It’s been several weeks since I was promoted to Senior Vice President of Firefox, responsible for overall Firefox product and web platform development. As a long-time employee with 10+ years, I’ve seen a lot of things within the tech industry from data breaches, net neutrality and the rise and fall of tech companies. I believe that Firefox has and will continue to make a big impact in building the necessary protections to keep people safe online.
This past year, we’ve seen tech companies talk a big game about privacy as they’re realizing that, after several global scandals, people feel increasingly vulnerable. It’s unfortunate that this shift had to happen in order for tech companies to take notice. At Firefox, we’re doing more than that. We believe that in order to truly protect people, we need to establish a new standard that puts people’s privacy first. At Firefox, we have been working on setting this standard by offering privacy-related features, like Tracking Protection in Private Browsing, long before these issues were brought to light. With this new, increased awareness for privacy, we feel that the time is right for the next step in stronger online protections for everyone.
Last year, we announced our new approach to anti-tracking, and our commitment to help people stay safe whenever they used Firefox. One of those initiatives outlined was to block cookies from known third party trackers in Firefox. Today, Firefox will be rolling out this feature, Enhanced Tracking Protection, to all new users on by default, to make it harder for over a thousand companies to track their every move. Additionally, we’re updating our privacy-focused features including an upgraded Facebook Container extension, a Firefox desktop extension for Lockwise, a way to keep their passwords safe across all platforms, and Firefox Monitor’s new dashboard to manage multiple email addresses.
Enhanced Tracking Protection blocks sites from tracking you
For new users who install and download Firefox for the first time, Enhanced Tracking Protection will automatically be set on by default as part of the ‘Standard’ setting in the browser and will block known “third-party tracking cookies” according to the Disconnect list. We talk more about tracking cookies here. Enhanced Tracking Protection will be practically invisible to you and you’ll only notice that it’s operating when you visit a site and see a shield icon in the address bar next to the URL address and the small “i” icon. When you see the shield icon, you should feel safe that Firefox is blocking thousands of companies from your online activity.
For those who want to see which companies we block, you can click on the shield icon, go to the Content Blocking section, then Cookies. It should read Blocking Tracking Cookies. Then, click on the arrow on the right hand side, and you’ll see the companies listed as third party cookies and trackers that Firefox has blocked. If you want to turn off blocking for a specific site, click on the Turn off Blocking for this Site button.
For existing users, we’ll be rolling out Enhanced Tracking Protection by default in the coming months without you having to change a thing. If you can’t wait, you can turn this feature on by clicking on the menu icon marked by three horizontal lines at the top right of your browser, then under Content Blocking. Go to your privacy preferences and click on the Custom gear on the right side. Mark the Cookies checkbox and make sure that “Third-party trackers” is selected. To learn more about our privacy and security settings and get more detail on what each section – Standard, Strict, and Custom – includes, visit here.
Latest Facebook Container blocks tracking from other sites
Earlier this year, Mozilla was honored as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company. Notably our Facebook Container extension played a big role in getting us selected. With more than two million downloads since it launched, our Facebook Container is an add-on/web extension that helps you take control and isolate your web activity from Facebook (i.e. following and tracking you across the web). Today, we’re releasing the latest update for Facebook Container which prevents Facebook from tracking you on other sites that have embedded Facebook capabilities such as the Share and Like buttons on their site.
For example, when you are on a news site and reading an article, you often see Facebook Like and Share buttons. Our Facebook Container will block these buttons and all connections to Facebook’s servers, so that Facebook isn’t able to track your visits to these sites. This blocking makes it much harder for Facebook to build shadow profiles of non-Facebook users. You will know the blocking is in effect when you see the Facebook Container purple fence badge.
To add the latest Facebook Container Add-On, visit here.
Meet Firefox Lockwise: Manage Your Passwords Safely and Take them Everywhere
Last Summer, we brought you Firefox Lockbox for iOS, and in March of this year we announced both Firefox Lockbox for Android and an iPad-optimized version to expand the ecosystem. One of the top most requested features from users was to find a way to manage their passwords. Today, we are rolling out a Firefox desktop extension that offers this feature and completes this product family we are now calling Firefox Lockwise.
As part of the Firefox Lockwise product suite, formerly known as Firefox Lockbox, the desktop extension will give you more control over your stored passwords with shared access from every device. With the new desktop extension, Firefox Lockwise will provide an additional touchpoint to store, edit and access your passwords. The extension provides an enhanced experience for your saved logins, which will allow you to more easily manage and interact with your stored passwords in Firefox. You will notice a seamless integrated experience in Firefox when you move from desktop to mobile, with a similar layout of key features for easy navigation and access, and easy access to your logins and passwords.
The new Firefox Lockwise desktop extension includes:
- Manage your saved list of passwords – The new dashboard interface makes it simple to update and manage your saved list. If you’re no longer frequenting a site, you can easily delete your saved password. And for the sites you access frequently, you can quickly reference and edit what is being stored, thus giving you an easy way to take control of your online privacy.
- Access your passwords anywhere – Whether you’re shopping for shoes on your desktop or purchasing them on-the-go from your favorite site, Firefox Lockwise has you covered. Both the mobile app and desktop extension can help you quickly retrieve your password to access your site account, no matter which device you’re on to take advantage of member discounts or free shipping.
Firefox Monitor adds dashboard to manage multiple email addresses
Since the launch of Firefox Monitor, a free service that notifies you when your email has been part of a data breach, more than 635,000 people have signed up for alerts. Users have been checking multiple personal email addresses on Monitor since launch, and the ability to easily manage multiple accounts has been a top, frequently requested feature. Today we’re launching a central dashboard to help you track and manage multiple email addresses, whether it’s your personal email accounts or ones for professional use.
Through the breach dashboard, you’ll receive a quick summary of updates for all registered email accounts. You’ll be able to easily identify which emails are being monitored, how many known data breaches may have exposed your information, and specifically, if any passwords have been leaked across those breaches. Adding a new email address to your existing Firefox Monitor account is simple, and whether you’re managing one – or multiple – new email accounts, you will be able to select a primary email address to serve as the hub for all notifications and alerts. We added a safety measure to ensure that all email addresses are verified by email before they are activated.
Being part of a data breach is not fun, but keeping track of and knowing where your private information may have been made public is one of the first steps in taking control of your online privacy.
We invite you to check out the new breach dashboard on Firefox Monitor!