SANTA MONICA, Calif.
June 19, 2013
Consumer Watchdog today praised Mozilla as the nonprofit foundation announced it would move forward with addition of a setting in its popular Firefox browser to block the most intrusive tracking "cookies" by default.
Cookies are little bits of computer code that can be placed on a browser so that your activity can be tracked as you surf across the web. The most invasive tracking is done by sites the user hasn't even visited -- so-called 3rd-party sites, Consumer Watchdog said.
"Most people don't want to be spied on when they go online," said
John M. Simpson
, Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Director. "Mozilla is now making privacy protection the default. You can't get any more user-friendly than that."
Earlier this year Mozilla said Firefox -- like Apple's Safari – would block cookies from sites not actually visited by the user. The blocking patch that was added to a trial version of Firefox was developed by Stanford graduate student and researcher
. However, Mozilla delayed implementation after it expressed technical concerns about false positives and false negatives and to date has continued their internal testing.
Read Mozilla's statement here:
The online ad industry expressed outrage at the earlier announcement, with one trade association executive calling the move a "nuclear first-strike," even though Apple's Safari has used the setting for over a decade.
Mozilla made today's announcement after
Stanford Law School's
Center for Internet and Society launched a "Cookie Clearinghouse." The clearinghouse, created by Privacy researcher
, would provide browsers with lists so the problem of false positives and false negatives would be avoided.
Read the "Cookie Clearinghouse" announcement here:
"Mozilla should be congratulated for their dedication to protect consumer privacy in the face of extreme industry pressure," said Simpson. "They have also demonstrated a justifiable concern about getting this right from a technical point of view and Stanford's Cookie Clearinghouse was key to solving those issues. Kudos to both."