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GitLab backtracks on controversial user tracking

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GitLab is a web-based DevOps lifecycle tool developed by GitLab Inc. that originally launched in 2011. The software is widely used by more than 100.000 organizations in the world, including NASA, SpaceX, Sony, and IBM. However, a recent change in the company’s terms of service garnered so much negative feedback that the company had no other choice than to back down and revert those changes… At least for now, that is.

It all started in August of this year when GitLab described the upcoming changes for and its proprietary software packages, which would start including new snippets of code designed for third-party telemetry purposes. This latter is just a fancy way of saying “data collection”.

“ will now include additional Javascript snippets (both open source and proprietary) that will interact with both GitLab and possibly third-party SaaS telemetry services.”

This means that the company was shifting towards data collection methods similar to those of Google Analytics, which are not a good thing in the eyes of most users that care about protecting their privacy online.

GitLab takes a step back

This planned change raised the alarms within GitLab’s community of developers, whose negative feedback was quickly felt across the board.

The community denounced how anti-consumers these changes were, not to mention that they also conflict with the principles of some organizations, especially those that are legally obliged to deny third-party tracking, meaning that they would have no other choice but to quit GitLab.

On top of that and despite the negative response from the community, GitLab tried to push forward, threatening its users to accept the new terms of service or otherwise they would lose access to the platform.

“Until the new Terms are accepted, access to the web interface and API will be blocked” reads an email that informs users about the upcoming new terms of service.

However, the community did not sit idly while GitLab tried to introduce these questionable changes. Following more backlash, it seems that GitLab had no other choice but to give in to the users’ demands.

If you were to visit GitLab’s blog right now, you will see an update showing that they finally listened to the concerns of its users.

Although it’s worth mentioning that the company is re-evaluating its plan right now, so, we wouldn’t call this a victory yet, but it is progress nonetheless.

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