HOWTO harden Firefox for privacy

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Mozilla Firefox was a light-weight browser for speed, security and privacy when it was released in 2004. It gradually got less and less privacy-focused. Many privacy-aware people consider it's modern out-of-the-box configuration to be pure spyware.

Settings you probably want to tweak[edit]

There are settings you can change to make Firefox slightly less botnet on a special configuration page you can get to by entering about:config in the URL bar. Consider changing the following keys found there:

value function default recommended
privacy.resistFingerprinting activates the anti-fingerprinting code used by the Tor browser false true
toolkit.telemetry.enabled informs the botnet of your activites on some distributions it's removed entirely, on some it's set to true false
browser.search.suggest.enabled sends everything you type in the URL bar and search-box true false
extensions.pocket.enabled Enables some botnet thing true false

Some of these items warrant some further elaboration. Some, like toolkit.telemetry.enabled, do not. It's all bad and there's no upside.

browser.search.suggest.enabled[edit]

Noticed how you can type in a few letters and by magic get a full search-term matching suggested? Every letter you enter into the search-box is sent to a search-engine which sends responses back. This can be useful and you may want to have this feature. However, you should know that if you go to some website directly by typing in the URL you're sharing that fact.

Change your search-engine (to a searx instance)[edit]

Go to Preferences and Search and choose Add search bar in toolbar. You need this. You can just type in whatever keywords you want in the navigation bar when you search. However, if you go to a search-engine or website - like this one - you can click the magnifying-glass icon in the search-box and add the site to your list of search-engines.

With the search-box you can go to asciimoos list of Public Searx instances on github and pick one you like and add it. You can then go back to Preferences, Search and make it the default. Finding a good searx metasearch-engine that works well may take a bit of effort, some are slower than others. They also tend to slow down as they become popular.