Mozilla’s open-source web browser is taking a bold stance against the ad industry. The Mozilla Foundation has announced that Firefox will begin blocking web trackers by default from the next update. The web trackers are mainly used for targeted advertising and user data collection. Mozilla wants to protect its users from the trackers and hopes that by blocking these trackers the performance and privacy of the browser is increased.
In conjunction, Firefox will also let users control what information they share with sites.
The move, which will involve a series of updates over the course of the next few months, is among one of the most proactive approaches to protect consumer privacy that it’s ever employed.
“Anyone who isn’t an expert on the internet would be hard-pressed to explain how tracking on the internet actually works,” reads the announcement posted to Mozilla’s blog. “Some of the negative effects of unchecked tracking are easy to notice, namely eerily-specific targeted advertising and a loss of performance on the web. However, many of the harms of unchecked data collection are completely opaque to users and experts alike, only to be revealed piecemeal by major data breaches.”
The Mozilla Foundation has shared the details about their three tracker-blocking features that will be built into the next version of the Firefox. You can read their full announcement here.
Blocking trackers that slow down page loads. This feature, aimed at improving page load performance, will be tested in September. If it performs well, Firefox 63 (slated for October 2018) will start blocking slow-loading trackers by default.
The trackers that use cross-site tracking will be blocked and also the browser blocks the storage access to third-party tracking. This feature, which strips cookies and blocks storage access from third-party tracking content, will be tested with some Firefox beta users in September. Mozilla plans to bring this protection to all users in Firefox 65 (slated for January 2019).
The trackers that fingerprint the user’s browser will be blocked immediately. Mozilla didn’t share when future versions of Firefox will stop these practices, but it did say they will also be blocked by default.