Recently, Mozilla has rolled out its Firefox 93 browser version with more privacy features. These features typically aim at securing users from intrusive web tracking. While it will reach users’ devices automatically, it’s better to ensure running the latest version remain protected.
Mozilla Firefox 93 Privacy Features
Elaborating the privacy updates in Firefox 93 in the latest post, Mozilla specifically mentioned two features. These include “SmartBlock 3.0” and “HTTP Referrer Protection” features.
Specifically, Mozilla already implemented SmartBlock with Firefox 87 released earlier this year. This feature aimed at preventing web trackers from pursuing users online intrusively. For this, the browser applied some “stand-in” scripts to block third-party tracking scripts.
Now, with SmartBlock 3.0, Mozilla jazzes up this protection by blocking other intrusive web trackers, such as Google Analytics. As described in the post,
The third iteration of SmartBlock brings vastly improved support for replacing the popular Google Analytics scripts and added support for popular services such as Optimizely, Criteo, Amazon TAM and various Google advertising scripts.
With Firefox 87, Mozilla released an improved HTTP Referrer Protection feature as well, aiming at HTTP Referrer header. Describing this component, the post reads,
The HTTP Referer [sic] header is a browser signal that reveals to a website which location “referred” the user to that website’s server. It is included in navigations and sub-resource requests a browser makes and is frequently used by websites for analytics, logging, and cache optimization.
Besides, this HTTP Referrer can also allow tracking websites to learn the other websites that the user visits.
Therefore, the latest release further enhances this security by trimming HTTP Referrer for cross-site requests, leaving no impact on same-site requests.
Firefox will ignore less restrictive referrer policies for cross-site requests, such as ‘no-referrer-when-downgrade’, ‘origin-when-cross-origin’, and ‘unsafe-url’ and hence renders such privacy violations ineffective.
This feature will further improve cross-site privacy protection. Earlier, Mozilla released “total cookie protection” with Firefox 86 that prevented cookie-sharing with other sites.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Firefox also added a feature in search bar to push suggested and sponsored ads when you search. Seems like this should have been a opt in and not something turned on by default. Makes me question Mozilla true commitment to privacy? So it’s not ok for third parties to track me, but it’s OK if Firefox can monitor my searches so they can push ads that benefit them not me??? Sounds pretty hypocritical if you ask me.
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