Mozilla Firefox is actually almost completely funded by Google, though they keep it quiet the company receives over 1/2 a billion US dollars each year from Google for misdirecting people to Google search, and also I assume for facilitating Google’s surveillance by not fighting against it.
Now Mozilla is a wonderful company, no doubt, it is actually legally-speaking two organisations. The first is Firefox which is a normal for-profit corporation which is funded by a deal with Google but is the past was also funded by a deal with Yahoo for a few years. The second is a non-profit “Foundation” which receives all the profits from Firefox which actually come from Google. This arrangement is legal and common in the United States.
I personally use Firefox as it is open source, and especially use Firefox Focus because it gives greater privacy than Firefox. But I can’t help but notice with all we’ve learned about humane tech that we need something that is even more humane.
I’ve an emerging theory about tech, that also applies to other business and politics, and that is the entire system (not just the economics of it) is based off of the following:
My theory is that these three things should be seen as absolute harms to society. Yet these three things run much of the world. However it is possible to put them into check with a mixed system with a three-way balance between business (capitalism), politics (efficient government that works only for people) and nonprofits (volunteerism) which does not currently exist. In the current model, business has much control of corrupt politics and nonprofits, even over Firefox. However when corruption is reduced to zero, the balanced model I suggest becomes possible and therefore with no corruption we now have a fight against surveillance, attention and misdirection since none of these things are remotely in the best interest of people.
Most of the technology we use is designed to do these three things at its core. These are the real hidden currencies that we do not see, yet they are bought and sold at astronomical values. These currencies are built into the core of the way operating systems and programming languages are designed, how programs and services are designed, in fact they are all “on” by default in the existing system unless someone works hard to turn them off. And the only way to shut off these currencies is to have a real nonprofit creating the tech ecosystem, or at least in this case creating the browser.
So any tech company, including Firefox and my own, has the motivation to look good and do some good, while also making profits by quietly dealing in surveillance, attention and misdirection – and these are always harmful to people. In the case of Firefox, it is different because Firefox’s deal with Google funds a nonprofit Foundation. Firefox is of course much more ethical than other for-profit corporations.
Given that Firefox is not completely working in the interest of people I suggest that a nonprofit needs to fork the open source browser and take over its development under a new name and a new focus of being completely outside of the for-profit system of surveillance, attention and misdirection. This nonprofit replacing Mozilla could be funded by donations (hello Bill Gates!).
What do you think? Anyone up for this little task?