New Feature Makes Firefox a Strong Choice for Data Privacy

Firefox has launched a new feature that aims to better protect users’ data privacy. Total Cookie Protection is an add-on for their Enhanced Tracking Protection mode included in the latest update to the browser, Firefox 86. 

The company has been increasingly focused on preventing cookies from tracking users’ internet browsing activities. Firefox has previously been classified as “middle tier” in terms of privacy. It’s generally considered better than Microsoft Edge, for example, but not as good as Brave browser for protecting your data. 

Will the new update change that? Probably not completely, but it could help. People who work from home, or manage businesses, should take note of the feature.

First it’s important to clarify what cookies are. These pieces of data are stored on your web browser after you visit a site. Cookies allow sites to remember information and track your data. Think of when your computer remembers your birthdate or address for form fields — that’s because of cookies. They’re useful, but also potentially harmful for your privacy and security. 

Normally, web browsers allow different sites to share cookies with each other. It allows for comprehensive commercial tracking, and permits advertising companies to build detailed personal profiles of its users. For obvious reasons, many of the actors with access to significant access to your data can’t be trusted.

Here’s how Total Cookie Protection works: With Firefox’s new feature, each site is given its own “Cookie Jar,” so that data can’t be shared between sites. 

As Firefox explained in their announcement blog, “We wanted to take protections to the next level and create even more comprehensive protections against cookie-based tracking to ensure that no cookies can be used to track you from site to site as you browse the web.”

Note that the feature isn’t activated by default. You can activate it by changing Enhanced Privacy Protection from standard to strict. This may cause problems or even break certain sites that rely on trackers.

Should You Switch to Firefox?

If privacy is your biggest concern, and you’re already using Brave Browser, we think you should stick with it. Despite the occasional bug, we still think it’s the best browser for data privacy. 

But if you’ve been using Firefox, give the new feature a try. Keep in mind, Firefox is no privacy slouch. TCP follows on the heels of a few other default settings — like blocking third-party tracking cookies and browser fingerprinting technologies — the browser has adopted over the last couple of years. 

If you’re in charge of a business, know that it’s more important than ever to secure your company’s data. Since companies moved to work from home last year, many have opened themselves up to new cybersecurity threats. A poll from 2020 found that nearly a quarter of businesses had to pay unexpected expenses related to a malware attack or data breach.

So Firefox or not, now is a great time to revisit your data privacy, and think about how much you’re sharing with anonymous actors who may not have your best interest at heart.