This week, Mozilla Firefox has announced a privacy feature that’s newly available by default. This new feature included in version 69.0 aims to be between the browser and the user exclusively. Firefox achieves that by implementing Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP).
ETP – How Does It Work?
The ETP blocks all the third-party cookies and crypto miners. Although Firefox has initially released the protection last June, this is the first time it’s available by default to all users – both new and current.
The new release targets third-party tracking cookies that may be used for nefarious purposes. Automatic profiling for advertising is a prominent example of this. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) aims to tackle that with the prohibition of automated decision making unless there’s a legal basis for it.
It’s no surprise that Firefox has decided to follow the spirit of the GDPR and enhance users’ privacy protection. Moreover, its new features seem to do so with more transparency than ever.
Users of Mozilla Firefox browser can easily see how ETP works – there’s a shield in the address bar. If a user clicks on the shield, they’d get access to a list of companies whose cookies Firefox is blocking. They can then customize the list if they want to unblock a certain company’s tracking.
Beyond the Cookie Crumbles
Version 69.0 also protects your computer from malevolent crypto miners that would want to use your machine’s central processing unit (CPU). This practice is known as “crypto-jacking” and could have devastating effects on your device. The most famous example of this is Coinhive. Fortunately, Firefox seems to have found a way to protect you from crypto-jacking with ETP and block it by default.
It seems that Firefox is keen to embrace the “privacy-by-design” strategy. ETP is a strong confirmation of the privacy-by-design approach established by the GDPR. Firefox also plans to protect users from fingerprinting scripts which enforce the initiative. Mozilla has announced its intent to follow its principles last year and it’s great to see that they’ve been genuine.
The new feature is now available for both desktop and Android users.
Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Glenn Carstens-Peters.
Sources: Marissa Wood (Mozilla Blog) / (Mozilla Blog) / Frederic Lardinois (TechCrunch) / Robert Stevens (Decrypt) / Jon Porter (The Verge) / Sean Endicott (AndroidCentral) / ICO