Mozilla announced today that Firefox will soon block web browsers by default. Additionally, Firefox will also give users control over what information they share with websites.
Web browsers are used primarily for targeted advertising and wide user data collection. Mozilla wants to protect users against sites that abuse abuse and improve performance and privacy.
Mozilla shared details about three trace blocking features based on Firefox:
- Blocking tracker lowers since loads. This feature, which aims to improve page performance, will be tested in September. If it works well, Firefox 63 (slated for October 2018) will start blocking slow-loading trackers by default.
- Remove tracking across websites that follow users around the web. This feature, which removes cookies and blocks storage access from third party content tracking, is being tested with some Firefox beta users in September. Mozilla plans to bring this protection to all users in Firefox 65 (slated for January 201
- Reduce malicious practices like trackers as fingerprints users (to identify users by device properties) and encryption scripts. Mozilla did not share when future versions of Firefox will stop these methods, but it said that they would also be blocked by default.
Like how Google sees Chrome blocking some ads by default, Mozilla Firefox watches blockers as an extension of the popup blocker. Here is the company's reason for the decision:
Some websites will continue to have user data in exchange for content, but now they must ask about it, a positive change for people who until now had no idea of the value they were asked to do. Blocking pop-up ads in the original Firefox release was the right move in 2004, because it not only made Firefox users happier, giving advertising platforms some time to worry about the user's experience. By 2018, we hope that our efforts to provide our users will have the same effect.
Mozilla will make it clear that these features are targeted at users, and sites must be customized accordingly.
Try it now in Firefox Nightly
Firefox development starts with Firefox Nightly, which consists of the latest code packed up every night for bleeding testers. The first two protections are already available at night – you can control both functions from the control center menu (left side of the address bar), where you will see a new "Content Block" section.
Here you can enable blocking of traceable tracking tracks or tracking trace through third party cookies by clicking "Add Blocker …" next to the appropriate option. Check "Slow Loading Trackers" to improve page load performance and / or check "Third Party Cookies" and select "Trackers (recommended)" to block tracking collisions across websites. Even at night, these features must still be activated, but eventually they will be on by default.
More details are available if you click the gear icon.
] If all of this sounds familiar to you, you're right. Mozilla added a tracking feature to Firefox 42's private browsing mode in November 2015. With the release of Firefox 57 (Firefox Quantum) in November 2017, Mozilla added an option to enable tracking of privacy protection outside private browsing. Tracking protection in Firefox blocks site elements (ads, analytics tracks, and social sharing buttons) that can track you while browsing the web. It's almost like a built-in ad block, but it's really closer to browser add-ons like Ghostery and Privacy Badger, because ads that do not track you are allowed through. The feature blocking list, which is based on the tracking protection rules determined by anti-spam startup, is discontinued, published under public public license and available on GitHub.
It's great for not only privacy but also performance:
Mozilla's tracking technology is also available on other platforms, either called Turbo Mode on Fire TV, a proprietary privacy-based mobile browser called Firefox Focus, or just a feature on Android and iOS. In fact, Firefox for iOS was on protection by default by April.
At that time, Firefox product specialist Jeff Griffith's VentureBeat prompted Mozilla not to turn on Tracking Protection by default on the desktop. It's apparently still true, but Firefox will eventually block trackers by default – it will only give users more controls and options when it does.