large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Firefox is about to take a big step forwards in protecting your privacy

Although it’s been available as an option for years, Firefox will soon block ad trackers by default, in a move that will have large implications for protecting your privacy online. 

Ad trackers work by using cookies, and allow sites to personalise the ads that they show you, theoretically making them more relevant to you and thus encourage you to actually buy something.

So if you’ve ever browsed for a new mattress only to find yourself being advertised mattresses by every site you visit on the web, then you’ve got ad trackers to thank.

Although it sounds pretty innocuous, ad trackers are one of those things that can build to a degree where it feels pretty invasive, especially as we spend more and more of our time online and sites build a more and more detailed picture of who we are.

However, on a practical level they can also slow down how quickly pages load.

Mozilla, the developer of Firefox, is planning on rolling out the tracker blocking incrementally. If you’re using a ‘Nightly’ build then you should be able to block trackers that severely slow down a page’s loading time. If this test proves successful, then these trackers will be blocked by default in Firefox 63.

Then, in Firefox 65, the browser will start blocking all third-party cookies by default — subsequent to Mozilla’s tests going well.

Related: Best web browser

Privacy comes to the fore

Mozilla isn’t the only browser developer to have focussed on the privacy-endangering aspects of ad-tracking recently.

Back in June, Apple announced that the next version of its Safari browser would explicitly ask for your consent when it detected a website trying to access your browser cookies or other data.

Meanwhile, if you’re a Chrome user then you can similarly blocker trackers by installing an extension such as Privacy Badger or Ghostery.

Mozilla’s move is a welcome one in a world where we’re slowly waking up to the amount of data we’re happily giving away online. The big question is whether it’s a big enough worry for people to take action.

Do you agree with the use of ad trackers? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have 9 million users a month around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.