11.02.2017

Mozilla Firefox to Stop Browser Fingerprinting

Firefox Borrows Privacy Feature From Tor Project


In its latest effort to protect users’ privacy, the Mozilla Foundation intends to block canvas fingerprinting in their upcoming Firefox version 58. Canvas fingerprinting uses the HTML5 framework to identify users by a browser’s unique characteristics. Rather than the familiar browser cookies, websites are able to examine installed fonts, widgets and other identifiers to track someone across the web.

Mozilla Firefox will be the first major browser to allow users to block browser fingerprinting. Rather than tracking users by default, Mozilla will make it so that users have to opt in to tracking and data sharing with websites.

"Even if a browser fingerprint can’t be used for tracking, other available information such as your IP address and stored cookies provide other means of tracking."

A step toward privacy is a step in the right direction, but experts believe it is not enough. Even if a browser fingerprint can’t be used for tracking, other available information such as your IP address and stored cookies provide other means of tracking. There is also the constant evolving nature of tracking techniques, which will force the Mozilla Foundation to make this an ongoing effort.

This new feature is the latest addition from Mozilla’s Tor Uplift Project. Tor is a Firefox-based web browser which uses layers of encryption and redirection to hide users’ identities. 

Typically features make their way from Firefox to Tor, but the Tor Uplift project hopes to borrow some of Tor’s privacy features for Firefox. But for now, Tor will remain the more secure browser option for the most privacy minded individuals.

Firefox 58 is slated for launch in January 2018. Any users who’d like to more about browser fingerprinting can look at their browser fingerprint here.