News

POV: Firefox Anti-Tracking Feature

Background:

Firefox recently announced it will further protect user privacy by blocking tracking by default in version 63 of the browser launching October 23rd, giving users more control over what information they choose to share.

Details and Implications:

Firefox is the latest browser to start blocking third-party tracking by default through a three-part initiative:

Page Load Performance: Third-party tracking often slows down the web. According to Mozilla, 55.4% of total load time of an average web page was spent loading third party trackers. Firefox’s new feature will block slow-loading trackers by default, allowing for faster page load times.

Cross-site Tracking: Already available for testing is Firefox Nightly, a new feature that will strip cookies and block storage access from third-parties. This denies third-parties from following users as they shop online and retargeting them.

Mitigating Harmful Practices: New versions of Firefox will automatically block tracking practices like fingerprinting; a method that allows the identification of users by the settings of their device without being known, which users can’t control.  Crypto mining scripts, that silently mine cryptocurrencies on the user’s device, will also be blocked.

Firefox is just the latest to roll out features designed to protect a user’s privacy. Apple’s Safari also introduced a measure called Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) in September last year and recently issued an update, ITP 2.0, which will eliminate third-party cookies for remarketing and measurement (meaning that anyone who doesn’t leverage a cookie-less solution, e.g. mobile device IDs, will be impacted). You can read more about Safari’s anti-tracking features in the recent Mindshare POV here.


In response to the ITP 2.0 measures, Google issued advice to help users of the Google Marketing Platform technology stack continue to track Safari users, encouraging upgrades to their new site-wide tracking solutions, such as gtag.js and Google Tag Manager which allows Google to set first-party cookies, so marketers can measure conversions in a way that is consistent with the prior recommendations for ad attribution.
 

Summary:

Global Browser Market Share Stats, August 2018:

Chrome                Safari                     UC Browser        Firefox                  Opera                   IE

59.69%                 14.49%                  6.27%                 4.93%                   3.52%                   3.04%

Anti-tracking programs and features are growing at a great pace, so much so that 20% of the world’s internet browsers now won’t track third-party cookies by this winter, heightening the need for cookie-less solutions. The anti-tracking trend will push advertisers to target users more creatively and transparently, while being compliant with new privacy laws and cookie-less solutions will be high in demand.


Further Reading:

Engadget / Mozilla / The VergeWebKit