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Firefox turns out the lights on two privacy-sucking features


Did you know that the websites you browse can ask your phone how far away your face is from the screen, and that they can determine the ambient light levels of the room you’re in?

No, me neither, and I do this stuff for a living.

The fact it is that the web browser you’re using now is stuffed full of exotic, esoteric, somebody-somewhere-will-use-them features of questionable utility.

These features, often APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that allow websites to act more like native apps, give sites access to some of your device’smost sophisticated capabilities, exposing everything from your GPS, gyroscopes and accelerometers, to proximity and ambient light sensors.

Until recently that list also included access to your battery charge level. It doesn’t now, on Firefox at least, thanks to the work of Lukasz Olejnik and the boldness of the Firefox development team.

The Battery Status API was killed off in late 2016 because, while it had almost no legitimate uptake at all,...(continued)

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