If You Haven’t Already Switched To Firefox, Do It Now

from Fast Company

This week, Mozilla announced that its browser Firefox will start blocking all cross-site third-party trackers–the cookies hiding in the background that follow your clicks across the web, reporting your activity to advertisers as you move between websites.

Including these settings, by default, is the best way to protect users from inadvertently giving third parties data about users’ behavior. Just as people tend not to read long privacy policies, they also shouldn’t be expected to change the settings to disable third-party trackers on every single site they visit. As Mozilla’s head of product strategy Nick Nguyen writes on the Mozilla blog, “In the physical world, users wouldn’t expect hundreds of vendors to follow them from store to store, spying on the products they look at or purchase. Users have the same expectations of privacy on the web, and yet in reality, they are tracked wherever they go.” Trackers instituted by the site you’re visiting will remain in place.

Trackers don’t just track you–they also slow download times for websites. Mozilla cites a study by the ad-blocker Ghostery, which found that 55% of the time required to load a website is spent loading third-party trackers. Without these trackers, sites will load faster, making the overall user experience better. Mozilla will be testing how much blocking trackers impact load times in September–if its approach to blocking trackers does reduce load times, it will roll out the same technology to the regular Firefox browser later this year. If you’re interested in trying it out now, you can download Firefox Nightly to see how the features work.

More here.

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23 Responses to If You Haven’t Already Switched To Firefox, Do It Now

  1. Alexis Job September 7, 2018 at 1:08 pm #

    The increase in the number of websites that asked permission to use cookies made me question what all of this data is used for. As time went on, sites would automatically default to using cookies and provide a note saying that cookies are being used instead of asking first. Despite constantly following the rules of the internet, constantly being watched online is discomforting.

  2. Alex Fialkowsky September 7, 2018 at 2:02 pm #

    The fight for educator’s rights is one of the fastest growing issues in America today, and most people are aware of it due to the volume of the population that are tied to the subject in one way or another. For example, relatives of educators or students, students and educators themselves, and even those on the other side of the fight, politicians. This means that most people have an opinion on this topic. The two main arguments that arise are either for or against teachers unions. Those who are for them believe that unions help teachers who may be underpaid, have a lack of benefits, or are facing unfair scrutiny from their school. Those who are against feel that unions are a conglomerate of people who are selfishly seeking benefit for themselves with no regard for their work, or others. It is unfair to say that either argument is truly right, because there have been instances where teacher’s rights were violated due to a lack of a union and there has been instances of teachers who are in fact in unions abusing their privileges and not caring enough about their students.
    The teacher strikes across the nation show that change is inevitable. The two most likely outcomes of the strikes are as follows; Either the teachers on strike will have their demands met and the situation will be resolved in that particular area, or the administration will act like any other business would and fire the teachers, and find people who will work for their conditions. The problem with both of these is that they both will result in worse issues further down the line. If there is no fair, and equal way to solve this problem for the whole nation, the dispute will never end. It is true that education is a state-by-state issue. But if there were a way for all 50 states to agree on a fair policy for both educators and administration, we would finally have salvation. I understand that is a very tall order especially for the United States Government, but it may be the only viable long-term solution.
    In my opinion, I feel that the whole issue is in fact from a lack of uniformity throughout the nation in regards to teacher’s wages, benefits, etc. It is completely unfair for a teacher in Camden, New Jersey to make a small percentage of what a teacher in Franklin Lakes earns for basically the same job just because of the difference in taxes. It is a fact that poorer areas pay fewer taxes, therefore, have less money for education in that area. The teacher’s union may solve the dispute on a state wide level, assuming that nobody abuses or violates rights, but it may not resolve the problem for the whole nation. For example, if the New York Teacher’s Union grants a month of paid vacation and extensive health benefits, while the union in Pennsylvania receives less than half of these benefits, there would be an outcry of jealousy. Teachers would opt to move to a state with a more ideal union, and if this were done in large masses, would result in a surplus of educators in some states, and a shortage in others. I feel that a national standard for educators is necessary because the amount of care and effort we put into them, is the amount they will hopefully return to their students. School has become a business in the United States and I cannot stand it. People have a right to an education so that they can have the tools to thrive and succeed. If we strip them of that, or require them to pay ridiculous amounts in taxes or tuition, the result will be wealthier educators, and more impoverished, uneducated people.

  3. Brandon Ruiz September 7, 2018 at 5:09 pm #

    To think that something is tracking you is in itself pretty scary. In normal circumstances people tracking others is illegal, but online it is perfectly fine for third-party-trackers to track your clicks across the web. I had no idea that trackers existed online before I read this article. The idea that they spy on you essentially and then report your web activity to advertisers as you click on different types of sites is concerning. This is a total invasion of people’s privacy and many people are completely unaware that it is happening. In order to block third-party-trackers today a person has to go and intentionally change the settings on their web browser. It should be obvious that people do not want to be tracked in any type of way. Therefore web browsers should automatically block third-party-trackers, but they don’t. Mozilla is making an effort to work towards that becoming a reality by exploring the possibility of adding that feature to their Firefox browser.
    Due to the fact that Mozilla added this feature to their browser I do think that everyone should download and use it over any other web browser available. I am actually going to download it onto my computer right after I finish this assignment. The fact that a browser cares about the protection of your privacy and has faster load times due to loading pages without third party trackers watching you. Mozilla is also making the ad blocking feature on their browser automatically activated by default whenever anybody uses it. Therefore if someone uses Firefox they won’t have to go into their settings in order to block people from tracking them. That should have been made a universal feature across browsers already, but Firefox is breaking this mold and informing people about third-party-trackers.
    It is important that everyone becomes informed of the fact they are tracked whenever they use the internet. Most of the people in the world use the internet. That means that third-party-trackers are essentially spying on everyone in the world without their knowledge. The culture around the internet needs to change in order to protect people’s privacy, make load times faster, and to create a better overall experience for those using the internet.

