Apps and Software Guide
Firefox to Begin Blocking Third Party Cookies
Firefox may be losing ground to other browsers like Chrome, but here's another reason why you should stay with Firefox. According to The Verge, the upcoming build 22 of Firefox will feature a patch that blocks third party cookies by default.
This means first party websites that you visit can deposit cookies into your system, but third party cookies like those from advertisers that track your online habits, are blocked from your system.
Firefox currently has a "do not track" extension that sends "do not track" requests to websites, but there are websites that ignore those requests, and leave a cookie behind anyway.
If you don't already know, cookies are files that store information like passwords, logs and other miscellaneous data sent from a website and stored in your system. This enables websites to quickly retrieve information about you the next time you visit.
Tracking cookies and third party cookies are commonly used by advertisers to compile information about a user's browsing habits. The information then leads to targeted advertising. Privacy advocates argue that such an action is a direct invasion of privacy, and they might be right.
However, there are proponents from the advertising sector, who argue that advertising revenue from such actions, subsidizes most of the free content you see online today. In fact, Google's (majority of its revenue is from advertising) Chrome allows cookies of all types by default.
"Behavioral advertising that tracks Web users so as to deliver relevant advertising to them is a service in which 'everyone wins,'" said Daniel Castro senior analyst at the ITIF, added. "Ad-supported websites increase their revenue, users receive fewer irrelevant ads and more free content, and advertisers get to be in front of their target audiences."
According to PC World, Firefox users can install add-ons like Ghostery that lets them see just which websites are trying to track them, and block them as well. Ghostery is also available for Chrome browsers.