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Mozilla delays plans to block third-party tracking cookies in Firefox

updated 08:48 pm EDT, Fri May 17, 2013

Step could affect web advertising

Mozilla is delaying plans to start blocking third-party tracking cookies in Firefox by default, according to an announcement. The company states that more work is needed for the anti-tracking feature. "The idea is that if you have not visited a site (including the one to which you are navigating currently) and it wants to put a cookie on your computer, the site is likely not one you have heard of or have any relationship with," explains Mozilla's Brendan Eich. "But this is only likely, not always true."

The technology Mozilla is using was developed by a Stanford law student, Jonathan Meyer, and was intended to go into Firefox 22. The possibility of false positives and negatives has postponed launch without a set deadline, but Eich does say a progress update will be delivered sometime in the next six weeks.

Some advertisers have protested Mozilla's security efforts, since third-party cookies are regularly used to track visitors to websites and/or serve custom-tailored advertising. Visiting a number of websites related to cars, for instance, might suddenly shift the ads a person sees towards ones pushing dealerships. That tracking can be considered a violation of privacy though, and some sites use cookies for more malicious purposes.

by MacNN Staff



  1. JackWebb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-31-07

    I welcome anything that helps to stop the creepiness of doing things like checking RegEx syntax quickly on a site and then visiting Amazon the next day to find 3 RegEx books recommended for me. That was in Safari with block cookies from 3rd parties and advertisers and ghostery enabled. There are other tracking mechanisms so I suspect this will be of limited use but still worthwhile. But I'm no expert.

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