Mozilla announced today that the Firefox browser will soon automatically block all attempts to track across websites.
There are three parts to this strategy. Starting with version 63, currently being tested in the browser's publishing channel, Firefox will block all slow-loading trackers (with ads as the largest offender here). There are trackers that take more than five seconds to load. Starting with Firefox 65, the browser will also remove all cookies and block all storage access from third party drivers. In addition, Mozilla is working to block encryption scripts and trackers as fingerprints. As usual, the timeline may still change, depending on how these first tests work out.
"In the physical world, users would not expect hundreds of suppliers to follow them from store to store, spying on the products they watch or buy," Mozilla's Nick Nguyen writes today. "Users have the same expectations of online privacy, yet they are tracked where they go. Most browsers fail to help users get the level of privacy they expect and deserve."
If You want to give these new features a try today, all you need to do is to install the unstable Firefox Nightly release. There, in the privacy settings, you will find the new barrier blocking features under the heading "Content Blocking." Once you've turned it on, the browser will also follow you through how all this works and marks that some of the more aggressive settings can destroy a few websites.
Additionally, Firefox's private mode uses the same type of tracking protection already, which makes Firefox for iOS.
Safari users will probably have repeated as they read this. Apple, after all, already announced similar privacy features for its browser last year. The approach here is different, with Apple's focus on machine learning and Firefox using more traditional block lists, but the purpose is the same.
As Mozilla notes, the idea here is to give users choices. Sites may still request a user's data, but they must ask for consent before they get it. "Blocking pop-up ads in the original Firefox release were the best feature in 2004, because it not only made Firefox users happier, it gave the advertising platforms some time to worry about the user's experience. In 2018, we hope our efforts to strengthening our users will have the same effect, "writes Nguyen.