For Indian users concerned about privacy, the Hyderabad based Free Software Movement of India (FSMI) has come with a web browser extension that can prevent the user’s activities being tracked by Reliance Jio which has 36.43 crore users in India. The developer for the extension says that Reliance Jio like many other Internet giants often collected user data for their own purposes and that the extension only puts a limit on the data being mined by the firm.
The browser extension called "Reliance Jio container" is an add-on extension specifically for Mozilla Firefox web browser. The Reliance Jio Container only leverages the Containers feature that is already built into the Firefox browser.
“We chose Jio as they have the largest user base among Internet Service Providers in India,” says Ranjith Raj Vasam, a developer for the Firefox browser and a Mozilla representative. “The Reliance Jio Container extension is Indian user-specific,” he adds.
Tech firms such as Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, all collect user data from browsers using first-party and third-party cookies, points out Ranjith. “We are building extensions to limit the data collection by them. Even if you log off Facebook or close the Facebook tab, the tech firm keeps tracking users’ web activities through their cookies. This is what we are trying to limit,” he adds.
The Reliance Jio container helps isolate Jio’s activity from the rest of the user’s web activity to prevent the user from being tracked outside Jio websites. The software extension restricts tracking by websites related to Jio, Jiomoney, Jiocloud, Jiocinema, Jiosaavan, Jiotv, Jionews and Jiochat.
Once the extension is installed, websites owned by Reliance Jio would open only in a blue-coloured browser tab (the Mozilla Firefox container tab) where the website can’t track the user’s activities.
Even the share and like buttons of Reliance Jio help the firm track users when they are on other websites. The extension will prevent these buttons from working on websites outside the Reliance Jio container. The extension will also prevent the user from creating or logging into another website using Reliance Jio credentials.
If you see the ratio of users, Reliance Jio has the highest in India when compared to other ISPs, so we took on the biggest.
“The data being collected will be used for analytics, not just for targeted advertisements. They say they want to give you better services but the data collected from your browser can be sold to third-party companies and there is nothing preventing them from doing it, as we don’t have a data protection law yet,” says Ranjith. ”Even in the data protection law, the government can demand data from any private company. If someone visits a video or a song using Reliance jio services and the government wants Reliance data, they are legally obligated to prove the data to the government. This extension is a measure to safeguard yourself,” he adds.