According to latest reports, Firefox is getting Tor based security upgrade. By taking cues from the Tor browser, Mozilla is making Firefox a more private experience for its users.
The non-profit Mozilla Foundation is boosting privacy in an upcoming version of its Firefox browser by removing the snooping capability dubbed canvas fingerprinting, which lets user-tracking across multiple websites without cookies. The feature is anticipated to be removed in January 2018 with the introduction of Mozilla Firefox 58. The company will do this by imitating Tor, which is built on modified Firefox code and already blocks tracking.
Tor Based Security Upgrade
Canvas fingerprinting has become widespread in recent years and is available in all major browsers. By making use of the HTML5 framework, websites are able to identify users with an amalgam of unique characters of a browser such as fonts, WebGL, and SVG widgets. This method doesn’t require users to accept a cookie.
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Now, in an attempt to protect user privacy from tracking, Mozilla Firefox offers its users the option to block browser fingerprinting. Rather than automatically opting into tracking and sharing data, users must proactively grant permission before data is shared. However, Firefox will not be the first browser to implement fingerprint protection as the anonymity-focused Tor browser has been offering the same protection for years.
Apart from bringing casual users one step closer to actual online anonymity with Tor based security upgrade, Mozilla developers also create tools to help users get control of their data. One such tool is Data Selfie that provides you with a clear picture of the information you’re giving to Facebook. Hang Do Thi Duc, the creator of Data Selfie, said,
“It’s a self reflection tool. I’m giving a lot away, it made me realize even more that Facebook was collecting all of this information about me and creating this image of who I was.”
Despite the privacy upgrade, experts said that the Tor based security upgrade will have a limited impact on overall browser privacy for most users. If you use Firefox as a regular user, you can share your IP with websites and accept cookies from the visited websites and from ad providers. Given that concerns about fingerprinting have drastically raised, so the web browser implements canvas blocking.
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The upcoming Firefox feature to block canvas fingerprinting comes directly from Tor browser. Typically, features flow from Firefox to Tor browser. But in a program called Tor Uplift Project, Mozilla is slowly hardening Firefox’s security with Tor privacy features.
The Tor based security upgrade is scheduled to release on January 16, 2018. Details about the new Firefox update are flowing out at a snail’s pace for now, but the flood of leaks and speculations will come as we get closer to its launch. So, hold on tight!