Russ Cox, a Google software engineer steering the development of the open source Go programming language, has presented a possible plan to implement telemetry in the Go toolchain.
However many in the Go community object because the plan calls for telemetry by default.
These alarmed developers would prefer an opt-in rather than an opt-out regime, a position the Go team rejects because it would ensure low adoption and would reduce the amount of telemetry data received to the point it would be of little value.
Telemetry, as Cox describes it, involves software sending data from Go software to a server to provide information about which functions are being used and how the software is performing. He argues it is beneficial for open source projects to have that information to guide development.
“I believe that open-source software projects need to explore new telemetry designs that help developers get the information they need to work efficiently and effectively, without collecting invasive traces of detailed user activity,” he wrote.
Some people believe they have a right to privacy, to be left alone, and to demand that their rights are respected through opt-in consent.
As developer Louis Thibault put it, “The Go dev team seems not to have internalized the principle of affirmative consent in matters of data collection.”
Others, particularly in the ad industry, but in other endeavors as well, see opt-in as an existential threat. They believe that they have a right to gather data and that it’s better to seek forgiveness via opt-out than to ask for permission unlikely to be given via opt-in.