Firefox: how to enable the built-in tracking protection

Just read an article on BBC News that starts of with the AdBlock Plus team winning another case in a German court (yeay) and ended with a report on how Firefox also has built-in tracking protection which -for now- is off by default and is somewhat hidden. To enable it, just open about:config and set privacy.trackingprotection.enabled to true. I disabled Ghostery for now, let’s see how how things go from here.

6 thoughts on “Firefox: how to enable the built-in tracking protection

  1. frank Post author

    Mozilla’s Monica Chew co-wrote an interesting paper about FF’s tracking protection, not only proving the positive impact on privay, but also on performance;

    Since Firefox does not download and render content from tracking domains, Tracking Protection also enjoys performance benefits of a 44% median reduction in page load time and 39% reduction in data usage in the Alexa top 200 news sites

    Reply
  2. Michael Nordmeyer

    While winning a court case about ad blocking might sound good, Adblock Plus and Eyeo, the for-profit company behind it, are even worse than obtrusive ads.

    Adblock Plus allows “acceptable ads”, which are supposed to be unobtrusive ads, for which companies have to “apply” for to get their ads “checked” for certain criteria. Then Eyeo decides which ads are acceptable and which are not.

    Adblock Plus’ website:

    […] we are being paid for support services performed for some larger entities that want to participate in the Acceptable Ads initiative.

    They act as a middleman and extort money from these companies.

    Bottom line: Adblock Plus blocks ads and asks companies to pay them for not blocking them.

    There are plenty of alternatives like Adblock (without the plus), uBlock, Disconnect or Ghostery.

    Reply
    1. frank Post author

      Although I don’t like the “acceptable ads”-idea myself, I don’t think this makes Eyeo even worse than obtrusive ads really; their policy about what consititutes “acceptable” is pretty clear, users can disable them and their business model may seem slightly shadey but I feel it is more or less acceptable.

      I have myself switched to uBlock a couple of days ago, but not because of the “acceptable ads” (which I indeed disabled a long time ago) but because of the promise of the smaller memory footprint. Ghostery is nice as well, but I disabled it when enabling FF’s own tracking protection.

      Reply
      1. Michael Nordmeyer

        I also use uBlock because of the memory footprint.

        I still use Ghostery, because it enables me to see easily what kind of resources are blocked. I’d like to see what the current state of tracking is. And I think the privacy focus of Ghostery might give it an edge over uBlock, whose focus is adblocking. Also uBlock doesn’t show me which resources were blocked.

        Sometimes I have to unblock resources if I go to the website where the resources are located. E.g. if you block New Relic but are a user yourself you won’t see any CSS on the New Relic page, which in turn renders it unusable. And Ghostery allows me to unblock a single resource for just this domain.

        Firefox’s tracking protection uses Disconnect’s tracking list. I found Disconnect to be inferior to Ghostery. It removed less tracking but broke more sites.

      2. frank Post author

        I also disabled 3rd party cookies and even use noscript (i’m a freak like that). there’s not a lot of wiggle-room for trackers here ;-)

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