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What Is Tracking Protection and Why Mozilla Enabled It by Default in Firefox

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The AchieVer

What Is Tracking Protection and Why Mozilla Enabled It by Default in Firefox 

Enhanced Tracking Protection is now enabled by default in Firefox

 

Mozilla has pledged to keep browsing fully private for its users, and with Firefox now becoming the only worthy alternative to Chromium-powered browsers, delivering on these promises is the only way to go.

As part of the company’s push for better privacy when browsing the world, Mozilla started the work on tracking protection nearly five years ago.

The first implementation of the intuitively-called Tracking Protection feature went live in late 2014 when Mozilla released it for testing as part of Firefox Nightly, essentially making a major step towards blocking websites from tracking users and collecting data from their devices.

Tracking Protection was included in builds in the stable channel with the release of Firefox 39, and since then, Mozilla has gradually improved this feature with further enhancements.

In fact, Tracking Protection evolved to eventually become a wider set of privacy features bundled into Firefox and simply referred to as “content blocking.” This arsenal of features includes everything from tracker and cookie blockers to a defensive system again cryptominers and fingerprinters.

In the existing builds of Firefox, the content blocking set of tools comes down to four different capabilities that can deal with the following categories:
 
Trackers (content, cookies, scripts)
Third-party tracking cookies
Cryptominers (beginning with Firefox 67)
Fingerprinting scripts (beginning with Firefox 67)
 
The Enhanced Tracking Protection is actually a mode that’s offered in Firefox as part of the privacy system mentioned above, and it blocks known third-party tracking cookies based on the Disconnect list.

When Enhanced Tracking Protection kicks in during your browsing session, a small shield icon shows up in the address bar, letting you know that a specific tracker is blocked. Clicking this shield reveals more information on the blocked content, but also provides you with additional controls should you want to allow certain parts like cookies.

If you want to see the companies that are blocked and their cookies, it all comes down to a few clicks:

Shield icon > Cookies

There are three categories of cookies displayed here:
 
From this site
Tracking cookies
Third-party cookies
 
Because Enhanced Tracking Protection blocks third-party cookies that could help collect information about you and your device, Mozilla decided to enable this feature as default for all users as part of the Standard setting in the browser.

The Standard protection level blocks known trackers in private windows and third-party tracking cookies and is served as the default setting in Firefox. You can switch to Custom if you want to customize the content that is blocked in the browser.
 
Tracking protection levels in Firefox
 
 


To change the level of tracking protection in Firefox, follow this path:

Firefox > Options > Privacy & Security > Browser Privacy > Content Blocking

You can read more about setting up content blocking in Firefox in this article.

Mozilla says Enhanced Tracking Protection will be activated not only on new installs, but also for existing users.

“For new users who install and download Firefox for the first time, Enhanced Tracking Protection will automatically be set on by default as part of the ‘Standard’ setting in the browser. For existing users, we’ll be rolling out Enhanced Tracking Protection by default in the coming months without you having to change a thing,” the company explains.

All these changes apply to all desktop versions of Firefox, including on Windows, Linux, and Mac.

The latest build of the browser is Firefox 67.0.1, and it is the first major release for version 67. The next major update for the browser is Firefox 68 projected to go live on July 9.

 

 

 

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