Mozilla CTO criticizes Android and iOS over transparency

Andreas Gal, CTO of Mozilla, states Android and iOS offer the user insufficient transparency,  partly by using proprietary software. According to Gal, Firefox OS is there to counterbalance.


In an interview with The Guardian, Gal states Android or iOS smartphone users are unable to determine how the operating system handles privacy-sensitive data. The Mozilla CTO argues the lack of transparency is caused by the proprietary nature of both operating systems. In the case of Android, of which most parts are open source, he means the various Google apps that aren’t open source, but standard installed on most phones.

As an example of the closeness of the Android platform, Gal mentions the controversy surrounding the app “Disconnect”. This application allows the user to deny apps access to certain features, but Google pulled “Disconnect” twice from the Play Store. Apple also deliberately refuses innovative apps with similar functionality in its App Store.

According to Gal, Firefox OS provides a mobile operating system that is based entirely on HTML5 technology and gives the user all transparency. For example, the operating system provides an option to revoke individual permissions per app. So far, there are still hardly smartphones on the western market with Mozilla’s mobile operating system. Moreover, where they are available, they are mainly cheap devices whose functionality is more limited than that of smartphones running Android or iOS.