Search Support

Avoid support scams. We will never ask you to call or text a phone number or share personal information. Please report suspicious activity using the “Report Abuse” option.

Learn More

Regarding Firefox Sync, where is my bookmark/history data stored, other than on my own devices?

more options

I would really like to be able to store the data (that syncs to and is added to by all my devices) somewhere private, like on a machine or drive I establish as a server. Certain data in my bookmarks comprises information I would not like to have associated with an account that is just "out there" on Mozilla's servers or someone else's.

This is THE reason I have been avoiding using Firefox Sync, from the time that it became possible to use it until the foreseeable future - my uncertainty with respect to whether or not I'll have the final say in who gets to *host* my data. I feel that I should have the ability to define privacy in my own, uncertain terms... and I have not found an answer as to whether I can or not, yet.

Modified by Jperson

All Replies (7)

more options
more options
more options

Though I am not completely ignorant of the ways of code, I am not a programmer. I do not have any useful experience with scripting, and as a college student, I am far too busy to learn at present. (Also, as I understand it, I would need to own a server in order to run one, and I own no such thing.)

Is there a [client-to-client solution] that runs from an [add-on], perhaps [with the press of a button]?

If not, why not?

Modified by Jperson

more options

Those exact links have actually been helpful to me - in the past, when I only wanted to migrate data from one install to another.

However, I want to automate the process, rather than manually transfer the data myself - and I also want to merge it with existing data and synchronize it across my devices, without jumping through any hoops.

I am given to understand that Firefox Sync does this - but because of the methodology it employs in storing that data, remotely, I am uncomfortable using it. (See also my response to the-edmeister, above.)

more options

jperson said,

"Is there a [client-to-client solution] that runs from an [add-on], perhaps [with the press of a button]? If not, why not?"

No, Sync is designed to run with a server between the client devices, like a "hub". The Mozilla Accounts server or your own, the choice is yours. Sync just wasn't designed for client-to-client synchronization, and it's been like that since Dec 2007 when the Mozilla Weave project was started.

What specific objections do you have to using the Mozilla Accounts server? It's not like Mozilla can poke around and look at user data. There's a 3rd authentication "key" - 26 alpha-numeric characters - which is generated automatically from your user name (email address) and password. Without that "key", no one can access your account.

Three failed attempts at logging in and the account is locked for 30 minutes. Who the f... is going to want your data so bad to even try? Be easier to break in to your home or accost you on the street to get your devices, then to try to hack your account.

more options

I should tell you right now that my reasoning has everything to do with privacy, and nothing to do with security. Even in the worst case scenario, I am reasonably certain my data is not significantly interesting or vulnerable to remote agents. The local threats are the biggest problem (and they have nothing to do with Sync or any Mozilla account), so I am not really worried about anyone "hacking my account".

That said, I'm still somewhat opposed to the idea of sending (and thus copying) data to outside parties unnecessarily. Or doing anything that I personally deem unnecessary, for that matter.

For one thing, I think it's a waste of Mozilla's storage space to have them host my data, when I could be doing it myself. (And yes, I'm aware how insignificant just one user's data is, in the grand scheme of things - but there is that one phrase that was common to Seinfeld to keep in mind: That adds up.)

Even so, I am primarily relying on emotional reasoning - I'm not looking for a preemptive solution to a looming predicament, so much as a more vague and general peace of mind. Here, that would be partly based on the notion of knowing where my stuff is, at all times. (So if you have any Vulcan-style psychological allergies to the idea of using such emotional reasoning as a basis for action, you may as well start ignoring this thread right now.)

To be perfectly honest, though: Why should I need a reason, other than finding it distasteful, to not do it? Is there something abysmally complicated about designing a client-to-client solution, or did it just not occur to anyone that relying on the cloud for this particular operation is just as unnecessary as not doing so? (And for that matter, why is the cloud the go-to framework for everything data, these days? Is it just "the code that programmers feel like typing right now", or is there an actual legitimate reason to use it?)

Modified by Jperson

more options

No, you don't need a reason. I see Sync as a method of maintaining a level of parity with the other popular browsers out there; although Sync actually came out before "the others" as an extension called Weave, before Firefox 4.0 was released in Mach 2011.

Sync is there to use, or not use; your choice. Mozilla does offer an application for having your own Sync server, but it does require a "server" to run that application.

The closest thing to an add-on which might be considered similar to what Sync does is FEBE. (Firefox Environment Backup Extension) It does a lot more than Sync does, and it provides a greater level of user control to the user over what is backed up or saved.

Personally, I don't want to use the "cloud" for storing my personal data either. My only use for Sync is to "play with it" so I know how it works, and to see that the Beta, Aurora, or Nightly versions continue to work with Sync while they are still undergoing development. I Sync between them on the same PC, in one Sync account I have setup - with all versions using unique Profiles. And I use Sync between 2 Release versions (using separate Profiles) using a 2nd Sync account.

The Mozilla programmer's build what Mozilla wants in Firefox; with Sync they offer an alternative for users / institutions that want control over where the Sync data is stored. It is what it is.

Sorry, that Sync doesn't meet your needs or desires; feel free to come up with a client-to-client solution that does what you want it to do.