Mozilla is adding new privacy features to Firefox Focus on Android, announcing on Tuesday that it is introducing “Total Cookie Protection” to the platform as a way to stop cookies from tracking you across the web.
Mozilla told ZDNet that the tool’s goal is to combat cross-site tracking, which allows companies to monitor what websites users visit and what products they search for.
“Have you ever signed up for a contest to win a big-screen TV or a vacation to an exotic location? Or have you joined a big retailer loyalty program so you can save money? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may be exchanging your name, home address, email address, phone number, and sometimes even your birthdate to companies who are building your profile with the information you freely provide,” Mozilla explained.
“Companies use those profiles to help them make ads that are targeted at convincing you to purchase, like resurfacing an item you were shopping for. When you go online, there are similar tactics that work behind the scenes to gather information about you and your browsing behavior and track you when you go from site to site.”
Mozilla first announced “Total Cookie Protection” last year and said Firefox Focus on Android will be the first Firefox mobile browser to have it.
“Total Cookie Protection” is part of a larger set of privacy features that Mozilla calls Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP).
The “Total Cookie Protection” feature effectively creates separate “cookie jars” for all the websites you visit, confining the cookies a website deposits in your browser to a jar assigned specifically to that website.
“This way, no other websites can reach into the cookie jars that don’t belong to them and find out what the other websites’ cookies know about you. Now, you can say good-bye to those annoying ads following you and reduce the amount of information that companies gather about you whenever you go online,” Mozilla said.
The company is also giving Android users of Firefox Focus access to SmartBlock and other privacy features, which Mozilla said help “fix issues related to Total Cookie Protection and other pro-privacy measures.”
The additional features are needed because some websites host content on other servers, and if the expected cookies are not sent to those servers because of Total Cookie Protection, some content will not appear.
“With a simple workaround, we can allow these maps to appear, without disabling any pro-privacy measures, while still giving sites time to come up with a proper fix,” Mozilla explained.
“And for users who opt into stricter tracking protection, SmartBlock also provides replacements for commonly-blocked trackers, keeping websites working. These replacements are bundled with Firefox, minimizing the risk of any tracking taking place.”