Mozilla Beefs Up Default Privacy

As reported on, Mozilla has moved an experimental security feature to the developer release. This changes the way Private Browsing, the equivalent of Chrome’s Incognito or IE’s InPrivate modes, deals with tracking user actions and behaviour across different websites.

The new version has Tracking Protection enabled for all Private Browsing windows by default. This means that if you want your browsing to be tracked you will need to disable the feature. If you have a website that you want to allow to track you then you will need to enable tracking for that site each and every session.

Mozilla believes that when you open a Private Browsing session that you are informing them that everything that you are doing during that session is to be kept secret. This idea means that Tracking Protection is on by default and will prevent tracking your behaviour between various sites.

Mozilla support notes that:

since Private Browsing mode doesn’t keep any information about your browsing session, when you disable Tracking Protection for a site, it only lasts for the session. When you start a new Private Browsing session, Tracking Protection will be turned on for all sites.

Tracking Protection works by blocking the parts of a site that send information back to known tracking servers. This allows general browsing to load faster and will interrupt services such as personalised advertisements. So no more ads for a new refrigerator for the months after you just purchased one.

Since parts of the website are being blocked this could cause some sites not to display correctly, but as mentioned previously you can choose to enable tracking on a site by site level for a single session.

If you decide that you want Tracking Protection to be part of your normal browsing experience you will need to activate it from the configuration menu. This menu can be found by typing ‘about:config’ in the address bar. Then you will need to enable the ‘privacy.trackingprotection’ flag.

If you enable the new protection for everyday browsing you will not have to enable tracking session. Only Private Browsing deletes information between sessions so you can set up your non-private sessions to allow your browsing to be tracked when you like and visit other sites without having to worry about them collection information you do not want to share.

Based on Firefox’s normal update cycle this feature will not make it to the main release build for around 3 months. So if there are no issues with Tracking Protection – you can expect this feature around November. Should you choose that this is a great feature and you want it earlier you could use either the aurora/developer pre-beta build or the beta build. Or you could just use the instructions above to enable the Tracking Protection from the about:config options.

Whether or not you feel this is an important feature for your browsing experience, it is always recommended that you use the latest stable release of your browser, so that you are protected from any known and patched security flaws.

Image from Shutterstock. 

Ali is a freelance journalist, having 5 years of experience in web journalism and marketing. He contributes to various online publications. With a master degree, now he combines his passions for writing about internet security and technology. When he is not working, he loves traveling and playing games.