Firefox will now limit many web trackers by default to protect users from ads and analytic companies, and websites that want to track digital fingerprints across the internet. The changes come to accommodate the increasing demand for more private searches. It will also speed up the browsing speed, and force advertisers to find less invasive techniques.
The Firefox change might not be as dramatic as what Apple did on its Safari browser a couple of years ago, when it added a feature that blocks nearly all third-party trackers by default, but it’s definitely welcome.
Safari limits trackers by default, rather than blocking just the ones collected on a blacklist. It also totally blocks trackers from being used by third-parties if you do not interact with their source website for more than a day.
However, Apple’s extra zealous approach could result in poorer user experience, according to Firefox. Cookies are fundamental tracking tools used all-over the web to keep users logged in or to provide them with relevant content. Over-blocking the cookies would limit the volume of personal information websites are able to access, at the cost of preventing many websites from working smoothly.
Mozilla’s effort is to find a golden medium by blocking specific trackers rather than all cookies indiscriminately. One of the company’s spokesmen said that blocking too many cookies may lead to “scenarios where some websites may not function properly,” hence the partial approach to prevent “potential usability issues.” Users will be able to increase the level of protection by accessing Firefox’s settings and changing the blocking level from “standard” to “strict”.
The tracker blocking feature will be on by default for all new Firefox users starting from today, and will become a default for every existing user in “the coming months.” Users that want to start using the feature from now can go into the settings and enable it, without having to wait for Mozilla, as the feature will be built-in from October.
Firefox may not be the most conservative browser when it comes to tracker blocking, but it is a huge leap ahead of Google Chrome, which is starting to experiments with tracking limiting features just now.
Differently from Mozilla and Apple, Google Chrome relies on targeted ads to survive and it is likely to lag behind its peers in terms of privacy.
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