Sunday, February 18, 2007

firefox's 'session restore' feature can be annoying or a privacy threat

this is what i discovered last year in my college's library where there was a problem with the ups system. it would keep shutting down all of a sudden, turning off all computers instantly. i was using minefield nightly builds then, and current firefox implements session restore in same manner, so my experience applies to it. actually what i observed was that when firefox restores a user's session, it also logs you back into any email/blog etc that you were logged into before the crash. while this is certainly very good thing for personal/private computers, it caused me problem back then. why? i was usually logged into my email account, and had to wait till power was restored so that before leaving, i could ensure that i power up the computer, cause minefield/firefox to restore my session, and then log-out and clear the cache. i couldn't leave the place simply when computers would get turned off as if i didnt wait and log-out, someone else later would be taken straight to my email account by minefield/firefox. this made me feel that this feature is not suitable for public computers. imagine, a user using firefox at public terminal is logged into his email account, and by chance firefox crashes. the annoyed and pissed-off user leaves things as it is [either assuming that like in internet explorer, browser crash means one has to re-login, or 'not knowing at all about existence of some feature like session restore']. this wont do him good. this issue needs to be solved.

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