  4. Petar Micevski September 7, 2018 at 6:02 pm #

    Yes, technology is the biggest factor when it comes to the future. However, it amazes me to this day that people who let technology become such a big part of their lives never put in the time to understand how it all works. After doing some personal digging into this question, I have learned how easy it is to corrupt what most people call privacy on the internet. Using cookies to track user data has been an ongoing thing throughout all media platforms and servers. It is through cookies and user tracking that makes Amazon recommends the next item for you to buy. It is also through cookies and tracking that certain clothing stores such as Macy’s use to monitor the number of items in your digital shopping cart (called session cookies). The problem here isn’t the information that companies keep on your tab. The problem is keeping that tab secure and preventing it from getting it into the hands of a black-hat, or unethical hacker. The irony of this situation is that as people who use technology for the majority of the day, we really don’t understand how it works. Most people merely know how to turn off the router and turn it back on. Others might know what an IP address is. It is this lack of knowledge which leaves people exposed to corruption on their operating systems. By enforcing a rule that states that you are being monitored, people would become more aware of the fact that the internet is not as safe as it seems. Cybersecurity continues to become more and more necessary by the day but is commonly overlooked as a boring precaution. Companies in locations all around the world see it unfit to spend a larger portion of their profits bolstering their defenses in the unlikely event that a black-hat would overcome their security systems. However, in the words of my cybersecurity professor Joe, “even the biggest companies fail if their security does not match their status”. You would think that a company as big as Target or Equifax should be able to protect themselves from people who know how to bypass a firewall. On the contrary, it was the lack of expertise in these companies that led to the exposure of 200 million people’s names, addresses, social security numbers, credit card numbers, and even driver license plates. After the Equifax data breach, it blew my mind as to how easy it is to bypass certain securities when people don’t understand cybersecurity. In my experience, I have heard examples of breaches through my professor Joe. The most memorable story he told us during class was the time when somebody accessed their own medical records when they were getting a root canal at the dentist’s office. This is merely one of many examples as to how easy a data breach can be. In Firefox’s case, the exposure of cookies will notify and even educate some people on how websites and companies track your information. While this does educate the population on cookies, it doesn’t improve your security system. It is up to us as a people to become more involved with things such as cybersecurity so we can not only protect our sensitive information but our systems as well.

  5. Shaunak Rajurkar September 7, 2018 at 8:05 pm #

    As artificial intelligence technology including as ad-sense and cookie tracking services quickly improve, we continue to lose a war over the custody of our own privacy. Mozilla’s resistance efforts are commendable, but with Google Chrome’s dominance in the browser space, it is unlikely that many people make a timely switch to protect their privacy. Google has advertised and emphasized the “universal” nature of their products for the sake of user convenience, yet this convenience is the very thing that poses their users with a very serious cyber-security threat.

    Selling users’ cookie information for the purpose of advertising is unfortunately expected in this day and age, but this is only a small concern in personal cyber-security. After recent security breaches from Facebook/Cambridge Analytica, Equifax, and over 300 United States Universities, it seems as if everyone has a target on their back. Sheryl Sandberg, COO and Product Manager at Facebook, recently appeared at a congressional hearing and discussed Facebook’s privacy breaches and their mission to protect the personal information of users, as well as screening fake accounts for political ground. The hearing is available here: https://bit.ly/2wTd0P7

    At one point, Sandberg was questioned about the way Facebook “audits its privacy and data practices,” and it revealed details regarding Facebook’s foreign partnerships, including one with Chinese technology firm Huawei. To some degree, Facebook is allowed to share classified user information with their foreign partners regarding user preference, interest, and information based on ad targeting. When asked to make these audits public, Sandberg declined, stating that [she] “can’t commit right in this moment to making that public, because a lot of that has sensitive information which could help people game the systems.” Essentially, Sandberg is continuing to hide the corporation’s questionable practices while citing users’ best interests.

    Oregon senator Ron Wyden further interrogated Sandberg on ad discrimination, particularly for instances where “Russians, interfering in the presidential election, targeted U.S. minorities with ads meant to discourage them from voting.” Since the election, Facebook has made it “more difficult” to target ads based on race and other sensitive characteristics, but these actions have come too late. Facebook, as well as other social media platforms, are not and will not be immune to cyber-security threats due to the speed of AI growth and development.

    Making the switch to Firefox is the obvious choice to protect personal privacy, but will their efforts be enough to hinder the security threats to come? Will Firefox truly be the solution to preventing companies like Facebook, who monetize user information to earn revenue from spreading classified information? It is unlikely that they are able to do it alone. I hope that this advancement acts as a catalyst for the United States, as well as other countries to follow suit in developing legislation that regulates data harvesting and cookie tracking. Although the EU’s GDPR legislation is not perfect, it is a good starting point to retain some degree of privacy. However, I remain fearful that the current US administration will be hesitant to follow in the steps of the EU, as it runs counterproductive to President Trump’s wishes to be re-elected.

