Firefox to offer "Tracking Protection" by default

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The Mozilla Corporation urges you to hand them all your personal data for your "convenience" because handing all your password over to them is such "convenient". Having actual privacy-tools would be preferable to remote-control capabilities, telemetry and other spyware present in modern Firefox versions.

This short statement is hidden in the release-notes for Firefox 67[1]:

"Firefox will now protect you against running older versions of the browser which can lead to data corruption and stability issues"

Firefox 67 release-notes

What this really means is that Mozilla can now remotely deactivate your browser if they do not like some extension you installed or some website you regularly visit.

Seasoned Firefox users already know you have to type in the special URL about:config and disable toolkit.telemetry.enabled as well as extensions.pocket.enabled to avoid some of the built-in Firefox spyware.

In a blog-post dated June 4 2019 Mozilla asset Chris Beard brags about a Firefox's "Enhanced Tracking Protection" being enabled by default in future versions:

"To better equip people to navigate the internet today, we’ve built the latest version of our flagship Firefox browser with Enhanced Tracking Protection on by default. These protections work in the background, blocking third-parties from tracking your online activity while increasing the speed of the browser."

Mozilla asset Chris Beard in a advertisement post on June 4th, 2019 [2]

That's nice, but if you read further the sinister truth is revealed:

"By creating a Firefox account you can increase convenience while decreasing your exposure to some harmful parts of the web. An account unlocks the full potential of tools like Lockwise, which securely manages passwords, and Monitor, a service that notifies you when your email has been part of a known data breach."

Mozilla asset Chris Beard in a advertisement post on June 4th, 2019

Mozilla wants your passwords. And they want you to blindly give them up for your "convenience". We advice against doing so. It's simply an example of the "surveillance tactics" Mozilla claims to "combat".

Here's an idea for Mozilla: Stop pushing telemetry and other spyware-features. Stop building back-doors which be abused to remotely disable people's browsers for any or no reason into your software. And stop taking away actual useful privacy-related features. Firefox used to have a very handy cookie-inspector some versions ago. You could go to the preferences and choose Manage data and right-click on the list of cookies set by various sites and see the specific cookies content. Now it's only possible to view how many cookies a site has set. Actually free browsers like Konqueror and Falkon allow you to inspect cookies and their content, expatriation time and so on - why is it no longer possible to do this in Firefox?

The anti-tracking "protection" breaks general.useragent.override in case you were wondering why it no longer works. A part of the new Firefox "anti-tracking" is a general user-agent identification as Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; rv:60.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/60.0. If you would like to identify as Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 12_3_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/605.1.15 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/12.1.1 Mobile/15E148 Safari/604.1 to see what your site's mobile version looks like then you're out of luck. Firefox's preferences has a dialog box for "exceptions" to the anti-tracking but there's no way to add any. It's possible to set privacy.resistFingerprinting to false and still over-ride user-agent.

Why do Mozilla think removing features and settings is a good way to go? Why are users not even allowed to do something as basic as disabling JavaScript in Firefox's settings? That's one efficient way to disable 99% of all web tracking. It's still possible to add this feature with the NoScript extension and it is still possible to get great content filtering and tracker protection by installing uBlock Origin. Chromium will remove support for uBlock Origin too. We do wonder if Firefox will follow suit or not. We are not impressed with their privacy-enhancing "efforts" thus far, quote the opposite. Please surprise us by ensuring actual privacy-enhancing software like uBlock Origin keeps on working in future versions. And don't bother trying to disable my Firefox because I wrote this piece, I'm not using it.

notes


last edited 2019-06-06


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