Professionals tired of targeted advertising, slow web performance, and unchecked data collection due to ad trackers will soon have a better browsing option in Mozilla Firefox. The browser will by default block tracking as well as provide a set of controls to give users more choice about what they share with sites, according to a Thursday blog post.
In the coming few months, Mozilla will release a host of features to put this approach into practice, focusing on three areas: Improving page load performance, removing cross-site tracking, and mitigating harmful practices.
In terms of page loading, a new feature in Firefox Nightly will block trackers that slow down page loads, the post said. Mozilla will be testing this feature in September, and if it performs well, it will be included by default in Firefox 63.
SEE: Encryption policy (Tech Pro Research)
To give users a more private web browsing experience, Firefox will also strip cookies and block storage access from third-party tracking content, according to the post. This is now available for Firefox Nightly users to test, and is planned to be available to all users in Firefox 65.
More trackers invisibly collect identifiable user information like fingerprints or deploy cryptomining scripts, so future version of Firefox will block these practices as well, the post said.
"This is about more than protecting users — it's about giving them a voice," according to the post. "Some sites will continue to want user data in exchange for content, but now they will have to ask for it, a positive change for people who up until now had no idea of the value exchange they were asked to make."
Firefox users who want to enable ad blockers now can access the Firefox Nightly Control Center menu, found in the left-hand side of the address bar, and navigate to the new "Content Blocking" section. From there, follow these steps:
1. Enable blocking slow-loading trackers or cross-site tracking through third-party cookies by clicking "Add Blocking..." next to the respective option
2. Under the "Content Blocking" preferences panel, click the checkbox next to "Slow-Loading Trackers" to improve page load performance
3. Again under the "Content Blocking" preferences panel, click the checkbox next to "Third-Party Cookies" and select "Trackers (recommended) to block cross-site tracking cookies
Users can disable any of these protections by clicking the gear icon in the control center, and unchecking the checkboxes next to the "Slow-Loading Trackers" and "Third-party Cookies," the post noted.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.