  6. Paul Lee September 7, 2018 at 8:26 pm #

    For myself, I have been an avid Google Chrome user and Supporter because of the easy application use and the clean detailed look that it has. Also, my daily life includes using Google’s infamous search engine, “Google”, and their email application called “Gmail”. I have started to notice that when I use these google applications to look at products and then afterward when I browse, I can view the same product on Youtube or any other site. It is a very scary thought to see these same products appear again, it made me question how this is even possible. After reading this article, I did not realize that there were multiple or hundreds of people just tracking what you do on the internet and they call themselves cross-site third party tracker. This is a form of hacking on your own personal internet and should not be allowed, these hackers or trackers can visibly see and record your personal information. Nobody should use the internet with multiple viewers watching what the users are doing, it is a scary and uncomfortable thought. With technology being innovative and improving, for Mozilla to create a program within Firefox to stop these trackers from stalking users as they roam the internet. I believe that this is a wonderful idea that I would love to be part of. Mozilla understands the user and puts them first unlike other gigantic enterprises like Google or internet explorer. They want the user to have to best experience and especially a private one which I highly support and respect. They also understand that these cross sites third party tracker slow download times for the website which hinders many user’s experience. I never once thought cross site third party tracker would slow down a user’s internet experience. However, I constantly believed what slowed down the internet was viruses, how many tabs one has open, or how many applications are open. I wish that other enormous companies can follow what Mozilla is doing and trying to protect the users instead of helping other companies advertise. I do not understand why other big internet company names who have this type of filtering program is not already implementing such a program into their internet applications. I am a big fan of Mozilla and what their plans are for their application “FireFox”. I can not wait till they release the full version of Firefox with this cross-site third party filter.

  7. Nicholas Stefanelli September 7, 2018 at 8:41 pm #

    To me, it is appalling to see how websites and apps use cookies to dictate our experience on the internet. I believe I am one of the few people out there that actually reads the terms and agreements to something before allowing it access to my personal device of usage of the web. I sit and watch my friends constantly just always hit the button “I agree” without hesitation. We as people have rights and with them, we should not be so frugal to give them away. For example, my friend asked me why when he was using google and went on a site that they would advertise the Seton Hall Bookstore. He then jokingly it is as if they know I go here. I was astonished to hear that comment because right there is what is wrong with my generation; they do not understand what privacy settings and are and what cookies are.
    After reading this article, it is refreshing to see there is a company out there looking out for people. His is something you do not see every day. More and more companies fall into the pit of greediness and lose sight of caring for the people. Before I started to work on this comment, I really wanted to test out if there was a difference between using Google and Firefox. I can honestly say to the naked eye it may seem to be the same but it is not. Besides it not looking like it is faster though, not once was I asked if cookies could track me or that they were already granted access. From now on, I will use Firefox more often even though I am use to Google more I prefer to learn and become more comfortable with a different site then to have to give up my freedom and privacy just so I can be more comfortable.

  8. Jaden Tate September 11, 2018 at 3:53 pm #

    In the article “If you haven’t already switched to Firefox do it now” by Katherine Schwab she spoke about the breakthrough that, Firefox have developed for their search engine. Yes, the cookies that follow us from website to website are going to be removed. I will definitely be changing my search engine to Mozilla for the fact that these cookies are everywhere now. I could be shopping for clothes one day and then an ad for the same clothing store I was on pops up on an education website that I am currently using. This shows that the no matter what people or a robot are always monitoring what you are doing at all times. Another great thing about getting rid of these cookies is that the “55% of the time required to load a website is spent on third-party loading trackers” will no longer happen. I have no patience whatsoever and the fact that most of the websites that I use take forever to load makes me extremely mad.
    The fact that it took so long for a search engine to consider doing this blows my mind. By making this change, it not only helps the people using the search engine but it also brings many customers to the search engine. Now people will choose to use Firefox instead of Chrome because it is not only safer but also faster. The reason I said safer is because nowadays it is easy for any electronic to get hacked and your personal information to be leaked on to the web. Furthermore, the fact that Mozilla is allowing their users to “opt-out if you want to” makes the change a lot more enjoyable. Some people may actually enjoy being reminded of what they wanted to by the previous night, or they just like to see the different things on the site. I wish that this would have been made earlier. It was definitely comical at the end when it stated that “60% of you who are reading this on chrome” was said because I was one of them. By the end of this year or when it becomes more known throughout the public, there will be no one using Chrome or Internet Explorer. As it is now many people have forgotten about Internet Explorer whether it was because it was so slow or that many of the brand new computers were already programmed with a different search engine. Either way, this was ingenious for Firefox to come up with this ad on since technology is being more prominent in everything we do. Congratulations, I will now be switching.

  9. Michael Martini September 14, 2018 at 7:10 pm #

    I can instantly relate to the point of this article after reading it. Third parties that follow you around on the internet and track everything you do and every site you are on is one of the most invasive things that a user can experience. There should be an option on every browser in order to turn off the function to block ALL third parties.
    Whenever I am on the internet on a site, if I look on the side of the page there are all things offering for me to buy certain products that I recently did research about. They are using my search history to gather information on things that I am interested in. I personally feel that this is bad because I am being watched and it makes me scared in a way to use the internet.
    Most people use a lot of personal information when on the internet, and if third parties can track what sites you search up it is guaranteed that they can also see you personal information and passwords. Although many browsers advertise that they are safe, they are realistically not. People are able to get hold of your information no matter what, and that is why it is important to be careful with what you do when online.

