Do Thi Duc released Public By Default, a sobering look at the vast amount of personal data thats easily accessible on Venmo, the mobile payment app.

By using Venmos public API and its public by default setting for user transactions, Hang was able to watch a couple feud on Valentines Day, observe a womans junk food habits, and peer into a marijuana dealers business operations. Seven million people use Venmo every month and many may not know that their transactions are available for anyone to see.

Privacy, and not publicity, should be the default.

Despite widespread coverage of Hangs work and a petition by Mozilla that has garnered more than 17,000 signatures Venmo transactions are still public by default.

But on August 23, Bloomberg reported that In recent weeks, executives at PayPal Holdings Inc., the parent company of Venmo, were weighing whether to remove the option to post and view public transactions, said a person familiar with the deliberations. Its unclear if those discussions are still ongoing.

Today, were urging Venmo: See these important discussions through. Put users privacy first by making transactions private by default.

Ashley Boyd is Mozilla’s VP of Advocacy.

The post Dear Venmo: Update Your Privacy Settings appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

8. Mozilla Announces 26 New Fellows in Openness, Science, and Tech Policy., 21 .[−]

These technologists, activists, and scientists will spend the next 10 to 12 months creating a more secure, inclusive, and decentralized internet

A neuroscientist building open-source hardware. A competition expert studying net neutrality enforcement in Nigeria. A technologist studying tools that combat disinformation.

These are just three of Mozillas latest Fellows 26 technologists, activists, and scientists from more than 10 countries. Today, were announcing our 2018-2019 cohort of Fellows, who begin work on September 1, 2018.

Over the next 10 to 12 months, these Fellows will conduct research, create products, and build communities. In past cohorts, Mozilla Fellows have built secure platforms for LGBTQ individuals in the Middle East; leveraged open-source data and tools to bolster biomedical research across the African continent; and raised awareness about invasive online tracking.

More than ever, we need a movement to ensure the internet remains a force for good. Mozilla Fellows work on the front lines of that movement. Fellows develop new thinking on how to address emerging threats and challenges facing a healthy internet.

Learn more about Mozilla Fellowships, then meet our 2018-2019 Mozilla Fellows below (those fellows who are embedded at host organizations are funded through a joint Mozilla-Ford Foundation investment):

Andr? Maia Chagas | UK | As a Mozilla Fellow, Andre will be working on Open Hardware for science, in order to try and map which laboratory equipments are most used and which are lacking across working groups, institutions, and non-academic spaces. Once the mapping is complete, he wants to select one piece of equipment and build it open and collaboratively. He also wants to create tutorials about the basic components of the designs, so that they can be used as starting points for other projects. With this approach, he is hoping to increase access to scientific equipment, allowing institutions and communities to follow their own scientific interests. Before joining Mozilla, Andre worked at the Baden Lab in the University of Sussex, collaborating with Trend in Africa by organizing and executing workshops around Open Source Hardware. He was also maintaining Open Neuroscience, a repository for OS projects related to neuroscience.

Ayden F?rdeline | Germany | At Mozilla, Ayden F?rdeline will be researching the ongoing development and harmonization of global privacy standards. He will work to develop an ambitious new toolkit for effectively operationalizing privacy protections online, identifying appropriate regulatory interventions that could incentivize data controllers to adopt higher privacy protections. He is currently a Councilor on the Council of the Generic Names Supporting Organization, the body which sets policy for generic top-level domain names like .com, where he represents the interests of non-commercial users and uses of the Domain Name System. Before joining Mozilla, Ayden F?rdeline supported the Internet Societys global public policy team and was a researcher for the data and analytics group YouGov. He has previously facilitated workshops at the United Nations Internet Governance Forum, United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, the European Dialogue on Internet Governance, and the Internet Freedom Festival. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics.

Kadija Ferryman | U.S. | As a Mozilla Fellow, Kadija Ferryman will be working on an ethnography and history of electronic health records in order to examine the potential and limits of the growing open health data movement. In addition to the Mozilla Fellowship, Kadija Ferryman is a Postdoctoral Scholar at Data & Society Research Institute in New York, and was a public policy researcher at the Urban Institute for six years. She earned degrees in anthropology from Yale (BA) and the New School for Social Research (PhD).

