Mozilla is making Firefox a more private experience by taking cues from Tor, the browser of choice for those who dare to visit the dark web.
The non-profit Mozilla Foundation will remove a âfeatureâ called canvas fingerprinting from Firefox, which allows user-tracking across multiple sites without cookies, in itâs upcoming build. Itâll do this by imitating Tor, which was built on modified Firefox code and already blocks tracking.
Canvas fingerprinting, which happens in every major browser, lets websites extrapolate your data â without asking permission â by tracking you across multiple sites with an amalgam of unique identifiers. This method doesnât require you to carry any tokens or accept a cookie.
This is great for advertisers and websites, but anyone opposed to having their data commoditized without being asked first may take exception.
Mozilla doesnât appear to care if advertisers make money, or if Facebookâs AI can figure out which ads youâre most likely to respond to, or if itâs making enemies in the FCC.
The developers and artists at the Foundation working both directly on Firefox, and indirectly on other projects, all appear to share a common goal to get people aware of whatâs happening with their own data, and empower them to gain control over how itâs used.
Aside from bringing casual users one step closer to actual online anonymity with the next set of upgrades planned for Firefox, Mozilla developers also create tools to help us get control of our data, or at least show us how much is out there.
One such tool is Data Selfie, created by Mozilla FellowÂ Hang Do Thi Duc, which gives you a clear picture of the kind of information youâre giving to Facebook. Speaking to TNW, she said:
Itâs a self reflection tool. Iâm giving a lot away, it made me realize even more that Facebook was collecting all of this information about me and creating this image of who I was.
Brett Gaylor, a film director and activist working with Mozilla, continued:
Absolutely, I agree. The assumption it makes about my character â I didnât volunteer that information. So itâs really fascinating to see the portrait Facebook is painting of me.
One of his projects, Do Not Track, also tries to help people understand the vast reality of how much information weâre really putting out there. Itâs an interactive documentary that explains how internet tracking works by using your own browsing history as an example.
Talking with the talent at Mozilla makes it apparent, thereâs a culture of âscrew the status quoâ â my words â that makes it a little easier to trust the Foundationâs ambition. They believe we need a âgrassroots movement in order to save the internetâ â their words.
The foundation doesnât have to worry about bottom-lines or quarterly profits in the way corporations do, and that gives them room to experiment in clicktivism.
â Mozilla (@mozilla) May 24, 2017
We need people like Hang Do Thi Duc and Brett Gaylor, and the rest of the Mozilla team, working to keep corporations from exploiting our privacy or governments from destroying the freedom we have on the internet.
The new version of Firefox will be out in January, and we can certainly assume itâll be free.