  10. Sydney Woodcock September 14, 2018 at 9:18 pm #

    When reading the title of this article I thought to myself, “That’s weird. My dad told me the same thing a few months ago.” As I started to read the article I quickly learned why. It explained that all websites have third-party trackers that follow your internet use and use that information to their advantage. It’s just like when people say, “I was just reading about (Insert blank here) on my laptop, and now I’m getting advertisements for it like crazy.” The reason for that, as shown in this article, is that these third-party trackers recognized the type of content that they searched, and likely used that to create advertisements in the hopes of making money. Although it wasn’t stated directly in this article, I’m sure that these trackers sell their data to the companies whose ads pop up the next day or quickly after we make a search online.
    One thing I thought was very interesting was just how much these trackers slow down websites. Readers are told that 55% of the loading time for websites is due to these trackers loading as well. Although the internet is already incredibly fast, with average google result times being around 1/8 of a second (according to business insider). For the search engine specifically, the 55% increase in speed that would happen if these trackers didn’t exist would be minimal. For other websites, ones that aren’t used to any amount of high traffic, that 55% change could be a drastic improvement.
    Interestingly enough, as I was reading this article there was a popup at the top of the screen that read, “We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising.” I wasn’t shocked in the slightest to see this, it seems to show up a lot on websites. This is just one of the few times that I really noticed it and thought about what exactly that meant. Also, at the very end of the article, it states that 60% of people reading the article are on Chrome. I am one of those 60% of people. I didn’t understand why my dad told me to make the switch so long ago, I initially told him that I wouldn’t do it because I like the format of google and I didn’t want to change it. Now I’m generally interested in switching to Firefox for the reasons outlined by this article.

  11. Hannah Roselli September 20, 2018 at 7:42 pm #

    This article stuck out to me more than the others on the page, and the reason is because recently my stepdad has just told me to switch to Mozilla Firefox instead of using Apple Safari, or google Chrome. However, my stepdad did not know that they would be blocking all cross-site-third party trackers, it was just his browser of preference above the others.
    This article discusses how third party trackers can make your time on the internet less appealing. For example, they can access every click you make which allows them to find out information and data about the consumers. The information that can be found out is simple information such as where they enjoy online shopping, what websites they enjoy looking on, so on and so forth. This information however does allow for the trackers to get a feel for that consumer’s behavior. Also, these third-party trackers can slow down your time on the internet. Meaning, if you are downloading a software from the internet that you need for school it will take longer to install due to these third-party trackers. However, since Mozilla Firefox is getting rid of these third-party trackers installment time will decrease, and so will the risk of the consumer’s information getting exposed. In the article, Nick Nguyen made a point when he discussed how users don’t expect vendors to follow them for store to store, just as they do not expect to be followed on the internet from click to click.
    Mozilla Firefox will be having these third-party trackers turned off by default in their browser’s settings so consumers do not have to constantly turn them off on their own. Most of the time consumers are not even thinking of this while using the internet. Due to Mozilla Firefox switching their settings to benefit the consumers’ browsing time, and privacy many people have begun to make the switch from other browsers to Mozilla Firefox.
    After reading this article, I have gained information about the internet I never even knew. I never knew that every click I make on the internet is tracked. I will be ditching my other browsers and switching over to Mozilla Firefox. I also think that this is something people who work should be aware of. Especially if they are working with private e-mails, or information, or even teachers who have access to private information about their students. This is something all working people need to be aware of due to the safety of their work, and the safety of their clients, information, students etc.
    Along with reading the article I read a couple of the other comments. I noticed Paul stated he uses Google Chrome, which is also what I use and I use it for all the same reasons he does. I think it is very quick, simple to maneuver and appealing to the eye, another thing I love about Google Chrome is that they allow you to personalize your home page. However, after reading this article, and knowing that Google Chrome has not updated to a system like Mozilla Firefox has I will be switching over very soon.

  12. Sandra C September 21, 2018 at 1:06 pm #

    Cookies are such an interesting part of the internet. They leave a trail, like crumbs, with every click of your mouse. Leaving cookies behind is something that many users do not think about when surfing the internet. However, as you go from website to website, third party users are tracking your movements to be able to advertise accordingly. Although this is a smart marketing tactic, it seems like an invasion of privacy and is a scary thought to be “watched” at all times. Not every company is ethically correct, and can easily sell the “cookie” information to a cybercriminal in order to help them hack your account.
    As the article from Fast Company states, users do not think about disabling cookies on each website that they choose to use. Which is understandable since consumers, just as Nick Nguyen stated, would not expect advertisers to follow them around in a store. Therefore, they do not expect advertisers to follow them around online. A fact that struck me in Fast Company’s post is that 55% percent of loading time is spent loading third party trackers. Firefox will now be looking into improving load times, as well as respect their users. It seems as though as Firefox is in the correct direction and is staying true to their ethics as well. As a Google Chrome user myself, these initiatives make me have admiration for Firefox; and might even cause me to change my everyday browsing use.

  13. Hadeel September 21, 2018 at 5:28 pm #

    As individuals in the 21st century constantly use the internet for almost everything, the topic of online privacy is one that is always brushed upon but not fully explored. In the article entitled, If you haven’t already switched to Firefox, do it now written by Katherine Schwab, it states that Mozilla’s browser Firefox is making an effort to block all third-party online trackers that track internet users’ online activity on a continuous basis. Web tracking and online privacy is a topic that is often overlooked by individuals, especially ones who tend to quickly agree to the terms of long privacy policies without actually knowing the content (Schwab). Knowing that there are third-party trackers all around the internet tracking users’ every click should cause enough concern for anyone to want to switch their web browser. Through “cookies,” websites are able to “identify and collect information about users” (Princiya). This is done in order for website owners and companies that work with those website owners to gain perspective on their target market. The tracking “starts with your browser, which reports various bits of basic data to the sites you visit by default” (Nield).
    To think that “55% of the time required to load a website is spent loading third-party trackers” makes the need to switch to Firefox more prominent (Schwab). More people need to be aware of how these third-party trackers on websites are violating their privacy. This is directly linked to the recent Facebook scandal in which people’s personal data on Facebook was accessed by Cambridge Analytica,” amongst other companies (Sanders). Although this did not occur due to a certain web browser, it still shows the extent of how easy it is for companies and websites to access personal data. As conspicuous social media users in this generation, everyone needs to be better aware of this fact in order to bring it to light more. When people begin to realize that their personal information is being accessed with inadvertent consent, the topic of privacy and data collection will become renowned, and hopefully this will lead to change. It is enlightening to hear that Mozilla is taking initiative in conducting change for this movement.

