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May 22, 2013

Mozilla Decides Not to Block Third-Party Cookies by Default on Firefox. Yet.

By Miguel Leiva-Gomez, TMCnet Contributor

Firefox 22 is not going to block third-party cookies by default, according to Mozilla (News - Alert). The reason? “To collect and analyze data on the effect of blocking some third-party cookies.” This doesn't mean that Mozilla has the intention of relaxing its stance on protecting the privacy of Firefox's users, but they want to make sure that the user experience isn't negatively affected due to the actions taken by such a measure.

Mozilla has been dotting its i's and crossing its t's with a patch authored by Jonathan Mayer, a Stanford University grad student studying computer science. Mayer has drafted a new concept that provides a middle ground. Much like Safari, Firefox could allow cookies on websites that the user has previously visited. Websites that the user has not had contact with will not load cookies.

At the beginning of last month, a pre-build version known as Firefox Aurora was released to the public. Aurora is still in the alpha phase. Beta versions, including the new release of Firefox, will continue to allow third-party cookies, according to an update posted by Mozilla in its developer network.

Online ad publishers aren't very happy to hear Mozilla’s intentions to block third-party cookies. A number of these companies have said that cookies, besides being generally inoffensive, also assist with data theft protection and analytics that have nothing to do with advertising. This intended move by Mozilla would also create problems for small businesses that make the majority of their revenue through content advertisement and online services. The Interactive Advertising Bureau adds that online services and the consumer's own ability to manage his/her own privacy will be undermined. The organization wishes that Mozilla withdraw the changes to its browser.

Mozilla has its own concerns about blocking third-party cookies. One of the main problems with the new patch would be the blocking of third-party cookies that are sent from different domains of the same website.

While the organization works on trying to overcome the kinks in the software, it's already scheduled to release Firefox 22 by the end of June.




Edited by Rich Steeves
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