Mozilla’s Firefox browser received a brand new characteristic to assist cease corporations from monitoring customers.
As a part of Firefox model 102, the browser can now routinely strip monitoring parameters out of web site URLs. The characteristic is known as ‘Question Parameter Stripping.’ For these unfamiliar with the follow of URL parameters, it’s generally utilized by social media and different corporations to trace what hyperlinks individuals click on on.
For instance, Bleeping Computer outlines varied URL trackers Firefox can now block, together with these utilized by corporations like Fb, Marketo, Olytics, and extra:
- Fb (fbclid=, mc_eid=)
- Olytics (oly_enc_id=, oly_anon_id=)
- Drip (__s=)
- Vero (vero_id=)
- HubSpot (_hsenc=)
- Marketo (mkt_tok=)
Usually, these URL parameters embody a string of letters and numbers after the equals signal (=). For instance: “https://www.instance.com/?fbclid=IwAR4HesRZLT-fxhhh3nZ7WKsOpaiFzsg4nH0K4WLRHw1h467GdRjaLilWbLs.”
Bleeping Pc additionally generated a check web page with ‘instance.com’ hyperlinks that includes every of the above trackers so customers can check if their browser is stripping these parameters from their URLs. You possibly can take a look at that check website here (click on one of many hyperlinks on the web page after which test the URL bar to see if there are any of the listed URL trackers in it).
How you can allow Question Parameter Stripping
Sadly, Firefox’s Question Parameter Stripping isn’t turned on by default. To entry the characteristic, customers want to modify Firefox’s ‘Enhanced Monitoring Safety’ characteristic to ‘Strict.’ Together with stripping URL trackers, Strict mode blocks social media trackers, cross-site cookies, monitoring content material, cryptominers, and fingerprinters. It can also break some web sites, or make sure parts show incorrectly.
As somebody who makes use of Firefox repeatedly, and sometimes with ‘Strict’ Enhanced Monitoring Safety, the most important subject I’ve observed is that it messes with embedded social media posts (like from Twitter or Instagram). After all, there could also be broader issues as properly, so for some utilizing Strict mode could be extra problem than it’s price to get URL parameter stripping.
To enabled Strict mode, open Firefox’s settings > Privateness & Safety > Enhanced Monitoring Safety > Strict. Bleeping Pc additionally notes that this doesn’t affect Firefox’s personal shopping mode (learn: incognito mode), so if you wish to enabled URL stripping in personal mode too, you’ll have to toggle some settings within the ‘about:config’ menu. Bleeping Pc has detailed directions for that here.
Alternate options for non-Firefox customers
Though the addition of the characteristic is a transfer in the correct route, it’s price noting that Firefox solely strips a restricted variety of URL trackers. Bleeping Pc notes that Courageous, a Chromium-based browser with a deal with privateness and crypto, blocks further URL trackers. Nevertheless, for these not concerned with switching their browser, the ‘ClearURLs‘ extension can serve the identical objective.
ClearURLs might be added to most fashionable browsers and handles the duty of eradicating URL monitoring parameters. I’ve been utilizing ClearURLs for a very long time and can probably proceed utilizing it for the foreseeable future because it covers far more than the built-in stripper Firefox makes use of.
That mentioned, ideally, Firefox’s built-in future ultimately improves sufficient that ClearURLs is not essential. Not that there’s something improper with ClearURLs — it’s simply I’d desire to reduce the variety of extensions I exploit when doable.
You possibly can study extra about ClearURLs here.
Question Parameter Stripping is one in all many privateness options Mozilla has added to Firefox lately. Earlier this month, Mozilla rolled out ‘Complete Cookie Safety,’ which provides every web site its personal cookie jar in order that websites can’t snoop in your different on-line actions. You possibly can learn extra about that here.
Supply: Bleeping Computer