    10153084689713172. “Web Tracking: What You Should Know About Your Privacy Online.”
    FreeCodeCamp.org, FreeCodeCamp.org, 23 Apr. 2018,
    medium.freecodecamp.org/what-you-should-know-about-web-tracking-and-how-it-
    affects-your-online-privacy-42935355525.

    Nield, David. “Here’s All the Data Collected From You as You Browse the Web.” Gizmodo,
    Gizmodo.com, 28 Aug. 2018, gizmodo.com/heres-all-the-data-collected-from-you-as-
    you-browse-the-1820779304.

    Sanders, James, and Dan Patterson. “Facebook Data Privacy Scandal: A Cheat Sheet.”
    TechRepublic, 12 Sept. 2018, http://www.techrepublic.com/article/facebook-data-privacy-
    scandal-a-cheat-sheet/.

    Schwab, Katharine. “If You Haven’t Already Switched to Firefox, Do It Now.” Fast Company,
    Fast Company, 31 Aug. 2018, http://www.fastcompany.com/90230864/if-you-havent-already-
    switched-to-firefox-do-it-now.

  14. Hadeel September 21, 2018 at 5:31 pm #

    As individuals in the 21st century constantly use the internet for almost everything, the topic of online privacy is one that is always brushed upon but not fully explored. In the article entitled, If you haven’t already switched to Firefox, do it now written by Katherine Schwab, it states that Mozilla’s browser Firefox is making an effort to block all third-party online trackers that track internet users’ online activity on a continuous basis. Web tracking and online privacy is a topic that is often overlooked by individuals, especially ones who tend to quickly agree to the terms of long privacy policies without actually knowing the content (Schwab). Knowing that there are third-party trackers all around the internet tracking users’ every click should cause enough concern for anyone to want to switch their web browser. Through “cookies,” websites are able to “identify and collect information about users” (Princiya). This is done in order for website owners and companies that work with those website owners to gain perspective on their target market. The tracking “starts with your browser, which reports various bits of basic data to the sites you visit by default” (Nield).
    To think that “55% of the time required to load a website is spent loading third-party trackers” makes the need to switch to Firefox more prominent (Schwab). More people need to be aware of how these third-party trackers on websites are violating their privacy. This is directly linked to the recent Facebook scandal in which people’s personal data on Facebook was accessed by Cambridge Analytica,” amongst other companies (Sanders). Although this did not occur due to a certain web browser, it still shows the extent of how easy it is for companies and websites to access personal data. As conspicuous social media users in this generation, everyone needs to be better aware of this fact in order to bring it to light more. When people begin to realize that their personal information is being accessed with inadvertent consent, the topic of privacy and data collection will become renowned, and hopefully this will lead to change. It is enlightening to hear that Mozilla is taking initiative in conducting change for this movement.

    10153084689713172. “Web Tracking: What You Should Know About Your Privacy Online.”
    FreeCodeCamp.org, FreeCodeCamp.org, 23 Apr. 2018,
    medium.freecodecamp.org/what-you-should-know-about-web-tracking-and-how-it-affect
    s-your-online-privacy-42935355525.

    Nield, David. “Here’s All the Data Collected From You as You Browse the Web.” Gizmodo,
    Gizmodo.com, 28 Aug. 2018, gizmodo.com/heres-all-the-data-collected-from-you-as-
    you-browse-the-1820779304.

    Sanders, James, and Dan Patterson. “Facebook Data Privacy Scandal: A Cheat Sheet.”
    TechRepublic, 12 Sept. 2018,
    http://www.techrepublic.com/article/facebook-data-privacy-scandal-a-cheat-sheet/.

    Schwab, Katharine. “If You Haven’t Already Switched to Firefox, Do It Now.” Fast Company,
    Fast Company, 31 Aug. 2018,
    http://www.fastcompany.com/90230864/if-you-havent-already-switched-to-firefox-do-it-now.

  15. Hadeel Aioub September 21, 2018 at 5:39 pm #

    As individuals in the 21st century constantly use the internet for almost everything, the topic of online privacy is one that is always brushed upon but not fully explored. In the article entitled, If you haven’t already switched to Firefox, do it now written by Katherine Schwab, it states that Mozilla’s browser Firefox is making an effort to block all third-party online trackers that track internet users’ online activity on a continuous basis. Web tracking and online privacy is a topic that is often overlooked by individuals, especially ones who tend to quickly agree to the terms of long privacy policies without actually knowing the content (Schwab). Knowing that there are third-party trackers all around the internet tracking users’ every click should cause enough concern for anyone to want to switch their web browser. Through “cookies,” websites are able to “identify and collect information about users” (Princiya). This is done in order for website owners and companies that work with those website owners to gain perspective on their target market. The tracking “starts with your browser, which reports various bits of basic data to the sites you visit by default” (Nield).

