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Mozilla says Firefox will soon block web trackers by default

     
1:23 am on Aug 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Changing Our Approach to Anti-tracking [blog.mozilla.org]
Anyone who isn’t an expert on the internet would be hard-pressed to explain how tracking on the internet actually works. Some of the negative effects of unchecked tracking are easy to notice, namely eerily-specific targeted advertising and a loss of performance on the web. However, many of the harms of unchecked data collection are completely opaque to users and experts alike, only to be revealed piecemeal by major data breaches. In the near future, Firefox will — by default — protect users by blocking tracking while also offering a clear set of controls to give our users more choice over what information they share with sites.
1:36 am on Aug 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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In the land of adsense, a great cry went up..
As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror...
4:23 am on Aug 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Firefox is grabbing at straws in a struggle to gain some level of market share in the world of mobile.

They're not the first to promise privacy as a feature. It won't help however. Most users just use the browser that comes default to thier device.

This forum and a few other techie gatherings probably have more FF users than anywhere else, so there''ll likely be support.

Now if Chrome made this announcement... that would be news!
6:09 am on Aug 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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They're #2, but they try harder...

I go out of my way not to use Google Chrome. It's getting harder to do that these days, but FF is still my favorite. The rest are all becoming Chrome variants, and that's not good for the market. Remember when IE was the undisputed leader of the pack?

Saw a comment in another article along the lines of "FF moves from 'Do not track' to 'Won't track'." This is a very welcome move for me.
6:40 am on Aug 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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They're #2, but they try harder...
They're #4

I used FF for a number of years until it became so bloated I could make a sandwich waiting for it to load. I know FF was rebuilt a lot faster, but I moved on.

Mobile is now king, and the browser is Chrome. That's what most use. As a web professional I find it prudent to see the web as everyone else does, get the same experience they do, build my web properties knowing how it works for them.

I still test in Safari and Edge, but FF is no longer something I consider. I just don't see the point.

Safari is native to iPhone & other Apple devices. Edge comes with Windows. But Firefox really has no reason, no connection to anything.

Firefox gained clout because of the many extensions and its early standards compliance. It was cool back then, I get it. But for me, it's just a browser I once used.

I have Chrome sync'd across 4 devices and can move files around as needed. Plus Chrome is super fast. With the upcoming GDPR privacy compliance (beyond what FF is doing) Chrome stays cutting edge.
11:08 am on Aug 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The latest browser stats vary from system to system, however, it's clear that Chrome is out in front, with, on some systems, showing Safari or FF, or even IE in second, third and fourth. Some with desktop and others with mobile. Clearly, with mobile it's Chrome or Safari first and second.

When is come down to is, there needs to be an alternative, and FF will always be playing catch up.

I welcome the option of FF from Mozilla, and really, the default they'll take shouldn't be a problem and will help reduce the overly-intrusive tracking.
11:36 am on Aug 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Clearly, with mobile it's Chrome or Safari first and second
Those reports that show Safari first are wrong. It's due to the fact that the Chrome mobile UA string includes "Safari" for comparability on earlier systems.

I ran into this issue myself when writing code to grep browser UAs from my logs.

Android phones (with Chrome) vastly outnumber iPhones (with Safari.)

Mobile now accounts for nearly 70% of traffic across my sites and I rarely see mobile Firefox.

With desktop, I see about as many Firefox as I do Opera; maybe 8 to 10% on average.
5:07 pm on Aug 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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the Chrome mobile UA string includes "Safari"
afaik, all Chrome UA strings include “Safari”. The (desktop) Opera UA string includes both “Chrome” and “Safari”. The unifying feature is webkit, and that’s generally the thing to compare: webkit vs gecko (-moz- in vendor extensions, just to confuse us) vs. trident or whatever they call it.
8:52 pm on Aug 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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afaik, all Chrome UA strings include “Safari”.
Absolutely, however the context you cherry-picked the quote from was specifically about Chrome mobile and its mistaken report popularity with Safari :)

However, what you say just adds credence to why these browser popularity tools are inaccurate.

- - -

I just reinstalled Firefox mobile for Android and browsed around for a while. Now I remember why I didn't like it. While it's pretty quick and seems to display well, it has an awkward UI that takes undue space at the top.

I've become accustomed to the minimal, clean UI of mobile Chrome.
10:52 pm on Aug 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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You want minimal? change your settings. FF can be as minimal as desired.
11:53 pm on Aug 31, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I've become accustomed to the minimal, clean UI of mobile Chrome.
You want minimal? change your settings. FF can be as minimal as desired.

@tangor - if you're talking to me, excuse me for stating the obvious, but in all respect, how would you know?

You have said numerous times that you do not and will never own a Mobile (Smart) Phone, referring to them as "tinker toys" and other derogatory terms.

