Mozilla said this week that its Firefox browser will automatically block some ad tracking technologies that, according to the company, degrade the site's performance and wipe users down wherever they go.
"Firefox will be discontinued by default – protecting users by blocking tracking," wrote Nick Nguyen, Mozilla's top manager on Firefox, in a blog on August 30.
Mozilla added Firefox 57, also known as "Quantum", to the so-called "Tracking Protection" last fall. Since then, the opt-in feature is turned on, meaning that users must manually enable it from the Browser's Preferences screen if they want to use it. When enabled, Tracking Protection blocks a variety of content, not just advertisements, but also in-page trackers that implant sites or ad networks to follow users from one website to another. Such trackers are the reason why an advertiser's underwear ad seemingly pops up somewhere, after searching the underwear selection on the seller's website.
(Mozilla introduced Tracking Protection in private browser mode in November 201
Switching from Opt-In to Standard will not happen overnight said Nguyen, who outlined a multi-level roadmap. The first of these steps identifies and blocks trackers that slow down the loading of pages by using a tool that is already embedded in Firefox Nightly, the latest and least stable version of Mozilla. If the test expires next month, Mozilla will include the feature in the production version of Firefox 63, which ships on October 23. (Firefox is currently running on version 61, but will rise to 62 on September 5.)
Next, Mozilla will tackle cross-site tracking, which irritates users the most as it tracks them like determined labs. "Firefox will remove cookies and block third-party tracking content storage access," Nguyen promised. Also, this was added to Firefox Nightly and will be extended to a broader test in September. If all goes well, Nguyen targets Firefox 65 as the version that will contain anti-cross-site tracking. Firefox Release Calendar now lists Firefox 65 with a provisional delivery date of January 29, 2019.
Firefox is not the first anti-tracking browser. Apple's Safari debuted in 2017 with Intelligent Tracking Protection (ITP) and added the feature to versions running on both macOS and iOS. And Apple has stepped up ITP in the new editions, which will ship next month with macOS "Mojave" and iOS 12, where all cross-site tracking cookies will be blocked unless the user is actually using the advertising content interacts.  Other, smaller browsers – boutique browsers – such as Epic and Brave also claim to block some or all ad-tracking items.
If you still want to try out Mozilla's blocking features, you can do so Download and install Firefox Nightly, then by accessing the browser's Control Center menu and the new Content Blocking section.