    To think that “55% of the time required to load a website is spent loading third-party trackers” makes the need to switch to Firefox more prominent (Schwab). More people need to be aware of how these third-party trackers on websites are violating their privacy. This is directly linked to the recent Facebook scandal in which people’s personal data on Facebook was accessed by Cambridge Analytica,” amongst other companies (Sanders). Although this did not occur due to a certain web browser, it still shows the extent of how easy it is for companies and websites to access personal data. As conspicuous social media users in this generation, everyone needs to be better aware of this fact in order to bring it to light more. When people begin to realize that their personal information is being accessed with inadvertent consent, the topic of privacy and data collection will become renowned, and hopefully this will lead to change. It is enlightening to hear that Mozilla is taking initiative in conducting change for this movement.

    10153084689713172. “Web Tracking: What You Should Know About Your Privacy Online.”
    FreeCodeCamp.org, FreeCodeCamp.org, 23 Apr. 2018,
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  16. Asad Ullah September 21, 2018 at 6:37 pm #

    After reading this article, it is pretty scary to think about how many people can trace all your information. I personally think Firefox has done a great job by taking this next step and blocking all third party users. I feel like there should be an option for everyone on every browser to block third party users if they choose too. After reading this, I would prefer to always use Firefox as it plans on to be safe and blocks everything. I was pretty shocked when I saw that around 55% of the time required to load a website is spent loading third-party trackers. There are so many people in the world who use the internet every day and probably have no clue about all this tracking info and stuff. I usually never even read the terms and agreements to many things. In the future I think I should always start reading and making sure I am doing/putting my information in the right places. Also something that I noticed was when you search for something on the internet, you start seeing ads for that all around your computer and internet. For example whenever I look for airplane tickets online and after I am finished, the next thing I see when I open up the internet is I start seeing ads about flight deals and the destination that I try to go to. That is all form this third party tracking and stuff.

  17. Warren Vetter September 21, 2018 at 8:51 pm #

    Firefox? Who uses that? Well, guess what, I’ll be a user of Firefox once I am done typing this up. When you are on the web jut searching away whether it is breaking news about the President are just reading about how the Giants offensive line cannot block to spare their lives, people are watching you. Not only are people watching you, but also the websites themselves are. When you go on to Google Chrome which I am a user of you do not think about how these websites that you go on track your every move and not only do they do that, but they also slow down your download speed. During the download of a website, 55% of this time is taken to download third-party cookies that track you.
    Mozilla is making easy for the people, like myself, that have no idea what is going on when I am searching the internet. Mozilla is making these new changes the default settings so there is no money needed to be spent to be protected. They are going right to the point and blocking all third-party cookies while you are on Firefox. Not only are they doing this, but FireFox will also, “Protect users from deceptive cookies that create invisible identification fingerprints based on the characteristics of the device you’re using without users’ knowledge and scripts that secretly mine cryptocurrencies on users’ devices without asking for permission.” This will make websites have to ask you for your data to be able to view their content. Some websites just took your data right behind your back and you would have no idea. The scary part of that is that all of this data is the saved data that you have saved on your computer. All your credit card information and/or recent photos that you just downloaded onto your computer. These third-party cookies have access to it all while you are sitting their relaxed reading or typing away.
    In conclusion, Mozilla is saving web users from being stalked by third-party cookies while you are searching the web. They want people to feel protected and safe while they are on FireFox and not have to worry about all these advertisements that are showing up on every single website. it is scary to think about what these cookies can see while on a website. Off to FireFox, I go. Goodbye, Google Chrome.

  18. Gabby O September 24, 2018 at 12:31 pm #

    The title of this article is what drew me in, mainly because I have never been a Firefox user. When I first became familiar with the Internet, Internet Explorer was still the most popular browser. Once I got to high school, the increase of Google and its subsequent features, such as Gmail and Google Docs, forced most students to switch over to Google Chrome. For as long as I have been using it, I have never had a problem with Google Chrome, and honestly it is the most convenient browser because I do regularly use Gmail and sometimes Google Docs, Slides, etc. Although we hear a lot about our data and privacy online, I never considered that switching browsers might make my personal data more secure. I am ashamed to say that I do not know as much as I should about privacy policies, third-party trackers, or cookies. This article opened my eyes to the very real possibility that my online activity has been provided to third-party without my knowledge.

    The fact that everything we search for/do online is being tracked is honestly scary. I like the comparison Mozilla’s head of product strategy, Nick Nguyen, used to explain these third-party trackers, stating that “In the physical world, users wouldn’t expect hundreds of vendors to follow them from store to store, spying on the products they look at or purchase. Users have the same expectations of privacy on the web, and yet in reality, they are tracked wherever they go.” I think Mozilla is doing the ethical thing by blocking all third-party trackers from its browser, Firefox. I agree with this article in that most people do not read the terms and conditions before agreeing to most online policies, and people will also not spend the time looking through their browser settings to turn off cookies. I know that I personally do not search through my browser settings – something I feel that I should do after reading this. Automatically blocking these trackers and cookies helps protect user information and privacy from the beginning, showing that Mozilla truly cares about its user’s privacy.

    Another thing that stuck out to me in this article was the Ghostery study that was referenced, “which found that 55% of the time required to load a website is spent loading third-party trackers.” For many in today’s world, time is money and faster is equates to better. According to this study, just eliminating third-party trackers could cut the time it takes to load a website in half. I think that along with the ethical issue of privacy, many websites should consider blocking third-party trackers because their loading time would decrease drastically, making users more satisfied.

