December 1, 2020

Firefox’s ‘Nuclear First Strike’ Against One Industry

firefox blocking thrid party cookiesMountain View, California–The Mozilla Corporation or MoCo, the entity behind the open-source web browser Firefox, is set to change a long-standing trend of the internet. While users might well embrace the move, even cheer the strategy implementation, there’s one particular industry that isn’t very thrilled about the upcoming sea-change.

The supporter and aggregator of the third most popular web browser, behind Windows’ Internet Explorer and Google’s Chrome, respectively, has announced that Firefox 22 will be released this summer with an automatic new feature built-in to its software interface designed to shield its users with an extra layer of privacy when cyber surfing.

Beginning with version 22, the Firefox browser will automatically block third-party cookies, a move intended to benefit end-users but might well strike a blow to the advertising industry. “The default Firefox cookie policy will, beginning with release 22, more closely reflect user privacy preferences,” wrote Jonathan Mayer in a blog post. Mayer, a Stanford University graduate student in computer science and law, is one of two researchers who developed the upcoming HTTP header implementation which will signal users’ “No Dot Track” preferences.

Cookies, which are bits of data that track a user’s browsing session on particular sites, are supposed to enhance the experience by remembering past activity. However, over time, third-party cookies, developed after first-party browsing cookies, have come to be used most often by advertisers.

Information about a user’s browsing habits and site visits are sent to advertisers through third-party cookies, allowing them to more accurately target individual preferences. Version 22 of Firefox would block those data grabbers automatically. “Firefox to block 3rd party cookies? This default setting would be a nuclear first strike against ad industry,” Mike Zaneis posted on Twitter, the general counsel for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

Currently, only Safari, a browser capturing less than 10 percent of the market share, automatically blocks third-party cookies. Windows IE, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox all have manual controls which allow users to accept or block third-party cookies.

Some experts caution against the move as it could jeopardize Mozilla’s revenue stream enormously as Google pays it nearly $300 million per year to set its default search engine to Big G.

Owen E. Richason IV

Covers social media, apps, search and like news. History buff, movie and theme park lover. Blessed dad and husband. Owen is also a musician and is the founder of Groove Modes.          

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