Next up for Firefox's Tracking Protection: Social Media tracker blocking - gHacks Tech News

Next up for Firefox's Tracking Protection: Social Media tracker blocking

Mozilla plans to extend the functionality of Firefox's Tracking Protection feature soon by adding Social Media tracker blocking to the list of protections.

Social Media tracker blocking is not an entirely new feature but Mozilla wants to move it into its own Tracking Protection category and improve it at the same time.

Tracking Protection is a built-in feature of the Firefox web browser that has been designed specifically to mitigate tracking on the Internet. Mozilla enabled Tracking Protection by default for all instances just recently in stable versions of Firefox; the feature was enabled in private browsing windows previously only.

The organization announced in mid 2018 that it had plans to push Tracking Protection, and that is exactly what it has been doing since.

The next upgrade addresses another major source of tracking on today's Internet: social media tracking. Mozilla plans to introduce the feature in Firefox 70 Stable but the release may be postponed depending on how development progresses or even pulled. Firefox 70 Stable is scheduled for a October 23, 2019 release.

social media trackers

Mozilla plans to block social media trackers by default in Firefox once the feature lands. Tracking Protection supports the three different states Standard, Strict and Custom; standard is the default state and social media tracker blocking is enabled in that state.

Mozilla maintains a list of trackers that will get blocked when the feature is enabled. The current list includes Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, and the various tracking domains that these social media services use.

Firefox users may click on the Shield icon in the browser's address bar to display the types of trackers that are blocked on the active site. Social Media Trackers will be listed there if any are blocked and users may click on the small arrow icon to display the list of trackers the site attempted to load.

Mozilla plans to make use of doorhangers in the future to inform users about tracking protection features.

Closing Words

Tracking Protection is a core feature of the Firefox web browser that has been improved significantly in the past 12 months to block more trackers but also other unwanted content such as cryptomining or fingerprinting.

There is certainly room for improvement, either by improving existing protections, e.g. fingerprinting, or by implementing new tracking protection groups.

Now You: What is your take on Tracking Protection? (via Bleeping Computer)

Summary
Next up for Firefox's Tracking Protection: Social Media tracker blocking
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Next up for Firefox's Tracking Protection: Social Media tracker blocking
Description
Mozilla plans to extend the functionality of Firefox's Tracking Protection feature soon by adding Social Media tracker blocking to the list of protections.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Anonymous said on July 17, 2019 at 11:15 am
    Reply

    What if i have noscript+ublock origin installed ? Do i need any of these options enabled at firefox’s privacy tab ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 17, 2019 at 11:22 am
      Reply

      I don’t think that it interferes with these content blocking extensions but most is blocked by them as well automatically. Basically, content blocker > tracking protection > no protection.

      1. Pants said on July 17, 2019 at 12:24 pm
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        > Basically, content blocker > tracking protection > no protection

        Depends on your extension settings and lists. Let’s make this clearer: it doesn’t matter if only one of them blocks it, it gets blocked

        BUT… note the conflict in this example, of NS and uBO regards CSP header modifications: so you can expect some items in uBO’s filters to not work as intended

        see: https://github.com/ghacksuserjs/ghacks-user.js/issues/664#issuecomment-472596147

        “Any filter list can use $csp= filters, and there are lot of them. ~400 in uBO “Filter lists”, over 800 total”

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on July 17, 2019 at 1:45 pm
        Reply

        I thought he meant either or, and not both at the same time. My example was just for running one of the extensions and tracking protection side by side, that should not cause any conflicts, right? I have to admit that I did not test this, do you have some data on this?

      3. Pants said on July 17, 2019 at 2:42 pm
        Reply

        > do you have some data on this

        I don’t need to explicitly find an example: it’s a known documented bug. If NS injects a CSP header modification it will win (uses a listener on a loop or something) – on the same page uBO tries to block something using a $csp= filter .. uBO will fail. More than one extension can try to modify the CSP header: depends on the site and on your extension settings and lists etc. But it does happen.

        If Firefox’s TP does the blocking, I suspect that is not affected, since it’s done internally (but IANAExpert)

  2. user17843 said on July 17, 2019 at 12:30 pm
    Reply

    Despite the progressive changes, and their endless marketing about this stuff for well over a year now, they still have not enabled this stuff for their user base.

    6 months ago they said they roll tracking protection out as a standard feature, a couple months later it turns out they will only roll out a very light version of it to everyone (only blocking selected third party tracking cookies), and now the only thing that happened is that the feature is turned on for new users only.

    So this means that their default tracking protection doesn’t even block those annoying scripts, so there won’t be any increase in speed, which would be the biggest advantage.

    I’m starting to think that Google Chrome will probably come with a working solution for third-party tracking cookies faster than Mozilla enables it for everyone.

    1. Lambo-san said on July 17, 2019 at 6:37 pm
      Reply

      That’s why I don’t like Firefox anymore. Aside from the fact that they have been continuously ruining it since version 4 and with version 57 (Quantum) they put the last nail in the coffin and turned Firefox into a gimped Chrome clone… the issue I have with it is that they keep bragging about those anty-tracking features that they have which all seem like a lot of baloney to me – just a marketing gimmick to attract users (or win users back) since at this point Firefox honestly has nothing on Chrome. It’s like beating a dead horse at this point.

      1. John Fenderson said on July 17, 2019 at 7:13 pm
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        @Lambo-san:

        It’s not baloney. The anti-tracking feature they added is a good thing. However, it’s also not complete protection. Mozilla decided to err on the side of not causing websites to fail, which means that they can’t really do strong protection.

        This is great for casual users who don’t know how, or want to, have strong protections. It gives them some cover “out of the box”. Users who want strong protections should use extensions for that and not rely solely on the built-in ones.