    Since this article is focused around the issue of privacy, I immediately thought of the recent issues Facebook has been having throughout the past few months. I found an article titled “A time of Facebook’s privacy issues – and it’s responses” that chronically lists Facebook’s big issues regarding the privacy of their users (https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/social-media/timeline-facebook-s-privacy-issues-its-responses-n859651). This article is worth looking at, and even though I am a Facebook user, knowing about their past and present issues helps me to remain knowledgeable before posting anything onto their site.

    Although I am one of the 60% of people reading this article on Google Chrome, I might have to download Firefox and make the switch after reading this article.

  19. Abigail Johnson September 25, 2018 at 5:23 pm #

    Not everyone may be aware, but a new technology that is haunting all internet servers, now excluding Firefox, has the access and capability to be able to track what websites you are going on all the time, in order to properly advertise to you. This is a way to eliminate the thought of “that advertisement does not pertain to me”, as all the advertisements that appear on your computer are advertisements are are directly pinpointed for you, in hopes that you will reconsider the purchase you once closed out of. This is a way also for companies to get inside their customers’ heads, making them think they either really want or need a certain product, even though they might not really need it.
    I think that this an invasion of privacy, however I understand that companies paid for the search history for people, in order to increase their product sales. However, I wish there was another way for companies to advertise the right things to people. Perhaps people can take a questionnaire and complete what companies and brands they prefer and do not like, and what things they may need or want. This can give people the option to have all kinds of advertisements, or advertisements that pertain to their interests. If websites did not have this technology on their websites anymore, pages and servers would load faster and be as quick as possible, because there is not a large embedded program to collect data for the advertising world. This will make using the internet and online shopping much more convenient and enjoyable, as the ads will not be slowing the page down. The article also mentions how we are now protected from invisable identification fingerprints that are based on your devices searches, pictures, videos, applications, and messages. This is a way for advertising companies to be abele to secretly take information or even create cryptocurrencies with another person’s technology devices, without their knowledge of course. Legally, I think that companies should not be allowed to obtain information from people’s devices without their knowledge, because it is that person’s property and they deserve to have a say in what goes on with their phone or computer. However, it is rather ingenius that companies have created a system such as this to be able to pinpoint for each device, the exact advertisements that the owner of the device is seeking, in order to boost sales for companies and brand equity.

  20. Halli Schwartz September 28, 2018 at 2:14 pm #

    The internet is kind of a scary place. In modern times, it is now almost commonly known that websites like Google track your search history, and recommend pop-up advertisements that relate to your past searches. People such as myself have definitely come to accept this lack of privacy as the norm. Using search engines has become a necessity, so even though using these web engines comes with an invasion of privacy, there were no other options, so I came to accept this fate. That is, until I read this article. “If you haven’t already switched to Firefox, do it now,” was an extremely informative article, that was also quite persuasive to anyone a bit wary of the lack of privacy many internet browsers have. The article reports that “Firefox will start blocking all cross-site third-party trackers–the cookies hiding in the background that follow your clicks across the web, reporting your activity to advertisers as you move between websites”(Schwab 1). In the aforementioned internet browsers, many of these websites allow vendors to follow a user through all of their searches, most using cookies. These cookies will be eliminated in the new Firefox update, and therefore, users will gain more web privacy, as well as quicker internet speeds. The article states that “55% of the time required to load a website is spent loading third-party trackers” (Schwab 3).
    As I previously stated, I somewhat accepted my fate when it came to utilizing internet browsers with a lack of privacy. When looking back on my searches on these websites, it is now clearer to me how much these third party trackers have affected my searching. I already was aware of how these trackers formulated advertisements due to my search history, but it never crossed my mind that these trackers affected my internet speed as well. After reading this article, I am planning to look into the new and updated Firefox. It excites me that I could have faster internet speed, as well as more privacy. I also like the fact that we can “opt-out if you want to, but for the many who will never bother to look through their browser settings, they’ll be protected from the get-go” (Schwab 5). This article was informative and definitely persuasive, and it informed me to look into new and more private browsers.

  21. Melissa Joas September 28, 2018 at 11:16 pm #

    Re: If You Haven’t Already Switched to Firefox, Do It Now

    Mozilla’s announcement regarding the upcoming changes to Firefox’s default third-party tracker settings is a welcome relief. Concerns about data protection have heightened amid Facebook’s most recent massive data breach, following its Cambridge Analytica scandal and ongoing privacy controversies. Facebook is not the only Web site collecting, potentially misusing, and not properly guarding users’ data. Mozilla, a nonprofit organization that professes that it is “on a mission to keep the Internet growing and healthy” and is the creator of Firefox, is in the process of testing changes to the browser that will block all cross-site third-party trackers by default. This is meant to help protect users from agreeing to allow their every move to be followed online unknowingly. It will also be interesting when Mozilla releases the results of its testing on how the trackers impact the speed at which pages load. In addition to invading users’ privacy and endangering their personal information, the testing is likely to prove that third-party trackers are costing them quite a bit of time as well. I have installed Firefox Nightly on my smart phone, which Mozilla advises is for testing purposes and that data will be collected to improve the end product.

    I have been a user of Mozilla Firefox for many years now, mainly because it is what I am the most familiar with and that has continued to provide most of the features that I enjoyed about it from the beginning. While I have used other browsers in the workplace, my go-to on my personal computers has always been Firefox. More recently, though, I have been using Google’s Chrome browser for Android on my Samsung Galaxy phones. Like many people, I spend more time browsing the Internet on my phone than I do on my personal computer or laptop. One of the advertising trends that I have not been able to numb myself to is the targeted advertising that I am bombarded with that stays the same regardless of the site that I am visiting. I use my phone to search for information on a variety of topics, some of which I consider to be of a private nature. I have been more hesitant to “Google” anything that I do not want everyone to know that I am looking for since I have started seeing advertisements related to these searches. If I let someone borrow my phone to read the news, they might find out more about me than I am comfortable sharing. In this case, I would be inadvertently sharing my information with someone that I know.

