Mozilla: Firefox 22 to Auto-Block Cookies by Default, Undertakes Online Privacy

By Daniel Brecht February 26, 2013

The free and open source Web browser from Mozilla, Firefox, which is widely used according to the latest Global Statcounter data and usage share of the market, has announced that it will, like Apple's Safari Web browser, block all unwanted third-party cookies by default.

At present, users are able to manually disable cookies in Firefox, but in version 22, which is due out for release this summer (in June) with a pre-beta version coming out this spring (in April), there will be a patch written by Jonathan Mayer, a graduate student at Stanford University, that will set the browser’s cookies to automatically turn off; it will be up to the user to enable cookies (turn them on), to reset the browser and set it to accept a cookie.

This new feature to be incorporated in Firefox 22 is designed to block cookies from third-party advertisers; consequently, it makes it possible to prevent users from being tracked online.

Mayer has provided insight on some of the recent questions and answers about the new Firefox cookie policy and the code change to automatically disable the browser’s Internet cookies.

Firefox 22 will be worth updating if users want to avoid having advertisers collect data about them when they navigate the Web. All it takes is one cookie set to give third-parties permission to serve up ads that are targeted to the users’ activities and interests; so to overcome this, one can configure Firefox not to accept cookies or set up which sites are allowed to set cookies. Version 22 has this upcoming change in the default cookie-handling policy, which will benefit those that look for online privacy and don’t want to worry about settings.

Brendan Eich, Mozilla's CTO, sees the change necessary, and Asa Dotzler, the Firefox desktop product manager, agrees that “[they] are trying to make tracking relationships more obvious to the user."

Mozilla’s new policy has created a war between advertisers and some browser makers. With no real big concerns addressed by Firefox users, as the cookie change can easily be undone within the browser’s privacy settings–on Firefox’s general Options menu, the only issue foreseen by Mozilla is if there will be a significant loss in the number of users who update to version 22 as a result of its ability to auto-block third-party ad cookies by default.  Unfortunately, only time will tell what will come of it.




Edited by Brooke Neuman

Contributing Writer

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Verizon Needs Tough Love on Copper Policies

By: Doug Mohney    1/29/2015

New regulation on broadband and telecommunications providers is at top of mind here at ITEXPO. Jeff Pulver, founder and chief executive of pulver.com …

Read More

OTT Video Set to Top $6 Billion in 2019

By: Tara Seals    1/29/2015

When it comes to over-the-top (OTT) video, it has grown not only in developed regions but also in emerging markets, both as an alternative and complem…

Read More

Digium CEO: Businesses at Every Level Can Get Started with UCaaS

By: Allison Boccamazzo    1/29/2015

Digium CEO Danny Windham made one thing clear during his keynote presentation at ITEXPO 2015: Businesses of all kinds, at every developmental level, c…

Read More

When Gaming Isn't a Game: 3 Best Practices to Protect Your Hosting Service Against DDoS Attacks

By: Joe Eskew    1/28/2015

The unprecedented number of security breaches, hacks and DDoS attacks on gaming communities, software manufacturers and even Hollywood studios grew to…

Read More

No Hackers Took Down Facebook; Hour's Outage Mostly Internal

By: Steve Anderson    1/28/2015

Facebook released a statement not long after the outage had hit, revealing that the cause of the shutdown was not "...the result of a third-party atta…

Read More