Camille Francois | U.S. | As a Mozilla Fellow, Camille will be working on online targeted threats and disinformation campaigns, exposing their impact on civil society and vulnerable users globally, and also trying to yield better detection and mitigation techniques. Camille will be researching the effects of dis/misinformation spread on specific platforms in countries that have elections in 2018-2019 aside from the U.S. Shell be working with Mozilla communities worldwide to conduct her research, and will share her findings widely with the communities as well as with relevant stakeholders. Before joining Mozilla, Camille was the Principal Researcher at Googles Jigsaw think tank. Camille is also an Affiliate at the Harvard-Klein Berkman Center for Technology & Society, and the Research & Analysis Director at Graphika.

David Gehring | U.S. | As a Mozilla Fellow, David Gehring is focused on the economics of quality original news media publishing on the open web. He will be working on a plan to establish an open source user data standard and global data exchange. The goal is to empower users with an environment that provides user agency while at the same time improving the economic position for quality publishers on the open web. Prior to joining Mozilla, Gehring was an entrepreneur and the CEO of Relay Media, which he sold to Google in 2017. Before starting Relay Media, Gehring held various roles at Guardian Media Group, Google and YouTube.

Maggie Haughey | Canada | Maggie is an activist and gamer concerned with issues of inclusion and safety online. Her work centers LGBTQ+ representation and intersectional feminism, and seeks to answer questions about how to create and maintain safer online spaces. In the past, Maggie has worked as a Game Master for her favorite MMO, created and moderated online LGBTQIA+ gaming communities, and organized nonhierarchical skillshares and cryptoparties in Montreal. As a Ford-Mozilla Fellow, Maggie will be working with the Tor Project to improve Tor’s accessibility, grow the Tor community, and advocate for the active inclusion of marginalized groups at all levels of the web.

Gabriela Ivens | Germany | Gabi is an open-source investigator, working on new methods of locating, identifying, and securely preserving publicly available information for use in human rights investigations. As a Ford-Mozilla Fellow, Gabi will be working with the Tech+Advocacy team at WITNESS, where she will be working on issues around the safe, ethical, and effective use of video in documenting human rights violations. During the Fellowship, Gabi will be focusing on a number of areas including emerging technologies for human rights documentation and the effects of policy and engineering decisions by technology companies such as content takedowns of information that is, or could be, societally important. Gabi’s work will provide a greater level of understanding of the impact tech companies have on civil society and human rights defenders. Before becoming a Fellow, Gabi worked at Syrian Archive, a group working on preserving visual documentation of the Syrian conflict, and has been working on open source investigations since 2015. Gabi holds a master?s degree from University College London in Human Rights.

Chukwuyere Izuogu | Nigeria | As a Mozilla Fellow, Chukwuyeres research work focuses firstly on the competition implication of non-enforcing net neutrality obligations, in order to emphasize the importance of net neutrality to competitive internet service markets in Nigeria. Secondly, his work focuses on the adequacy of the data protection regime in Nigeria, specifically in the context of the cross-border transfer of personal data acquired by online platforms from the EU to Nigeria. He will also recommend policy options and safeguards to mitigate existing data protection risks in Nigeria. Prior to joining Mozilla, Chukwuyere was a Research Fellow at the African Academy Network of Internet Policy and a Senior Counsel with the law firm of Streamsowers & K?hn. Chukwuyere is the author of Regulating Anti-competitive Practices in Nigerias Communications Sector, (Wolf Legal Publishers, Netherlands, January 2017).

Darius Kazemi | U.S. | Darius Kazemi is delighted to join Ford-Mozilla to help Code for Science & Society figure out how to make the decentralized web more exciting and interesting. He’s hoping to make weird projects that can only really live on the decentralized web, and to build tools and tutorials to help other people make even better, weirder things. Darius is the co-founder of Feel Train, a worker-owned creative technology studio, and an artist making bots and web toys under the moniker Tiny Subversions.

Stefania Koskova | Portugal | As a Mozilla Fellow, Stefania will be exploring strategies and tools to enhance collaboration between governments, civil society, and the private sector, leading to a better understanding and management of security risks associated with harmful online content, such as hate speech, terrorist propaganda, and disinformation, particularly in post-conflict societies. In her previous roles, Stefania assisted policymakers and communities in the Western Balkans with the design and implementation of strategic responses to hate, extremist radicalization, and violence. In 2017, Stefania helped launch the Resonant Voices Initiative, networking journalists, activists, and community leaders who challenge dangerous messages online, providing training and mentoring to counternarrative campaigns, and mapping online radicalization trends in the Western Balkans.

