How to block fingerprinting in Firefox

Fingerprinting is a new way of tracking your online usage. Find out what this is and how to make sure Firefox is blocking it.

How to block fingerprinting in Firefox

Have you ever wondered why you keep seeing the same online ad everywhere you go? You visit a social network site, there's the ad. You visit an online news sources, there it is again. How that works is via a technique called fingerprinting. 

With fingerprinting, companies create a unique profile of your computer, the software you use, the browser add-ons you've installed, and even your preferences such as the screen used, fonts installed, and choice of web browser. This is done using a specific type of tracking that differs from the standard tracking or cookies. 

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Fingerprinting a user isn't nearly as easy when you employ common applications and settings. It's when you veer outside the norm that fingerprints can be easily tied to your computer. With a clear fingerprint, marketers can then bombard you with ads. Fortunately, the latest release of Firefox has a new feature that blocks ad trackers from fingerprinting you. 

How to enable to Firefox fingerprint blocker

Out of the box, the new Fingerprint Blocker should be enabled. However you might want to check. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open Firefox. 
  2. Click on the menu button and then click Preferences. 
  3. In the resulting window, click Privacy & Security. 
  4. Click to expand the Standard option under Enhanced Tracking Protection. 
  5. You should see that Fingerprinters is listed. If not, chances are you're using an out of date version of Firefox. 

Make sure to upgrade to the latest release and Fingerprinting should then be included. How do you know if Fingerprinting detection is working? Go to a site and then click the Information button, which lives at the far left edge of the address bar. In the dropdown, if there are fingerprinters detected, they will be listed in the Allowed section. 

You might have to temporarily disable Tracking Protection for a site to get this to appear. But once you see it, you know fingerprinting is working and can be blocked with Firefox. 

Just remember, if you've temporarily disabled Tracking Protection, make sure to re-enable it. You don't want to leave yourself vulnerable to any kind of tracking.

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Image: Mozilla