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Mozilla will block third party cookies in Firefox

Starting with Firefox 22
Tue Feb 26 2013, 10:21

SOFTWARE OUTFIT Mozilla will start automatically blocking third party cookies with Firefox 22.

This means that the Firefox web browser will only accept cookies from websites that you choose to visit, and none of the other associated third party advertising cookies that want to tag along and track your identity. Apple's web browser Safari is already doing this. Internet Explorer and Chrome are not.

"Many years of observing Safari's approach to third party cookies, a rapidly expanding number of third party companies using cookies to track users, and strong user support for more control is driving our decision to move forward with this patch," said Alex Fowler, who leads privacy and public policy for Mozilla.

In his own experiments Fowler found that not adopting the new settings opened his computer to 385 first and third party cookies. Under the proposed new default, available through a new Settings page, this is cut down to 75 first party cookies only.


This is new for Mozilla and the feature is in the most recent beta of its browser. However Fowler is chomping at the bit and cannot wait to see it implemented.

"Mozilla's users frequently express concerns about web tracking, and we've been listening. We are constantly challenging ourselves to deliver a browser that conforms to user expectations while facilitating online innovation," he said.

"We regularly review community and partner input, web standards, extensions, practices by other browsers, and much more. The new third party cookie patch in Firefox is just another example of those efforts."

Jonathan Mayer, the security researcher that offered the patch, said that he plans to increase the cookie policing approach to "other storage technologies", mentioning the example of HTML5 web storage. There is also the possibility of relaxing the cookie acceptance rules for websites that support the Do Not Track industry effort.

Mayer describes the presently available Firefox cookie settings as a "relaxed" version of those found on Safari. µ


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