Online advertising can be more than annoying . It can also violate users' privacy through tracking technology, which serves to target ads and measure responses. Users have long had access to a range of tools to combat aggressive or inquisitive advertising technologies. However, these tools often require users to install new software or rummage through their browser's settings. Today, Mozilla, the company behind the popular Firefox browser, says it will take more aggressive measures to protect users' privacy.
Future Firefox versions will automatically block tracking codes from so-called third-party vendors, advertisers or other companies are not the publisher of the site; Users do not need to take additional measures. The feature is already being tested and is expected to be included in Firefox later this year. It also blocks trackers that take too long to load. The features are not designed to block ads, but may prevent them from being displayed because the ads contain tracking scripts that take too long to load.
Firefox already allows users to completely block tracking, but the feature is not enabled by default unless you open a "Private Browsing" session. The new features are more detailed and enabled by default. They are part of a recent push from Mozilla to emphasize privacy, including its Focus software that blocks Tracker in iOS.
Mozilla is not the first browser maker to offer tracking protection by default. Apple's Safari browser also blocks third-party trackers. Unlike Safari, the trial version of Firefox includes blocking against slow-loading trackers, which currently prevents ads from appearing on Wired.com and other sites.
The features are similar to those of plug-ins like Disconnect or Privacy Badger. In fact, Mozilla relies on a list of trackers created by the disconnect team. "However, most browser users do not install such add-ons so they remain vulnerable," says Firefox Product Manager Peter Dolanjski, citing Mozilla's own user behavior research. "By enabling these features by default, we can protect many more users."
Mozilla is considering additional measures against disruptive advertising. Firefox and other browsers have long been blocking pop-up ads that open new windows. But now a newer form of pop-ups has become popular that appear over web content without opening a new window or tab. Dolanjski says Mozilla is investigating whether it is possible to block these "modal" pop-ups, even though the company has not committed to actually blocking them if it proves to be feasible. Users who want to support Mozilla with this research can install a plug-in to report this newer type of popup.
Mozilla's approach is more aggressive than ad blocking, which is now being integrated into Google's Chrome browser sites that are particularly offensive in advertising and not designed to protect privacy. Microsoft has recently started to bundle Adblock Plus with mobile versions of its Edge browser, but is not enabled by default.
While approaches vary, there is a clear trend for browsers to make user views more active. For years, browsers have been simply displaying content the way web publishers specified it, and executing the code that was bundled with those pages. This freedom of movement has resulted in a poorer web plagued by automatically played videos, advertisements that you follow on the web or spread malware, and pages that are larger than the original DOOM video game. The innovations now coming from browser makers have the potential to re-design the Web, but they also give more control to big companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft, who make many of the most popular browsers. Mozilla is an alternative to these massive companies.
Firefox will be the most commonly used browser to block trackers by default, but Google Chrome is still far behind in its use. According to Statcounter, Chrome accounts for almost 60 percent of the global browser market, while Firefox has 5 percent. Safari has about 1
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