Firefox 22 to block third-party cookies by default


Like in Firefox 22, these third-party cookies can't follow you around the internet

While Firefox 19 was only released just the other day, Mozilla are already looking to introduce new features and patches into future versions. Today, Stanford researcher Jonathan Mayer announced that, beginning with Firefox 22, the popular web browser will be blocking all third-party cookies by default, protecting users from random advertisers tracking them across the internet.

The system that Firefox will be using is similar to the one implemented by Safari, whereby any third-party cookies are blocked automatically unless a user has visited the origin site. This means that if an advertiser tries to place a tracking cookie in a site you like to visit, it will not work unless you have specifically visited the advertiser's origin website beforehand. First-party cookies, as in those set by websites you actually visit, will be unaffected, so don't worry too much as your saved log-ins will still work.

After Firefox 22 has been released, Firefox and Safari will be the only browsers that reject unwanted third-party cookies; Chrome allows all cookies by default, and Internet Explorer blocks some third-party cookies, whilel allowing the majority of them. The impact on websites should be limited (aside from many tracking cookies ceasing to work), and the Firefox privacy team will be monitoring the new cookie policy before its final release.

New versions of Firefox generally arrive every six weeks, so Firefox 22 is scheduled for release in late June and that's when the new cookie policy can be expected in a stable release of the browser.

Source: Web Policy via: Ars Technica
Cookie image via Shutterstock

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32 Comments

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Just change the setting now to avoid 3rd party cookies: Options - Privacy - uncheck Accept third-party cookies. And for additional security download the add-on Beef Taco.

Why has it taken any of the browsers so long to implement this?

Not even close to a major thing to brag about, but at least showing SOME intelligence on Mozilla's part!

cork1958 said,
Why has it taken any of the browsers so long to implement this?

Not even close to a major thing to brag about, but at least showing SOME intelligence on Mozilla's part!

Because it is not a intelligent move, it will break a lot of sites and will stop the incomes of other sites.

Brony said,

Because it is not a intelligent move, it will break a lot of sites and will stop the incomes of other sites.


No it won't. This is blocking cookies...not ads.

So does this mean if i read Google reader and i have an extension/greasemonkey script to load websites in an iframe instead of their rss feed, thigs will go bad?

Incidentally i'm doing thsi right now, posting this comment from inside an iframe within Google Reader.

For clarity, is there any clue if this is all third party cookies, or ones without a privacy policy or data mining ones etc....

This could affect a lot of analytics tools, even Google Analytics might rely on third party cookies for path analysis. DoubleClick and iframe ad tracking would definitely be affected. At the moment, results are already skewed by a few percent because of safari, but this would change my (employers) reports by 30% or so.

lunamonkey said,
For clarity, is there any clue if this is all third party cookies, or ones without a privacy policy or data mining ones etc....

This could affect a lot of analytics tools, even Google Analytics might rely on third party cookies for path analysis. DoubleClick and iframe ad tracking would definitely be affected. At the moment, results are already skewed by a few percent because of safari, but this would change my (employers) reports by 30% or so.

Yeah... Problem is that if they keep this pace of blocking cookies and stuff, website owners will be quite ****ed. They rely on the revenue of ads and analytics to keep free content alive.

Too right it's a stupid number. I can't take Firefox or Chrome seriously with this silly marketing stunt of brand new versions every few days with a new number to match. IE may have many faults of its own but at least it's Enterprise-grade and manageable.

cantoris said,
Too right it's a stupid number. I can't take Firefox or Chrome seriously with this silly marketing stunt of brand new versions every few days with a new number to match. IE may have many faults of its own but at least it's Enterprise-grade and manageable.

When did every 6-wks morph into every few days? Also Firefox is just enterprise ready as any other browser..with its ESR builds.

So basically fellas, you'll be getting almost the same experience as if you installed Noscript with third party cookies blocked... which means all sorts of anomalies will arise on various websites, even websites that you frequently visit!

This is a good move on Firefox's behalf, but why did it take them this many years to implement this?

I don't see this feature being default for very long. Advertisers will throw a fit and possibly hurl large barrels of cash at Mozilla to make this non default setting. Wagers anybody?

Captain Peasant said,
So basically fellas, you'll be getting almost the same experience as if you installed Noscript with third party cookies blocked... which means all sorts of anomalies will arise on various websites, even websites that you frequently visit!

This is a good move on Firefox's behalf, but why did it take them this many years to implement this?

I don't see this feature being default for very long. Advertisers will throw a fit and possibly hurl large barrels of cash at Mozilla to make this non default setting. Wagers anybody?

Well idk. Mozilla doesn't benefit from ads in the same way (or at all rather) Google and MS do, so I doubt it.

Captain Peasant said,
So basically fellas, you'll be getting almost the same experience as if you installed Noscript with third party cookies blocked... which means all sorts of anomalies will arise on various websites, even websites that you frequently visit!

This is a good move on Firefox's behalf, but why did it take them this many years to implement this?

I don't see this feature being default for very long. Advertisers will throw a fit and possibly hurl large barrels of cash at Mozilla to make this non default setting. Wagers anybody?

You're wrong. Very few things break... Some services like Disqus which have to interact with different websites. You just whitelist the few sites that will possibly break, and you're done. Maybe Mozilla will make it "smarter"... Some notice or something when something breaks... In any case, it's not even close as if you had NoScript; which can break almost every site out there...

Incidentally, nowadays the most dirt you can find on a PC comes from these 3rd-party cookies. These come second only after viruses/worms/trojans category.

Shadowzz said,
Why include MS with this, they have similar enabled by default in IE10 and optional in IE7, 8 and 9.

No, MS doesn't have similar. It's not even close. The Do-Not-Track does not block almost anything... Currently it's only there in order MS to be in position to say, "we protect your privacy". None respects the DNT, that's why you should be blocking all of them; by blocking 3rd-party cookies. Since they don't respect your request, why should you?

Edited by PC EliTiST, Feb 24 2013, 9:01am :