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Mozilla calls out iOS and Android for “lack of transparency”

While it has yet to become a significant player in the smartphone market, Mozilla is hoping that its open-source Firefox OS will be a game changer when the mobile operating system gains a larger presence in countries like the United States and United Kingdom. In the meantime, the software maker has gone on the offensive against rival platforms iOS and Android. Mozilla chief technology officer Andreas Gal, in an article published by The Guardian this afternoon, criticized iOS and Android for being “closed systems” that rely on proprietary software with “almost a complete lack of transparency.”

Mozilla is celebrating the Firefox browser’s 10th birthday, but it’s going on the offensive in the mobile market rather than resting on its laurels. Chief technology officer Andreas Gal claims that the company’s Firefox OS mobile operating system will bring much-needed change to the smartphone market by highlighting the transparency – or lack of it – from the software of industry leaders Google and Apple. While both companies are facing more pressure to open up on their relationship with governments following the Edward Snowden leaks about NSA surveillance, Gal suggests that both Android and iOS continue to share a common trait: their reliance on proprietary software with “almost a complete lack of transparency”. Gal told the Guardian that this should be a concern for people who want to know just what their gadgets are doing with their information. “Right now the user has a choice between one phone where you can’t tell what goes on inside it and another phone where you can’t tell what goes on inside it,” Gal said. He cited Google’s ban of privacy-focused app Disconnect from its official store as one example. Disconnect was designed to block apps from collecting information, but was removed from the Google Play store due to a policy that prevents apps from interfering with others.

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