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  1. Mozilla will remove Leanplum tracking from Firefox for Android and iOS Mozilla will remove the Leanplum integration of its mobile web browser Firefox for Android and iOS soon. Two new entries on the official GitHub project page highlight that Leanplum integration will be removed because Mozilla won't renew the contract with the company. Mozilla has decided to not renew our Leanplum contract for 2021-22. The current contract will expire on May 31, 2021. We need to turn off any Leanplum integrations in our products by that date. Mozilla describes Leanplum as a mobile-marketing vendor on a support page, which it uses to "test different features and experiences, as well as provide customized messages and recommendations to improve" user experiences. About 10% of Firefox mobile users from the United States with English set as the default language have Leanplum enabled currently according to this doc. The organization has been criticized by privacy advocates for integration of Leanplum in some of its products. Core points focus on the use of a third-party for data collection and the transfer and storage of the data in the USA. Leanplum collects telemetry data. Mozilla reveals that it assigns a unique ID per app, but does not get access to the "DeviceID, AdvertisingID or Firefox client ID". It tracks interaction data according to a support article: Leanplum tracks events such as when a user loads bookmarks, opens a new tab, opens a Pocket trending story, clears data, saves a password and login, takes a screenshot, downloads media, interacts with a search URL or signs in to a Firefox Account. Leanplum is also checking for the installation of Firefox Focus, Klar and Pocket, whether sync is enabled, whether Firefox is the default browser, and if Pocket recommendations for top sites is enabled. The full list of what is collected is accessible here. The data is transferred to a Leanplum server in the United States. Firefox users can disable the collection of marketing data, which means Leanplum, under Menu > Data collection > Marketing data. Shares data about what features you use in Firefox with Leanplum, our mobile marketing vendor. Mozilla plans to remove all Leanplum related code from Firefox before the end of May 2021, as the contract with the company ends on May 31, 2021. The removal of Leanplum is a step in the right direction, as it is quite hard to argue that an organization that heralds privacy should make use of third-party platforms for telemetry. Source: Mozilla will remove Leanplum tracking from Firefox for Android and iOS
  2. For years, the ad industry has argued that free content online is fueled by online behavioral advertising, or tracking users across the web in order to deduce their interests and serve them with targeted ads. The argument turns on the assumption that advertisers will pay more for targeted ads than generic ones, and that publishers will therefore garner more money from behaviorally targeted ads. The claims -- which make some intuitive sense -- appear to have been widely accepted, even making their way into official policy documents. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission suggested in a staff report that publishers would be harmed by privacy rules that limited online tracking. “If consumers were opted out of online advertisements by default (with the choice of opting in), the likely result would include the loss of advertising-funded online content,” the FTC said in its report. But a new study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon, the University of Minnesota and University California Irvine suggests that benefits to publishers from behavioral targeting may have been overstated. For the study, researchers Alessandro Acquisti Veronica Marotta and Vibs Abhishek examined millions of ads that appeared online during one week in May of 2016, on websites owned by a large media company. (The study doesn't identify the company.) The authors found that the media company received more revenue when tracking cookies were available to ad-tech companies -- but not that much more. Specifically, the study found that the publisher was able to increase revenue by just 4% when users' cookies were available. In dollar figures, the difference amounted to $0.00008 per ad. Of course, that can add up over time. The authors do the math, and find that a website that sells an average of 4 million ads per day would lose around $320 per day by eschewing tracking cookies. But the researchers also note that some of that extra revenue may be offset by the costs of complying with new privacy rules in Europe. The study comes with some caveats. Among others, the report only looks at sites owned by a single company. “While we believe the results to be applicable to publishers of the same size and type, they may not generalize to the entire universe of existing websites,” the authors write. Still, they say, the results “can inform the debate on the benefits of tracking technologies ... and into the potential implications of data regulations limiting the ability of ad companies to track users.” Source
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