Firefox 70 lets users track online trackers
Mozilla has released Firefox 70.0, which delivers performance and power consumption improvements, helpful browser features, new options for developers and, most prominently, new security and privacy protections.
In January 2019, Mozilla published its official anti-tracking policy, which singled out cookie-based and URL parameter-based cross-site tracking and tracking via unintended identification techniques as practices that should be blocked by default by web browsers.
With that in mind, the organization has, slowly but surely, been enhancing and adding tracking protections and controls to Firefox.
In early September, Firefox 69.0 was pushed out with Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) turned on by default for all users, blocking known trackers in Private Windows, third-party tracking cookies and web-based cryptominers.
Firefox 70.0 adds a new category of trackers to the “Standard” (on-by-default) Content Blocking setting: cross-site tracking cookies from sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (aka social media trackers).
As before, users can choose to switch to the “Strict” ETP setting, which also blocks tracking content in all windows and “fingerprinters”, or opt for the “Custom” setting, which offers more granular blocking control.
Firefox 70.0 also allows users to see how many trackers it has blocked over the past week and to check out the social media trackers, cookies, tracking content, cryptominers and fingerprinters served by each individual site and blocked by the browser.
The broad report can be accessed via the menu button located on the far right of the browser’s toolbar (click on “Privacy Protections”) or via the shield icon in the address bar (click on “Show Report”).
Site-specific information can be viewed and perused when the site is open by clicking on the shield icon in the address bar.
Finally, with this newest version, Mozilla has begun stripping path information from the HTTP referrer sent to third-party trackers to prevent additional data leaks.
“The HTTP referrer is data sent in an HTTP connection, and can be leveraged to track you from site to site. Additionally, companies can collect and sell this data to third parties and use it to build user profiles,” Dave Camp, Senior Vice President of Firefox at Mozilla, explained.
The security protections announced are related to Firefox Monitor, the free online service that allows users to check whether their email address was involved in a publicly known data breach and to sign up to get notified if the account appears in new data breaches, and Firefox Lockwise, the feature that syncs logins from the Firefox browser to the Firefox Lockwise app.
Both tools are accessible via Firefox’s menu button (click on “Privacy Protections”). The newest Firefox release brings an improved Lockwise dashboard, a new password generator, and integrated updates on breached accounts from Firefox Monitor.
Lastly and expectedly, Firefox 70.0 delivers fixes for discovered security vulnerabilities.