    This raises some more concerns. If I cherish my privacy so much that I wish to limit how much of it I give to those who are closest to me, then certainly I must not want unidentified strangers to collect my information, whether personally identifiable or in aggregate with the multitude of users who are no longer browsing alone. I recently participated in a short survey describing a scenario in which two friends were talking in a café about plans to take a vacation. Both of their phones were on the table, and nobody performed searches that alluded to the fact that there was any interest to visit the location. Shortly afterwards, one of the friends was logged into a social media account and saw an advertisement for travel accommodations in the city in which they were planning to visit. The questions that followed were to gauge the feelings that I was left with after reading the story. The survey was a bit troubling in that it could have potentially been an indication that other personal boundaries are about to be crossed, perhaps without most of the population’s informed consent. By informed consent, I mean that the terms of the privacy policy that users are asked to consent to are clearly and concisely stated in terms that the general population can read very quickly and understand completely. For example, when I participated in the survey it was clear that my opinions and certain demographic data were to be recorded and used for research purposes. I did not have to read several pages of text that I did not have the knowledge to fully comprehend before performing a task that I expected to complete in a short amount of time.

    In addition to giving the user the freedom to choose who information is shared with, he or she should be able to decide what purposes it will be used for. Occasionally I agree to participate in a research study if I feel that it could be of benefit to a cause that I sympathize with. Sometimes I expressly give my consent to collect data that is not yet for sale by others, such as that from my health tracker. I also think that a person’s data should be his or hers to sell and no one else’s. I allow some of my personal information to be gathered from my smart phone that I get paid money for. While that data might be repackaged and sold again, I still gain something more than the pleasure of using a Web site for much less time than it uses me.

    There is currently very little regulation on the way data is handled in the United States. However, according to Data Protection Report, several states have begun to pass laws addressing transparency, breach notifications, control over personal data, and some have required significant changes to the way data is handled. In May of this year, the European Union enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that requires privacy policies to be written clearly and in a way that can easily be understood. The user must give express consent before his or her data can be used. In addition, data can only be collected for clearly-defined purposes and users must be notified of any changes to its use or if it is to be used by a party outside of the European Union. Further details can be found on the European Commission’s Data Protection Fact Sheet.

    While Mozilla is not profit-driven, its most recent efforts to protect user data with its latest updates to the Firefox browser are commendable and hopefully will set the standards of the people higher and result in the demand for reform, much like GDPR has brought the European Union this year.

  22. Carter Pichardo October 9, 2018 at 8:06 pm #

    I believe the initiative Mozilla is taking to better protect our data is outstanding. After the several recent events that have occurred that allowed our privacy data to be compromised, it’s about time a major technology company reacted in a positive manner. People who didn’t know what companies were doing with their data before have become more informed and alarmed about what they are actually doing with it. Companies are selling our information to marketers/advertisers and are spying on us through cookies! With Mozilla’s browser; Firefox, people can now surf the web with more confidence and can be assured that none of that can happen anymore if they don’t want it to. Our privacy is extremely important and should not be taken advantage of by anyone without our permission.
    As someone who actually uses Firefox now, my web-surfing experience has significantly changed for the better. No longer do I receive those annoying advertisements that are catered to me that try to influence what I purchase. There are ways to setup your settings to block tracking of your data and all the websites you visit but that requires some digging into your settings, which most people find to be quite tedious. Mozilla’s Firefox browser automatically does this for you when you download it! If you are concerned with your data and privacy, I urge you to use this browser instead of any other as of now because Mozilla is the first major technology company to attempt to standardize this strategy and protect our privacy. They actually care about the people and I believe that in itself speaks volumes.

  23. Alexis Pateiro October 11, 2018 at 9:30 am #

    After reading this article it is crazy to see how you can be tracked through using a web browser. I have realized that there is a lot of issues with privacy and security when it comes to using the internet. I have also noticed how often a website asks for the user to use cookies in order to visit the site. It is scary to think what they are trying to do with the information they take from your internet and browser activity. I was always aware that the internet is never 100% safe and protected but I had no clue before reading this article that there are third-party trackers tracks your activity through the internet and websites. I also found it shocking how they track you then report your activity to advertisers, even though they are just advertisers it is an invasion of privacy for anyone using the web. Not to mention the frustration of waiting a long time for a website to load could be because they are tracking you while you are on that website.
    Mozilla Firefox is trying to get rid of this issue by blocking out these third-party trackers to make your online experience more private. Mozilla is also going to study how trackers affecting loading times to see if blocking the trackers will fix that issue as well. Mozilla is doing all of this to add this blocking feature to their web browser. I believe these features will be very beneficial to web browser users even though you have to dig for this feature. It is better to have to look into the feature rather than not having it at all. I used to have Mozilla Firefox on my PC, however, since I got a MacBook Air I have been using Safari and Google Chrome. I actually have to admit I miss using Mozilla Firefox it was a lot faster and I felt more protected using their browser. After reading this article I am really considering redownloading Mozilla Firefox because of these features. I am honestly shocked how I do not see many people using Mozilla because this feature is honestly very beneficial to your privacy online. However, I do not believe everyone who uses the web knows that there are such privacy issues. I think if more people were informed they would take this more seriously. I believe they would think about downloading a browser who is making an effort to protect you from something invading your privacy. I also believe more web browsers should take privacy for users more seriously.

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