      2. user17843 said on July 18, 2019 at 8:47 am
        Reply

        Firefox engineers always fear something doesn’t work.

        If this is really that problematic, they should have just copied the solution Apple developed for Safari in Web Kit, called ITP, and ride on Apple’s back.

        No, they had to reinvent the wheel, so instead of ITP they chose a proprietary (!) solution by disconnect, and probably paid them lots of money.

        Now they rely on a blocklist that is developed by a third party. Who knows who pays them to be whitelisted?

        I can’t understand this company.

      3. John Fenderson said on July 19, 2019 at 12:58 am
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        @user17843: “I can’t understand this company.”

        I can’t say that I do understand them now, but I have a hypothesis. I think they’re absolutely terrified by the loss of Firefox market share, and they don’t really know why it happened. So they are taking the approach of mimicking the top dog as closely as possible in the hopes of wooing Chrome users while at the same time they fear anything that might break a website because they think that the instant there’s an issue, the new user they gained will just immediately return to Chrome.

        I think their approach is disastrously wrong (an opinion which is supported by the fact that Firefox usage is continuing to fall every month) and leads to very strange decisions.

        But what I, or what any other non-Chrome user, thinks doesn’t matter. They’ve decided which hole they want to dig, and they’ll keep digging it. Which is part of the problem.

      4. pd said on July 18, 2019 at 8:38 am
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        LOL, you need to take a bit more of an objective look at the web these days. Do some research on “Super cookies” and “fingerprinting”.

        Companies track everything you see whether you are on their site or not!

        It seems like you’ve not really thought much about the nature of the web these days but have an ancient chip on your shoulder against Firefox.

        Every browser since the dawn of time has at least partially ‘gimped’ the most popular browser on the market. When you usage share is dropping consistently, you’d be ignorant not to at least partially look to the competition and implement a few of the features users are clearly voting for.

        But Firefox is different from Chrome in several ways. The memory usage is far superior for one and with Mozilla now taking a much more aggressive stance against the very real – whether you have woken up to what the web has become over the last 10 years or not – privacy threats all over the web. Go and install this:

        https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/lightbeam/

        and view exactly how the web works these days. You’ll find that there’s a bucketload of websites that report everything you do to third parties. You’re the only person who appears to have had you head in the sand and doesn’t realise this.

      5. Lambo-san said on July 18, 2019 at 4:48 pm
        Reply

        @pd,

        I stopped caring about those things long ago. I use Chrome (I’d use Edge Chromium if it didn’t require a Microsoft account), I have uBlock, Privacy Badger and a popup blocker, that’s all I need and care for, whether I’m tracked or not, I just don’t care anymore. Catch me 4-5 years back, I’d be all over those anti-tracking gimmicks, but now I’m too busy with real life things to care anymore, I just visit some tech news websites like this one to read on news and see if anything interesting comes up. I just shared my opinion, you aren’t obliged to prove wrong, nor am I obliged to explain myself to you, I just want to let you know I have no ill feelings against you or Firefox, but I wish Firefox continued in the direction it did between versions 2.x and 3.x, when it was about customization and catering to power users. Now Firefox is reducing its customization freedom and tries to cater to casual users while trying to keep privacy-concerned users interested with boring adverts about how they block stuff… It’s just laughable at this point, really. Firefox isn’t properly supported by many websites anymore, the new flat UI lacks customization and it’s very ugly so I have no reason to like or use Firefox.

        I don’t care about privacy, because when I search for something in the Chrome address bar, it predicts my next search and it saves me time to type everything all over and I like that, whatever the consequences may be… Oh shyte, they will see that I watch anime… I’m so embarrassed. xD

        That’s my final statement.

  3. Anonymous said on July 17, 2019 at 11:33 pm
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    Firefox has been garbage since #49, slower, more cumbersome and less customize-able. Looking for better browser.

    1. pd said on July 18, 2019 at 8:30 am
      Reply

      LOL, you must be running an ancient profile with lots of crud or something. If there’s one thing Quantum is not, it’s slow. Maybe try “Refresh Firefox” via about:support and your profile will be cleaned up. See how fast/slow it is then.

      Another option is making sure your graphics drivers are up to date as Firefox may be unable to run in hardware acceleration mode if they are not. Having said that, Firefox 49 actually *improved* performance for users without video acceleration, at least according to the release notes:

      “Improved video performance for users on systems that support SSSE3 without hardware acceleration”

      “Improve performance on Windows systems without hardware acceleration”

      https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/49.0/releasenotes/

      There’s also nothing at all in those release notes that would involve a performance impact so where you are getting “slower since 49” is a mystery.

      Otherwise Firefox is actually getting faster. It’s just implemented the new WebRender compositor from the Servo project and that is designed to support 60 FPS so that’s anything but slow.

      https://hacks.mozilla.org/2017/10/the-whole-web-at-maximum-fps-how-webrender-gets-rid-of-jank/

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0hYIRQRiws

      Native blocking of third-party cookies and other nefarious code will speed up the web as well, whilst also protecting you more than ever from cryptomining and ransomeware etc.

      Agreed re customization but performance improvements from multi-process is arguably the tradeoff for restricting customization and there’s still a lot you can do with CSS alone via userChrome.css There’s a community over on Reddit who can help you with that. /r/firefoxcss is a great resource. In addition, Mozilla has …

      – resisted the seemingly ever present urge to remove the search box permanently

      – kept the simple option of a traditional Menu Bar available with just two clicks

      – added Sidebars back as a WebExtension API and increased customization of this by allowing the sidebar on the right hand side

      It’s a shame you’re experiencing poor performance but with a little effort, you may be able to get the fast Firefox experience most other people get.

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