Tarun Krishnakumar | India | Tarun Krishnakumar is a dual-qualified lawyer (India and California) working on emerging issues at the intersection of regulation, public policy, and technology. As a Mozilla Fellow, he will be working to improve stakeholder trust in the digital ecosystem through comparative research, capacity building, and engagement on substantive and procedural issues relating to law enforcement access to data, digital evidence, privacy, and cybersecurity. Prior to the Fellowship, he worked with a leading Indian law firm advising several of the world’s largest technology companies on issues including data protection, cybersecurity, intermediary liability, and cloud computing.

Julia Lowndes | U.S. | As a Mozilla Fellow, Julia Lowndes will be working to increase the value and practice of open data science within ecology and environmental science by empowering researchers with existing tools and communities. Julia has been working in this space for over five years through the Ocean Health Index at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis ( NCEAS). As science program lead, Julia helped the Ocean Health Index become a visible leader of open, reproducible, and collaborative practices for science and management through building a community of practice and communicating the teams path to better science in less time. She earned her PhD in Biology at Stanford University and is a co-founder of Eco-Data-Science and R-Ladies Santa Barbara.

Ciera Martinez | U.S. | As a Mozilla Fellow, Ciera Martinez will be focusing on the practice of reproducibility when using genomics and natural history data. Her and her collaborators will be surveying databases to identify tools and strategies that will help increase the visibility, usability, and reproducibility of this data. She is also currently a Postdoctoral researcher in Michael Eisens lab at Berkeley and a Fellow at the Berkeley Institute of Data Science.

Alexander Morley | UK | For his Mozilla Fellowship, Alex will be working on developing resources around the idea of Continuous Research. While more and more data accumulates, and more ways to analyze it are developed, it is time to turn to automated solutions for comparing and integrating research. Alex sees this not only as an opportunity to innovate, and combat reproducibility concerns, but also that it should be a way to take down some of the barriers to participation in research. He will be working on all this from his lab at the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit in the University of Oxford, where he is currently a PhD candidate.

Sam Muirhead | New Zealand | As a Ford-Mozilla Fellow, Sam Muirhead will be working on an open source approach to the production and adaptation of illustration, comics, and animation. The aim is to support international activist networks running digital campaigns in diverse cultural contexts enabling local chapters to speak with their own creative voice, while building solidarity and sharing resources across the network. In 2012, Sam lived an experimental Year of Open Source, then helped kickstart a global network around the idea of an Open Source Circular Economy. Since 2016 he has been developing a methodology for co-creating and customizing open source animation, and running ‘ Cut, Copy & Paste‘ workshops that give non-coders an experience of open source collaboration, without using digital tools.

Selina Musuta | U.S. | Selina is a web developer and infosec practitioner that is inspired daily by speculative fiction, music, and her people’s ability to survive and thrive. She has dedicated 15 years to community development work in Washington, DC through media justice organizing and community-led research, as well as radio and event production. Selina has collaborated with a number of social justice and capacity-building organizations like Wellstone Action and the Center for Media Justice. As a Ford-Mozilla Fellow, she will support the ongoing privacy and security work of Consumer Reports.

Valentina Pavel | UK | Valentina is a digital rights advocate working on privacy, freedom of speech, and open culture. As a Ford-Mozilla Fellow, Valentina will investigate the implications of digital feudalism and will explore different visions for shared data ownership. Shouldn’t we all be able to own and use the data that we’re collectively feeding into the online empires that run our digital lives? Shouldn’t this pooled data be placed back into the commons so it can empower new key infrastructure services? Valentina’s challenge will be to understand how the dominant tech companies are shaping the current socio-economical environment and seek new ways in which we can change the status quo for our shared benefit.

Kathy Pham | U.S. | Kathy Pham is a computer scientist, product leader, and serial founder who has held roles in product management, software engineering, data science, people operations, and leadership in the private, non-profit, and public sector. Her work has spanned Google, IBM, Harris Healthcare Solutions, and the federal government at the United States Digital Service at the White House, where she was a founding product and engineering member. She is the founder of the Women in Product Boston, the Cancer Sidekick Foundation, Team Curious, and Unite for Sight southeast. Kathy serves on the advisory boards of the Anita Borg Institute and the Make the Breast Pump Not Suck initiative. She also advises startups, conferences, and non-profits on hiring, building teams, and community inclusion.

