Collecting Metrics in Atom Core


In my country the fines for violating this law are:
Mild: from 600€ to 60000€
Severe: from 60000€ to 300000€
Very severe: 300000€ to 600000€

So subjective is in Europe this issue.


Ethically speaking and legally speaking are not always the same, thus bringing the argument to ethics when speaking of law (especially in this case, where the directive about personal data in EU defines such data very well in Art. 2, comma ‘a’ of the aforementioned directive) is quite a slippery slope IMO. Going down such a slope, one could say that even if fines are high for violation of laws about personal data in some countries, there are also countries where violations of some other laws are capitally punished, but this doesn’t make hashed user data less impersonal.

This said, having an opt-in possibility could be a good option, as long as it doesn’t get as invasive as one of the most annoying consequences of the mentioned directive(s), that is the (ethically) ridiculous banner that EU based sites must show at each visit.


I decided to use Atom thinking that they would respect my privacy:

EU and Swiss Safe Harbor
… we have committed to cooperate with data protection authorities located within Switzerland or the European Union …

When I realized that unknowingly were collecting my data I was very disappointed, and also uninstall Atom.

I’m still extremely irritated by not respecting my privacy.

*** I mean it’s not subjective, it is what Github promised.


I agree with FranBar. This topic (here) is very irritating.
Why is this irritating ?
Because of the arguments opposed to people who are worried about their privacy.
Personnaly, I’ve uninstalled Atom and I will encourage persons around me not to install it. I will also have a particular (and closer) look at Electron and application created with Electron.
We lost privacy with browsers (we know that now). I don’t want to create applications that will spy my customers.


I have a purely technical question. Can you please explain how statistics about anonymous hashes can harm you? I really don’t understand.


1 Are not anonymous, IP is sent, to google too, which can cross with other data.
2 No, because I do not have to explain anything about my privacy, simply should respect.

(*) Google can do this but do not say… but says it does:

We may combine personal information from one service with information, including personal information, from other Google services

Information we collect when you are signed in to Google, in addition to information we obtain about you from partners, may be associated with your Google Account. When information is associated with your Google Account, we treat it as personal information.


But surely you don’t use google. You would be giving google a ton of private information just by using it. Do you care more about github finding out what packages you run than google finding out the contents of your email or what you search for? Do you trust google and not github?

I know you are not the only one with these concerns. I am just confused about how this all works.


Atom metrics using Google Analytics. So Google knows my IP, I’m a developer and what time I start work at least.

As for privacy I do not trust anyone at all, much less than Google.


This may be a duplicate post. I swear I posted this before

Thanks for the explanation.

For me it’s a matter of cost/benefits. I saw a slide presentation at codeconf based on the analytics. It was very interesting. The talk may be available for viewing. And I like Atom too much to avoid using it.


My opinion is that if programs/services that are free/open source/etc (anything not paid), I - as an user - have to give something back. If that is in the form of collecting data/metrics I’m fine with that, I have nothing to hide. Besides, that data can be used to improve a program that I’m using for free.

I do however agree that this “feature” should be opt-in! It should always be my choose to give data and the best way to ask for this feature is at installation time.


It is well known that opt-in will give skewed statistics.


Since it is impossible to make them understand that they must respect the privacy, it is best to add to /etc/hosts

You can get a full list here:

And ultimately completely uninstall Atom.


I fully support atom in their collecting data in order to improve the software. I wish more projects cared about making good software, and having data is key for this. There is absolutely no way to make a great product without having tons of user feedback, and I rather like the fact that I’m actually providing feedback without even noticing it. Far better than a 15 minutes survey on how I use atom.

Now atom being open-source, I think it would make sense if the collected data were public so that everyone can learn from the data and use it to decide how to contribute better to the project.


why can’t you just use Piwik? Which data is collected exactly?



You have to trust Piwik to not collect more than it says it will. The privacy nuts will still complain no matter how little it collects.


but Piwik is open source and I’d certainly trust Github more than Google.


See my answer here:


Is it possible to enquiry about a status update on benogle comment about prompting before any collection ?

Moslty checking that it has not slipped under the radar with everything there is to manage.


We don’t currently have an ETA for when we will be able to make this change. It has not slipped under the radar. We discuss the appropriate prioritization periodically and I bring it up as a community pain point if anyone forgets :grinning: