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The AchieVer

A closer look at Firefox's Tracking Protection feature

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The AchieVer

A closer look at Firefox's Tracking Protection feature


Tracking Protection is a privacy feature of the Firefox web browser designed to block certain unwanted elements on sites visited in the browser.


All Firefox users have options to control Tracking Protection in the web browser; Mozilla announced in June 2019 that Tracking Protection is enabled by default for new Firefox installations, and that it plans to make it the default for existing Firefox installations as well provided that the user has not customized Tracking Protection.


The announcement raised several questions: users wanted to know more about Tracking Protection, whether the system was good enough to make installed extensions superfluous, whether they could uninstall content blockers, and if there was any downside to enabling the feature.

Tracking Protection Basics

firefox tracking protection default


Firefox users may customize Tracking Protection functionality in several ways. One of the easier options is to load about:preferences#privacy in the Firefox address bar and check the "content blocking" section on the page that opens.


Tracking Protection offers three presets: standard, strict, and custom.

  • Standard (default): blocks known trackers in private windows and third-party tracking cookies in all windows.
  • Strict: blocks trackers in all windows and third party cookies.
  • Custom: select what to block:
    • Trackers: in all windows, private windows, change blocklist.
    • Cookies: third-party trackers, from unvisited websites, all third-party cookies, all cookies.
    • Cryptominers
    • Fingerprinters

Firefox displays a Shield icon next to the site address if Tracking Protection is blocking something on the active site. A click on the icon provides an overview of what is being blocked on the page.


firefox tracking protection controls


The Content Blocking section of the panel that opens provides the following information and controls:

  • Tracking Protection status (e.g. custom or standard).
  • Whether Trackers, Cookies, Miners, or Fingerprinters are blocked, or partially blocked. Note that Firefox displays only the types that are blocked and not the others.
  • Option to look at blocked content.
  • Option to turn off Tracking Protection for the site.

A click on a content type that is blocked on the active site displays the list of content that is blocked on it.


blocked cookies

Options to interact with the blocked content are not provided but you find a link to the content blocking options in the interface.

Tracking Protection lists and exceptions

Firefox uses lists provided by Disconnect. Level 1 is the default that is used by the browser's Tracking Protection feature.

  • Level 1: allows some trackers to avoid site breakage.
  • Level 2: blocks all detected trackers. Mozilla notes that this may break "some videos, photo slideshows, and social networking features".

The only option to switch to the level 2 list is to set Tracking Protection to the custom level. Select "change block list" under custom options to do so.


firefox tracking protection lists


Disconnect maintains a list of trackers that it does not block. If a company runs a tracker on its main site, blocking the tracker would prevent access to the site at all.


You find the current list of unblocked domainshere. The list includes sites such as aol.com, gravatar.com, amazon.com, or akamai.com.


There is no option to configure Firefox's Tracking Protection to block these trackers as well. Since you find CDNs on the list as well, blocking them would break sites that rely on these.

Tracking Protection vs. Ad-blocking

Tracking Protection and ad-blocking share some features but are different in others. Mozilla's Tracking Protection approach tries to improve user privacy by blocking certain forms of tracking, namely tracking cookies and a list of known trackers.


Ad-blockers focus on advertisement elements on websites and block these, and by doing so, improve privacy as well as they may block cookies from being set by advertising domains.


Tracking Protection may block some ad elements on websites that you visit but others may still be displayed. A content blocker like uBlock Origin blocks all advertisement on a page by default. Some content blockers, especially Adblock Plus, allow certain ads by default.

Tracking Protection History




Edited by Karlston
Tidied formatting

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2 hours ago, The AchieVer said:

A closer look at Firefox's Tracking Protection feature








uBlock Origin  Remove outdated and unuseful Disconnect list






gorhill added a commit that referenced this issue on Apr 5, 2018



Firefox's Enhanced Tracking Protection whitelists Google, Instagram, Amazon.



According to a Firefox developer most of Google Analytics’ data will be unaffected, which is great news for SEOs and site owners.

“The analytics functionality of GA (as used to prepare reports for a site owner) is a 1st-party cookie. So users will still count toward a site’s GA stats, like users of Apple ITP.”






Back before EDGE  even  Microsoft allowed you to  install  tracking protection  list to  IE  , Mozilla needs to stop blowing  smoke up everybody's :moon:


Metro IE11 includes new Downloads list and Tracking Protection features  Mar 26th, 2013



I  tested it back then on win 8.1  its nothing new  and  what they doing is no different than  what ABP does they not blocking the sites that give them money.  :rolleyes:





Edited by steven36

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