Phi Requiem | Mexico | As a Ford-Mozilla Fellow, Phi will be working with journalists, collectives, and activists in Latin America and the Caribbean who are at heightened risk of being attacked in terms of digital security. He is finding and developing more mechanisms and tools to improve freedom of speech and human rights defense. Before joining Mozilla, Phi was a digital security consultant, developer, and data specialist working side-by-side with several NGOs in Mexico and Central America.

Maya Richman | Germany | Maya is a security trainer and practitioner for social change organizations and activists. As a Ford-Mozilla fellow, she will work alongside the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice to explore and support the security needs of LGBTQI groups around the world. During her Fellowship, Maya will document the unique approaches and tactics that LGBTQI employ to survive and thrive in growing oppressive contexts. Prior to joining Mozilla, Maya worked at The Engine Room facilitating spaces for organizations, groups, and individuals around the world to share their experiences and improve their collective security and emotional well-being. She previously studied computer science, hacker politics, and open source culture at McGill University.

Daniela Saderi | U.S. | Daniela is a neuroscience PhD candidate and community organizer passionate about bringing open practices into the world of academia as a means to improve reproducibility and collaboration. Her PhD research combines in vivo electrophysiology, behavior, and computational modeling to understand how sound is processed in the dynamic brain. She is planning to defend her PhD thesis in the Fall of 2018. As a Mozilla Fellow, Daniela will be working on a project she co-founded less than a year ago called PREreview, an open platform and community to facilitate the collaborative writing of preprint reviews and the training of early-career researchers in scientific peer review. Through this work, she hopes to foster a broader and much needed cultural change in the way science is evaluated and disseminated.

Sukhbir Singh | Canada | Sukhbir has a background in the design, development, and advocacy of privacy-enhancing technologies. As a Ford-Mozilla Fellow, he will work with the Wikimedia Foundation to further its mission of free and open access to knowledge for everyone. Before joining Mozilla, he was a developer with the Tor Project on the applications and community team.

Clara Tsao | U.S. | This fall as a Mozilla Fellow, Clara Tsao will be working on evaluating the effectiveness of online tools that have been developed to counter terrorist propaganda/disinformation, with the goal of evaluating the impact of tools mapped to terms of service and content enforcement policy. As Chief Technology Officer of the US Government’s Countering Violent Extremism Task Force, Clara has focused on products, partnerships, and policy focused on homegrown radicalization online and terrorist exploitation of the internet. She has also previously started companies and non-profits, worked at Microsoft, AT&T, and also at Google as a Technology Policy Fellow.

Danae Valentina | The Netherlands | Danae Valentina is a feminist working-class writer born in Chile and currently living in Rotterdam. She is a postgraduate research student at Utrecht University where she investigates the intersection between technologies and altered states of the mind using a posthumanist approach. As a Ford-Mozilla Fellow, Danae will be exploring the topic of transculturality and its digital implications through direct work with migrant communities in Latin America and in Europe. Before joining Mozilla, Danae worked as a project manager for digital rights organizations in Chile and in Brazil. She is a proud member of the Riseup Collective.

Richard Whitt | U.S. | As a Mozilla Fellow, Richard will be spending the next twelve months developing his “openness by design” project. Through research, authorship, and convenings, Richard seeks to deepen and broaden our understanding of the key role played by the concept of openness across the different tech modalities. He also will be developing and implementing various ways to advocate for more tech sector openness. Before joining Mozilla, Richard spent over 11 years at Google, where he most recently worked with Vint Cerf on a variety of tech and corporate policy projects for emerging platforms.

Bruna Zanolli | Brazil | As a Ford-Mozilla Fellow, Bruna Zanolli will be working on implementing, managing, and documenting community networks experiences lead by Artigo 19 Brazil. She aims to solve the problem of lack of access, and to optimize ways of communicating and exchanging experiences/ideas/struggles within a community. Bruna has been an activist in the area of autonomous communications and human rights with experience in the implementation and maintenance of autonomous networks. She acts as an infrastructure and content creation technique using free software on free radios in Brazil and in network with other countries in Latin America. She holds a Masters degree in Communication from MediaLab at UFRJ where she explored intersectional feminist experiences on the radio spectrum.

