Firefox is my favourite browser. (You can read more about why here.)
One of my favourite features of Firefox is that it lets you (relatively) easily block companies from tracking your every movement around the web.
Although I feel too guilty about using an ad blocker on the web, on the basis that it deprives websites of advertising revenue, I feel quite within my rights to use tracking protection. The message I’m sending to advertisers and websites is that “you can show me advertising, as long as it’s not creepy!”. Once you activate the feature it’s amazing how many ads are blocked.
I won’t get into it in this post, but there are many reasons why advertisers and others using creepy tracking technology to follow your every movement on the web is a really bad idea. If you want to know more, I suggest you have a look at Don Marti’s blog.
The feature is very much still in development, so you can’t just go into the normal “preferences” section of Firefox to enable it. Hence I thought I would write a small guide in case there were people out there who either didn’t know the feature existed, or didn’t know how to turn it on.
How to activate tracking protection in Firefox
Step 1: Open a new tab and type “about:config” into the URL/address bar. (Handy tip: press “Ctrl” + “L” to focus Firefox on the address bar quickly.)
Step 2: Press “I’ll be careful, I promise” button.
Step 3: This list of text looks a bit scary, but you don’t have to be an expert to turn on tracking protection! In the search bar at the top of the page type in “tracking”. Find the line which says “privacy.trackingprotection.enabled”. The default state is for it to show “false” in the value column. Double click on the row, and it should become bolded and the value should change to “true”.
You can click on the shield for more information. In rare cases, tracking protection can break pages on the web. For instance, I’ve found sometimes embedded videos sometimes don’t load with tracking protection enabled. If you think tracking protection is causing problems, you can disable it on a site-by-site basis by clicking under the options “Disable protection for this site”.