Install tracking with the Adjust SDK¶
Fennec (Firefox for Android) tracks certain types of installs using a third party install tracking framework called Adjust. The intention is to determine the origin of Fennec installs by answering the question, “Did this user on this device install Fennec in response to a specific advertising campaign performed by Mozilla?”
Mozilla is using a third party framework in order to answer this question for the Firefox for Android 38.0.5 release. We hope to remove the framework from Fennec in the future.
The framework consists of a software development kit (SDK) built into Fennec and a
data-collecting Internet service backend run by the German company adjust GmbH. The Adjust SDK
is open source and MIT licensed: see the github repository. Fennec ships a copy of the SDK
(currently not modified from upstream) in
mobile/android/thirdparty/com/adjust/sdk. The SDK is
documented at https://docs.adjust.com.
When is data collected and sent to the Adjust backend?¶
Data is never collected (or sent to the Adjust backend) unless
- the Fennec binary is an official Mozilla binary ; and
- the release channel is Release or Beta .
If both of the above conditions are true, then data is collected and sent to the Adjust backend in the following two circumstances: first, when
- Fennec is started on the device .
- the Fennec binary was installed from the Google Play Store; and
- the Google Play Store sends the installed Fennec binary an INSTALL_REFERRER Intent, and the received Intent includes Google Play Store campaign tracking information. This happens when thea Google Play Store install is in response to a campaign-specific Google Play Store link. For details, see the developer documentation at https://developers.google.com/analytics/devguides/collection/android/v4/campaigns.
In these two limited circumstances, data is collected and sent to the Adjust backend.
Where does data sent to the Adjust backend go?¶
The Adjust SDK is hard-coded to send data to the endpoint https://app.adjust.com. The endpoint is
The Adjust backend then sends a limited subset of the collected data – limited but sufficient to uniquely identify the submitting device – to a set of advertising network providers that Mozilla elects to share the collected data with. Those advertising networks then confirm or deny that the identifying information corresponds to a specific advertising campaign performed by Mozilla.
What data is collected and sent to the Adjust backend?¶
The Adjust SDK collects and sends two messages to the Adjust backend. The messages have the following parameters:
V/Adjust ( 6508): Parameters: V/Adjust ( 6508): screen_format normal V/Adjust ( 6508): device_manufacturer samsung V/Adjust ( 6508): session_count 1 V/Adjust ( 6508): device_type phone V/Adjust ( 6508): screen_size normal V/Adjust ( 6508): package_name org.mozilla.firefox V/Adjust ( 6508): app_version 39.0a1 V/Adjust ( 6508): android_uuid <guid> V/Adjust ( 6508): display_width 720 V/Adjust ( 6508): country GB V/Adjust ( 6508): os_version 18 V/Adjust ( 6508): needs_attribution_data 0 V/Adjust ( 6508): environment sandbox V/Adjust ( 6508): device_name Galaxy Nexus V/Adjust ( 6508): os_name android V/Adjust ( 6508): tracking_enabled 1 V/Adjust ( 6508): created_at 2015-03-24T17:53:38.452Z-0400 V/Adjust ( 6508): app_token <private> V/Adjust ( 6508): screen_density high V/Adjust ( 6508): language en V/Adjust ( 6508): display_height 1184 V/Adjust ( 6508): gps_adid <guid> V/Adjust ( 6508): Parameters: V/Adjust ( 6508): needs_attribution_data 0 V/Adjust ( 6508): app_token <private> V/Adjust ( 6508): environment production V/Adjust ( 6508): android_uuid <guid> V/Adjust ( 6508): tracking_enabled 1 V/Adjust ( 6508): gps_adid <guid>
The available parameters (including ones not exposed to Mozilla) are documented at https://partners.adjust.com/placeholders/.
Notes on what data is collected¶
The android_uuid uniquely identifies the device.
The gps_adid is a Google Advertising ID. It is capable of uniquely identifying a device to any advertiser, across all applications. If a Google Advertising ID is not available, Adjust may fall back to an Android ID, or, as a last resort, the device’s WiFi MAC address.
The tracking_enabled flag is only used to allow or disallow contextual advertising to be sent to a user. It can be, and is, ignored for general install tracking of the type Mozilla is using the Adjust SDK for. (This flag might be used by consumers using the Adjust SDK to provide in-App advertising.)
It is not clear how much entropy their is in the set of per-device parameters that do not explicitly uniquely identify the device. That is, it is not known if the device parameters are likely to uniquely fingerprint the device, in the way that user agent capabilities are likely to uniquely fingerprint the user.
Build flags controlling the Adjust SDK integration¶
Add the following to your mozconfig to compile with the Adjust SDK:
export MOZ_INSTALL_TRACKING=1 export MOZ_NATIVE_DEVICES=1 ac_add_options --with-adjust-sdk-keyfile="$topsrcdir/mobile/android/base/adjust-sdk-sandbox.token"
MOZ_NATIVE_DEVICES is required to provide some Google Play Services dependencies.
No trace of the Adjust SDK should be present in Fennec if
MOZ_INSTALL_TRACKING is not defined.
Access to the Adjust backend is controlled by a private App-specific
token. Fennec’s token is managed by Release Engineering and should not
be exposed if at all possible; for example, it should not leak to build
logs. The value of the token is read from the file specified using the
--with-adjust-sdk-keyfile=KEYFILE and stored in
the build variable
MOZ_ADJUST_SDK_KEY. The mozconfig specified above
defaults to submitting data to a special Adjust sandbox allowing a
developer to test Adjust without submitting false data to our backend.
We throw an assertion if
MOZ_INSTALL_TRACKING is specified but
--with-adjust-sdk-keyfile is not to ensure our builders have a proper
adjust token for release and beta builds. It’s great to catch some
errors at compile-time rather than in release. That being said, ideally
we’d specify a default
--with-adjust-sdk-keyfile for developer builds
but I don’t know how to do that.
Technical notes on the Adjust SDK integration¶
The Adjust install tracking SDK is a pure-Java library that is conditionally compiled into Fennec.
It’s not trivial to integrate such conditional feature libraries into Fennec without pre-processing.
To minimize such pre-processing, we define a trivial
AdjustHelperInterface and define two
implementations: the real
AdjustHelper, which requires the Adjust SDK, and a no-op
StubAdjustHelper, which has no additional requirements. We use the existing pre-processed
AppConstants.java.in to switch, at build-time, between the two implementations.