These new 26 Fellows will be joining our current Fellows:

Peter Bihr | Germany | Peter is researching what a trustmark for ethical and responsible IoT could look like. He’s going to be prototyping this for voice-enabled connected products first, and then take it from there. Before Mozilla, Peter co-founded ThingsCon, a non-profit that fosters the creation of a human-centric and responsible Internet of Things. He also founded The Waving Cat, a boutique research and strategy firm that explores the impact of emerging tech, with a focus on IoT. Also, he kickstarted the ultimate travel pants.

Julia Kloiber | Germany | Julia is investigating emerging technologies and their influence on society. During her fellowship she is researching how technologies and policies have to be shaped in order to support us in tackling future challenges. She will run campaigns, work on tech and develop new narratives. Julia co-founded the Prototype Fund a funding program for open source prototypes that has set out to make receiving grants unbureaucratic and easy. In the past couple of years shes been running multiple projects that foster the reuse of open data and promote transparency like the civic tech network Code for Germany. Her frustration with the lack of diversity in tech and women in leadership positions has led her to start Superrr, an international community of women* in the arts, in science, tech, journalism, activism, and more.

Meghan McDermott | U.S. | Meghan is prototyping the creation of an Internet Health Report at the municipal level in partnership with New York City. Since joining Mozilla in 2015, Meghan has worked across the Foundation to direct digital learning and leadership, ranging from the Hive Learning Networks to digital privacy initiatives for vulnerable communities. Guiding her work is a deep belief in the power of communities and people to make change. Her Fellowship is an exciting extension of her previous work.

Thomas Lohninger | Austria | Since the beginning of the European Unions talks about net neutrality, Thomas has been an active party to the conversations. With the most recent rounds in 2016, it was made clear that there are still loopholes in the regulation, which a few telcos are taking advantage of in specific member states. As a Fellow, Thomas works to enforce the existing net neutrality legislation through tactics like litigation, research, and networking. Before his fellowship, Thomas was Executive Director of the digital rights NGO in Vienna, Austria. The Center of Internet and Society of the Stanford Law School holds him as a non-residential fellow. And he worked in Brussels on the European Net Neutrality regulation as Policy Advisor for European Digital Rights. Thomas’ background is in IT and Cultural- and Social Anthropology. Thomas will be working from Vienna, with frequent travel around the EU.

Ren?e DiResta | U.S. | Ren?e will be working closely with the Mozilla Open Innovation team to explore how we can address dis- and misinformation online. She’ll help Mozilla advance the understanding of misinformation and information quality by convening and working with platforms, researchers, and the public to develop a shared understanding and availability of reliable information about the problem. Ren?e will be building on some of Philip Smith‘s work from 2017, including advising on MisInfoCon and waving the banner of the Mozilla Information Trust Initiative (MITI).

Steve Song | Canada | Steves work focuses on (1) identifying regulatory and policy barriers associated with connecting the unconnected to the full diversity of the open internet, (2) promoting the viability and proliferation of Equal Rating compliant models, and (3) helping Mozilla build a strategy for longer term involvement and leadership in this space for Mozilla and the network. Steve, is the founder of Village Telco, an enterprise that builds low-cost WiFi mesh VoIP technologies to deliver affordable voice and Internet service in under-serviced areas. He is an experienced African Telecoms and Development Analyst with over 20 years of experience in the application of information and communication technologies to address development challenges. One of his particular strengths is his ability to communicate technical concepts to non-expert audiences.

Jon Rogers | Germany | As a Mozilla Fellow, Jons work explores the human intersection between digital technologies and the design of physical of things. As Mozilla supports people working to build a more ?humane? ?digital? ?world, Jon is helping develop the Open IoT Studio, a project that explores the intersection between internet health and the challenge of emerging technologies. Watch Jons letter to the internet to learn more about his work so far.

The post Mozilla Announces 26 New Fellows in Openness, Science, and Tech Policy appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

9. AV1 and the Video Wars of 2027., 20 .[−]

Authors Note: This post imagines a dystopian future for web video, if we continue to rely on patented codecs to transmit media files. What if one company had a perpetual monopoly on those patents? How could it limit our access to media and culture? The premise of this cautionary tale is grounded in fact. However, the future scenario is fiction, and the entities and events portrayed are not intended to represent real people, companies, or events.

