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A closer look at Firefox's Tracking Protection feature
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[Image: firefox-tracking-protection-default.png]

Tracking Protection is a privacy feature of the Firefox web browser designed to block certain unwanted elements on sites visited in the browser.

All Firefox users have options to control Tracking Protection in the web browser; Mozilla announced in June 2019 that Tracking Protection is enabled by default for new Firefox installations, and that it plans to make it the default for existing Firefox installations as well provided that the user has not customized Tracking Protection.

The announcement raised several questions: users wanted to know more about Tracking Protection, whether the system was good enough to make installed extensions superfluous, whether they could uninstall content blockers, and if there was any downside to enabling the feature.

Tracking Protection Basics

Firefox users may customize Tracking Protection functionality in several ways. One of the easier options is to load about:preferences#privacy in the Firefox address bar and check the "content blocking" section on the page that opens.

Tracking Protection offers three presets: standard, strict, and custom.

* Standard (default): blocks known trackers in private windows and third-party tracking cookies in all windows.

* Strict: blocks trackers in all windows and third party cookies.

* Custom: select what to block:

- Trackers: in all windows, private windows, change blocklist.
- Cookies: third-party trackers, from unvisited websites, all third-party cookies, all cookies.
- Cryptominers
- Fingerprinters

Firefox displays a Shield icon next to the site address if Tracking Protection is blocking something on the active site. A click on the icon provides an overview of what is being blocked on the page.

The Content Blocking section of the panel that opens provides the following information and controls:

* Tracking Protection status (e.g. custom or standard).

* Whether Trackers, Cookies, Miners, or Fingerprinters are blocked, or partially blocked. Note that Firefox displays only the types that are blocked and not the others.

* Option to look at blocked content.

* Option to turn off Tracking Protection for the site.

A click on a content type that is blocked on the active site displays the list of content that is blocked on it.
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