Lately many of us using the Web find that we are treated as “product” as much as customers. Our data, including clicks and other expressions of intention, belong to impersonal entities surveilling us from near and far.
Meanwhile, on smart phones and tablets, application API, plugin, and even website content lock-in or “tying” appear to be making come-backs, reversing a decade-long trend toward highly interoperable browsers, cross-platform plugins, and content languages. The cross-platform interoperability trend on the desktop arguably started with Mozilla, accelerated with the rise of Firefox and the launch of the WHAT-WG (which created HTML5) in 2004, and peaked with Chrome. The reverse trend on mobile devices may be arrested by HTML5, but not quickly — HTML5 is not slated to be done until 2020.
Mobile devices come with full stacks tied to cloud services, often using proprietary protocols. Mobility raises privacy challenges while demanding integration of people in the browser and even in apps. Yet social networking is also typically locked into silos with non-interoperating identity, communications, and content systems.
Mozilla was founded to preserve choice and innovation on the Web via open source, open-standards-based products with enough market share to matter in both standards bodies and web developer communities. We achieved this goal with Firefox.
But our higher-order mission was and remains to keep the user sovereign over personal data, self-expression, and user-experience on the Web. If we succeed at any particular endeavor serving this mission, you should never feel owned or abused, as you were using IE after the death of Netscape and prior to Firefox. Moreover, we believe that the Web should be open to innovation – at all levels of protocol discourse – from the edges, not only from the central gate-keepers.
So we find ourselves bound by the following logical progression in the current world of rising mobile OS and user data lock-in:
I will present and demonstrate some of our new initiatives:
Brendan holds a BS in math and computer science from Santa Clara University and an MS in computer science from the University of Illinois.