In a major change from standard online operating procedure, the Mozilla Foundation has announced it will soon by defaults turn off all third-party tracking in its signature web browser, Firefox. Mozilla vice president of Firefox product Nick Nguyen writes in a blog post:
“In the physical world, users wouldn’t expect hundreds of vendors to follow them from store to store, spying on the products they look at or purchase. Users have the same expectations of privacy on the web, and yet in reality, they are tracked wherever they go. Most web browsers fail to help users get the level of privacy they expect and deserve.”
The Internet is loaded with programs that track users. A study from the University of Washington in 2016 showed that at least 75 percent of the world’s 500 most popular websites contain web trackers. A study from 2017 by Ghostery, an add-on extension to Firefox that blocks trackers, showed that ten or more trackers that collect personal data were found on 21.3 percent of the sites analyzed in their study. The two companies doing the most tracking were found to be Google and Facebook.
All these trackers affect user experience, too, adding to load time to pages. According to Ghostery, 55.4 percent of the total time required to load an average website was spent loading third party trackers.
The Internet was not always like this. Only 5 percent of the Internet’s most popular sites had trackers in 1998, for example. When asked about sites that did not have trackers, “said at the time. “If you’ve ever been to it, it’s almost like a website from the 1990s, just a bunch of hyperlinks.”would fall in that category,” Ghostery’s Jeremy Tillman
Ngyuen appears to have been focused on tracking since his return to the nonprofit in 2015. Speaking in a company interview last year, he said, ““When you think about who’s building browsers, everyone else is actually in the business of monetizing the traffic’s tracks. As a browser backed by a non-profit company, can give you a more useful web that’s more fun and more discoverable.”
In the present, Ngyuen says that in September the nonprofit will add “a new feature in Firefox Nightly that blocks trackers that slow down page load.”If that performs well, it will be added to Firefox 63, which is expected to arrive on October 23.
Source: The Verge