UPDATE September 4 14:29 UTC: Today’s release of Mozilla Firefox sees Enhanced Tracking Protection automatically enabled by default for all users worldwide.
Our original story, published June 5, follows.
Mozilla Firefox is set to introduce ‘Enhanced Tracking Protection’ to all Firefox browsers. This feature will make it a lot harder for companies and other third parties to track your online activity, preventing them from displaying targeted advertisements.
In a blog post announcing these new features, published on Tuesday 4 June, Senior Vice President of Firefox Dave Camp states that “in order to truly protect people, we need to establish a new standard that puts people’s privacy first.” He acknowledges that people feel “increasingly vulnerable” after several global privacy scandals, and feels that Firefox is taking the right steps to introduce “stronger online protections for everyone.”
For new users installing and downloading Firefox browsers for the first time, Enhanced Tracking Protection will be automatically enabled by default as part of the ‘Standard’ browser setting and will block all known third-party tracking cookies. It’s practically invisible in the browser – you’ll only be able to tell it’s running when you visit a site and see a shield icon in the address bar along with a small “i” icon.
For more information on which specific companies Firefox is blocking, you can simply click on the shield icon next to the URL, go to ‘Content Blocking’ and then click on ‘Cookies’. Behind the arrow on the right-hand side, you’ll be able to see the list of blocked companies – it’s also possible to turn off blocking for a specific site.
Existing Firefox users will be able to use Enhanced Tracking Protection in the coming months – it will be enabled by default so you won’t have to change any settings. For those who don’t want to wait for the feature to be rolled out to them, it’s possible to turn it on in the browser menu. Go to Content Blocking and click on the ‘Custom’ cog in the privacy preferences section. Tick the ‘Cookies’ checkbox and ensure that ‘Third-party Trackers’ is selected.
Other new features that come with Firefox’s update include updates to Facebook Container, Firefox Monitor and Lockwise. The latest update for Facebook Container prevents Facebook from tracking you on other websites with embedded Facebook capabilities (such as the ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons featured on their site).
Firefox Monitor is a free service from Firefox that notifies you if your email address has been involved in a data breach, and is used by over 635,000 people. Firefox has now launched a central dashboard to make it easier to help you track multiple email addresses and view summary information for all your registered email accounts. The update also includes a new safety measure to ensure all email addresses are verified before activation.
Firefox Lockwise is a desktop extension designed to give users more control over their passwords, allowing you to manage your list of saved passwords and access them from any device. This feature is also available on iOS and Android.