Calling it spyware is a bit over the top but it sure makes a good headline.
Digg writes "New Surveillance Tool Silently Enabled in Firefox":
The Mozilla Team has silently turned on a new feature in Forefox called "<a ping>" that will allow Web site operators to silently conduct surveillance on Firefox users’ browsing activity. This new "feature" will cause Firefox to notify any server, or a whole list of servers, when you click a link.
AJAX is worse for privacy
An "web 2.0" application using XmlHttpRequest/AJAX can phone home with details of what you have written in forms or parts of your password before you’ve even finished typing it in. If you type in half of your Amazon password on another site before realizing your mistake it could already be too late. What you typed in could have already been sent home using AJAX.
People are already doing it
It is common practice for websites to link to external websites through a redirection URL. For example, most adverts you see will not link directly to the advertiser’s website but through a page on Google’s website or whoever sells the advert space.
This has several problems:
- It slows down the user because they have to wait for Google’s page to load up before they can reach their destination page.
HTML 5’s a ping attribute gives web developers another way – a way to clean up their code, a way for user agents to expose the fact that they other websites will be notified. Web Developers can finally be up front about the fact they track clicks and it speeds up and improves experience on the web.
Secondly, how on earth does an article which misspells Firefox get on the front page of Digg?