Firefox has launched a feature that lets users view the companies tracking them as they browse online.
The feature, rolled out as part of the Firefox 70 web browser, builds on its Enhanced Tracking Protection launched in September. While that blocked third-party tracking by default, the latest update goes one step further, flipping the privacy dynamic between individuals and would-be-snoopers.
Firefox, the fourth most popular browser, says that it blocks billions of tracking requests every day. It hopes the Privacy Protections Report will raise awareness of the extent companies track internet users and create profiles that can be sold on to advertisers and data brokers.
“What you’ll be able to see in this version is which content is being tracked by social media networks, which are using cross-site tracking cookies that have been blocked, and which sites are using fingerprinters – tools sites use to record information about the characteristics of your browser itself to start to form a profile,” Dave Camp, senior vice president at Firefox, told Verdict.
The privacy report will also show when it successfully blocks cryptominers – malware that uses your computing power to mine for cryptocurrency for the attacker.
Firefox 70: “some pushback” from web trackers
The Firefox web browser, developed by the Mozilla Foundation, first launched in 2002 and has long had a focus on user privacy.
“There’s a growing awareness of what we’re giving up,” he said. “We think the internet as a whole will be better when businesses can join us in addressing the actual problems that users are having and how their data is being used.”
He told Verdict that Firefox expected “some amount of pushback” from businesses that profit from tracking user activity, but ultimately he’s “optimistic” that the debate will continue to shift towards putting user privacy first.
As part of Firefox 70, Mozilla has also beefed up its password manager with Firefox Monitor, which alerts users when their password might have been compromised in a data breach.
Firefox 70 is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS.