A Closer Look at Tracking Protection in Firefox 71

Mozilla has just released Firefox 71 for Windows, Linux, and macOS, and this new version comes with several major improvements, including the picture-in-picture video mode that is finally available on Windows.

But at the same time, this version also introduces additional tweaks to the Enhanced Tracking Protection, which is first and foremost supposed to block tracking when browsing the web with Firefox.

Mozilla is one of the companies that are trying to enhance user privacy by making trackers less effective and rendering malicious scripts useless when pages hosting them are loaded in Firefox.

Trackers not only that follow you online and collect information, but they also impact system performance and can even reduce battery life on laptops, as they run in the background and increase resource usage. Mozilla explains:

“Enhanced Tracking Protection is a collection of Firefox features that protect your privacy while you browse. It blocks many of the trackers that follow you around online to collect information about your browsing habits and interests. It also includes protections against harmful scripts, such as malware that drains your battery.”

Firefox 71 further refines this Enhanced Tracking Protection system with two important options.

First and foremost, you can configure Enhanced Tracking Protection by following this path:

Firefox > Options > Privacy & Security > Enhanced Tracking Protection

Firefox comes with three different levels:

Standard – Balanced for protection and performance; pages will load normally

Strict – Stronger protection, but may cause some sites or content to break

Custom – Choose which trackers and scripts to block

In this new Firefox version, the browser displays notifications when the application blocks cryptominers. This is without a doubt a welcome addition, especially as cryptominers become more common and users must be in the know whenever the browser blocks them.

Cryptominers are blocked in all Enhanced Tracking Protection levels, including the Standard profile.

And second of all, this update introduces a summary of the blocked trackers in the protection panel that you can access by clicking the shield icon in the address bar.

Mozilla Firefox 71

The new UI provides a closer look at the trackers on each website and also includes shortcuts to access a more detailed report, as well as to the configuration screen where you can access the full settings for Enhanced Tracking Protection.

The summary comes in handy especially when trying to quickly determine if a website runs malicious trackers or not, and the detailed reports come in handy particularly to more advanced users who want to make sure their privacy wasn’t compromised when browsing the web.

At the same time, this screen can also be useful when content on the page seems broken down, as the Strict level in Enhanced Tracking Protection could block some content from loading correctly.

“You may encounter breakage on some sites when you’re in Strict Enhanced Tracking Protection. This is because trackers are hidden in some content. For example, a website might embed an outside video or social media post that contains trackers. To block the trackers, Firefox must also block the content itself,” Mozilla explains.

The improvements here are available in all Firefox for desktop versions, including on Windows, Linux, and macOS.

Tracking protection is also bundled into other browsers, but Mozilla has so far been one of the leading companies that implemented such controls for users.

You can download Firefox for Windows, Linux, and macOS using these links and if you’re already a Firefox user, make sure that you update to the latest release to try out the improvements mentioned above. The update is also distributed via the built-in updating system.

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