Illustration by James Dybvig

This post was originally published on Mozilla's  Hacks blog.

The year is 2029. Its been two years since the start of the Video Wars, and theres no end in sight. Its hard to believe how deranged things have become on earth. People are going crazy because they cant afford web video fees and theres not much else to do. The worlds media giants have irrevocably twisted laws and governments to protect their incredibly lucrative franchise: the right to own their intellectual property for all time.

It all started decades ago, with an arcane compression technology and a cartoon mouse. As if we needed any more proof that truth is stranger than fiction.

Adulteration of the U.S. Legal System

In 1998, the U.S. Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. This new law extended copyrights on corporate works to the authors lifetime plus 95 years. The effort was driven by the Walt Disney Company, to protect its lucrative retail franchise around the animated character Mickey Mouse. Without this extension, Mickey would have entered the public domain, meaning anyone could create new cartoons and merchandise without fear of being sued by Disney. When the extension passed, it gave Disney another 20 years to profit from Mickey. The news sparked outrage from lawyers and academics at the time, but it was a dull and complex topic that most people didnt understand or care about.

In 2020, Disney again lobbied to extend the law, so its copyright would last for 10,000 years. Its monopoly on our culture was complete. No art, music, video, or story would pass into the public domain for millennia. All copyrighted ideas would remain the private property of corporations. The quiet strangulation of our collective creativity had begun.

A small but powerful corporate collective called MalCorp took note of Disneys success. Backed by deep-pocketed investors, MalCorp had quietly started buying the technology patents that made video streaming work over the internet. It revealed itself in 2021 as a protector of innovation. But its true goal was to create a monopoly on video streaming technology that would last forever, to shunt profits to its already wealthy investors. It was purely an instrument of greed.

Better Compression for Free

Now, there were some good guys in this story. As early as 2007, prescient tech companies wanted the web platform to remain free and open to all especially for video. Companies like Cisco, Mozilla, Google, and others worked on new video codecs that could replace the patented, ubiquitous H.264 codec. They even combined their efforts in 2015 to create a royalty-free codec called AV1 that anyone could use free of charge.

AV1 was notable in that it offered better compression, and therefore better video quality, than any other codec of its time. But just as the free contender was getting off the ground, the video streaming industry was thrown into turmoil. Browser companies backed different codecs, and the market fragmented. Adoption stalled, and for years the streaming industry continued paying licensing fees for subpar codecs, even though better options were available.

The End of Shared Innovation

Meanwhile MalCorp found a way to tweak the law so its patents would never expire. It proposed a special amendment, just for patent pools, that said: Any time any part of any patent changes, the entire pool is treated as a new invention under U.S. law. With its deep pockets, MalCorp was able to buy the votes needed to get its law passed.

MalCorps patents would not expire. Not in 20 years. Not ever. And because patent law is about as interesting as copyright law, few protested the change.

Things went downhill quickly for advocates of the open web. MalCorps patents became broader, vaguer, ever-changing. With billions in its war chest, MalCorp was able to sue royalty-free codecs like AV1 out of existence. MalCorp had won. It had a monopoly on web streaming technology. It began, slowly at first, to raise licensing fees.

Gorgeous Video, Crushing Fees

For those who could afford it, web video got much better. MalCorps newest high-efficiency video codecs brought pixel-perfect 32K-Strato-Def images and 3D sound into peoples homes. Video and audio were clear and rich better than real life. Downloads were fast. Images were crisp and spectacular. Fees were high.

Without access to any competing technologies, streaming companies had to pay billions instead of millions a year to MalCorp. Streaming services had to 100x their prices to cover their costs. Monthly fees rose to $4,500. Even students had to pay $50 a minute to watch a lecture on YouTube. Gradually, the world began to wake up to what MalCorp had done.

Life Indoors

By the mid-twenties, the Robotic Age had put most people out of work. The lucky ones lived on fixed incomes, paid by their governments. Humans were only needed for specialized service jobs, like nursery school teachers and style consultants. Even doctors were automated, using up-to-the-minute, crowd-sourced data to diagnose disease and track trends and outbreaks.

