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.