So how would you know that Firefox Mobile "can be as minimal as desired?" Or do you go down to the local department store and use their floor models to test mobile browsers and how they render mobile websites. And if you do that, why...? Your website is not Mobile-responsive nor is there a dot mobile version.

Comparing Firefox Mobile and Chrome Mobile (both for Android) side by side, I don't see any setting to minimize Firefox Mobile. I can't find how to make the FF UI any smaller, but maybe I'm missing something.

BTW - I do really like the Mozilla security pages:
Content Security Policy [wiki.mozilla.org]
Subresource Integrity [wiki.mozilla.org]
12:14 am on Sept 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Firefox is grabbing at straws in a struggle to gain some level of market share in the world of mobile.


I noticed that yesterday in my stats. IE+Edge beat Firefox by a not-so-insignificant amount with Chrome as the undisputed top dog.
2:29 am on Sept 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Heh heh. I may not OWN one, but I have many friends who do. keyplr, I get it, you love chrome and anything else is heretical. No skin off my nose. Like what you like.

As for FF's announced plans, they may be on the leading edge, rather than playing catch up. Time will tell.

That said, Androids some with Chrome embedded and it is dang difficult to REMOVE ... so g is not worried one way or the other. The relentless cheerleading for g and bass mozilla, does get a bit tiresome.

If GDPR (or similar) is implemented world wide, browsers that are hardened against tracking might become vogue. Again, time will tell.
11:25 am on Sept 1, 2018 (gmt 0)

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The last time I looked FF was using less memory and was not any slower than Chome (or Chromium, to be accurate in my case).
10:04 am on Sept 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This is now available on Firefox 62, but not enabled by default.

I'm trying it and honestly it seems they have gone way too far. Did they really need to block everything coming from the domain .googletagmanager.com? This is used by too many websites to manage scripts which may not be using 3rd party tracking cookies.

IMHO they are overdoing.
10:55 am on Sept 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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the domain .googletagmanager.com

Allows Google to track you, it doesn't need to "drop a cookie", it is about "tracking in all it's forms"..no website needs to use the domain .googletagmanager.com, all of what calls to that do can be done on the original site by a competent webmaster.
Any calls to "offsite scripts" ( and thus the site which provides the script knows the visitor IP which calls it ) are tracking you..
11:28 am on Sept 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@Leosghost:

- Yes, I know it may allow you to be tracked.
- "no website needs to use the domain .googletagmanager.com, all of what calls to that do can be done on the original site by a competent webmaster." Seriously? Webmaster can't use tools that make their life easier? Should we use notepad again and drop Wordpress?
- "Any calls to "offsite scripts" ( and thus the site which provides the script knows the visitor IP which calls it ) are tracking you.." Correct, that "may happen". But... what would you recommend then?

Aside from the above we need to understand that while user's privacy needs to be protected, the internet as it is now will be broken is everyone blocks ads. Love it or not, but advertisement pays the bill.
12:19 pm on Sept 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Correct, that "may happen"

No..what is correct is that that does happen ,always, 100% of the time, when an offsite script is called..they are always tracking, no "maybe"..
Should we use notepad again and drop Wordpress?

We ?
I don't use notepad ( it is a windows program, we are not all on windows ) ..and I have never, nor would I ever use wordpress..( a crutch so that people who can't code can call themselves webmasters ) I do hand code my sites,
either with gedit or brackets..
The internet will not be broken if ads go..( but a lot of the crap MFA sites will disappear , at which many of us will rejoice ) and ads do not require tracking anyway..
3:41 pm on Sept 7, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Should we use notepad again and drop Wordpress?
Ooh yes, please. Just think of all the mediocre sites that would disappear. Personally, being on a mac, I use SubEthaEdit and TextWrangler, but close enough.

We ?
I think the line you’re groping for is “Who you calling ‘we’, white man?”
1:08 am on Sept 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This is now available on Firefox 62, but not enabled by default.

It is? Where do you enable it? I need to try this out.
1:26 am on Sept 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Here you go..enjoy :)
[support.mozilla.org...]
2:59 am on Sept 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Thanks. Looks like I already had it turned on. I have so many tracking blockers I never noticed.

Better test this in a VM that doesn't have all of my settings. I can't seem to find a site where the tracking isn't blocked before it gets to the browser level. Maybe this might be good enough so that I can eliminate a few extensions.
3:13 pm on Sept 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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@bill, me too. Its not going to block much that Privacy Badger is not going to block.

Aside from the above we need to understand that while user's privacy needs to be protected, the internet as it is now will be broken is everyone blocks ads.


Business models that rely on third party ad networks will be broken.

I used to rely on Adsense income a long time ago so I understand the worry, but looking back my mistake was not moving on earlier.
5:47 pm on Sept 13, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Business models that do NOT rely on third party will continue to work just fine. Probably better. :)
 

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