People were idle. Discontent was rising. Where once a retired workforce might have traveled or pursued hobbies, growing environmental problems rendered the outside world mostly uninhabitable. People hiked at home with their headsets on, enjoying stereoscopic birdsong and the idea of a fresh breeze. We lived indoors, in front of screens.

Locked In, Locked Out

It didnt take long for MalCorp to become the most powerful corporation in the world. When video and mixed reality files made up 90 percent of all internet traffic, MalCorp was collecting on every transmission. Still, its greed kept growing.

Fed up with workarounds like piracy sites and peer-to-peer networks, MalCorp dismantled all legacy codecs. The slow, furry, lousy videos that were vaguely affordable ceased to function on modern networks and devices. People noticed when the signal went dark. Sure, there was still television and solid state media, but it wasn’t the same. Soon enough, all hell broke loose.

The Wars Begin

During Super Bowl LXII, football fans firebombed police stations in 70 cities, because listening to the game on radio just didn’t cut it. Thousands died in the riots and, later, in the crackdowns. Protesters picketed Disneyland, because the people had finally figured out what had happened to their democracy, and how it got started.

For the first time in years, people began to organize. They joined chat rooms and formed political parties like VidPeace and YouStream, vying for a majority. They had one demand: Give us back free video on the open web. They put banners on their vid-free Facebook feeds, advocating for the liberation of web video from greedy patent holders. They rallied around an inalienable right, once taken for granted, to be able to make and watch and share their own family movies, without paying MalCorps fees.

But it was too late. The opportunity to influence the chain of events had ended years before. Some say the tipping point was in 2019. Others blame the apathy and naivet? of early web users, who assumed tech companies and governments would always make decisions that served the common good. That capitalism would deliver the best services, in spite of powerful profit motives. And that the internet would always be free.

The post AV1 and the Video Wars of 2027 appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

10. Mozilla files arguments against the FCC latest step in fight to save net neutrality., 20 .[−]

Today, Mozilla is filing our brief in Mozilla v. FCC – alongside other companies, trade groups, states, and organizations – to defend net neutrality rules against the FCCs rollback that went into effect early this year. For the first time in the history of the public internet, the FCC has disavowed interest and authority to protect users from ISPs, who have both the incentives and means to interfere with how we access online content.

We are proud to be a leader in the fight for net neutrality both through our legal challenge in Mozilla v. FCC and through our deep work in education and advocacy for an open, equal, accessible internet. Users need to know that their access to the internet is not being blocked, throttled, or discriminated against. That means that the FCC needs to accept statutory responsibility in protecting those user rights — a responsibility that every previous FCC has supported until now. Thats why were suing to stop them from abdicating their regulatory role in protecting the qualities that have made the internet the most important communications platform in history.

This case is about your rights to access content and services online without your ISP blocking, throttling, or discriminating against your favorite services. Unfortunately, the FCC made this a political issue and followed party-lines rather than protecting your right to an open internet in the US. Our brief highlights how this decision is just completely flawed:

– The FCC order fundamentally mischaracterizes how internet access works. Whether based on semantic contortions or simply an inherent lack of understanding, the FCC asserts that ISPs simply dont need to deliver websites you request without interference.
– The FCC completely renounces its enforcement ability and tries to delegate that authority to other agencies but only Congress can grant that authority, the FCC cant decide its just not its job to regulate telecommunications services and promote competition.
– The FCC ignored the requirement to engage in a reasoned decision making process, ignoring much of the public record as well as their own data showing that consumers lack competitive choices for internet access, which gives ISPs the means to harm access to content and services online.

Additional Mozilla v. FCC briefs will be filed by various parties who are intervening or friends of the court through November. After that process is complete, oral arguments will take place and the court will rule.

Mozilla has been defending users access to the internet without interference from gatekeepers for almost a decade, both in the US and globally. Net neutrality is a core characteristic of the internet as we know it, and crucial for the economy and everyday lives. It is imperative that all internet traffic be treated equally, without discrimination against content or type of traffic thats how the internet was built and what has made it one of the greatest inventions of all time.

Brief below:

(As filed) Initial NG Petitioners Brief – Mozilla v FCC 20Aug2018

The post Mozilla files arguments against the FCC – latest step in fight to save net neutrality appeared first on The Mozilla Blog.

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