Fingerprinters collect information about the device you’re accessing the internet on and attempt to build up a profile of the device.
Mozilla’s Firefox will soon block Fingerprinters by default, removing another method companies use to track you across the internet.
As BleepingComputer reports, we’re currently on Firefox version 70, but when Firefox 72 arrives in January 2020, the browser’s Enhanced Tracking Protection feature will include Fingerprinters as part of its “Standard” protection, which is turned on by default. This change was first spotted by Techdows.
Fingerprinters are a particularly devious method of identifying you on the internet, as they do not require consent. They collect information about the device you’re accessing the internet on and attempt to build up a profile of the device, which can then be linked to the individual. In this way, the tracking isn’t broken even if you hide your IP address or switch web browsers.
Firefox has actually offered protection against fingerprinters since 2015 (version 41), but this is the first time Mozilla has decided to enable it by default.
If you want to enable Fingerprinter tracking protection right now in Firefox, navigate to Firefox’s options, click the Privacy & Security section, set Enhanced Tracking Protection to “Custom,” and click the Fingerprinters option. Alternatively, if you’re running the latest version of Firefox, it’s possible to select “Strict” mode on the same options screen, which blocks social media and cross-site trackers, cryptominers, and fingerprinters.
Earlier this year Mozilla committed to having Firefox block third-party tracking cookies by default and to add a privacy-focused translation feature to its browser. When Firefox 72 arrives early next year, Firefox’s privacy credentials will be improved once again.