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Firefox has started rolling out Total Cookie Protection, a browser feature that competes with Safari’s privacy systems by limiting cookie usage and reducing cross-site tracking.
Online user tracking is a big business for marketers, with various online trackers being used to keep tabs on a user’s browsing sessions. As data can be collected and mined for details, marketing companies can create sophisticated profiles of users online, in order to deliver highly personalized advertisements.
As part of an ongoing battle to prevent such tracking from taking place, Mozilla is rolling out a feature called Total Cookie Protection, which will be enabled by default for browser users on Mac and Windows.
Total Cookie Protection changes the way cookies are stored by using so-called “cookie boxes”, i.e. separate stores for individual websites. The website and any third-party content integrated into it will drop cookies in a cookie box associated only with this site.
Once stored, no other website can access the cookies in that particular cookie box except the originating site. Indeed, cookies prevent tracers from being able to access cookies created for other sites, greatly limiting their knowledge of the user’s online habits.
Mozilla states in a blog post that the approach “strikes the balance between eliminating the worst privacy properties of third-party cookies — particularly the ability to track you — and allowing those cookies to fulfill their use cases. the least invasive.
Total Cookie Protection is a continuation of Mozilla’s previous efforts to limit the effects of online trackers, including the introduction of Enhanced Tracking Protection in 2018 to block tracking activity.
Mozilla isn’t the only company improving privacy in its browser. Apple’s Safari has undergone many changes over the years, with changes to its Smart Tracking Prevention over time strengthening its own security for users.
These changes, which included elements to prevent collusion between trackers and significantly limit the data that could be collected, proved “incredibly effective”, according to advertising industry insiders in 2019. In March 2020, Apple implemented updated the ITP to include third party cookie blocking, among other features.
Later, Apple introduced App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14, which allowed users to significantly reduce the amount of data collected by apps for similar tracking purposes.