Mozilla has offered web surfers a more private browsing experience in the latest version of its Firefox web browser.

The development comes amid growing consumer awareness of the online tracking habits employed by third parties and indeed certain intelligence services.

Tracking Protection

The newly launched Firefox 42 includes a new feature in the Firefox Private Browsing option that is called Tracking Protection. This gives the user control over what data third parties receive from their online surfing.

Mozilla provided the following video to explain the new feature.

It should be noted that the Private Browsing option in Firefox has been around for years now, and it gives a user greater privacy by not saving the browser history and cookies when he or she closes a private window.

But until now, surfing the web could have resulted in users unwittingly sharing information about with third parties, even when using Firefox’s Private Browsing option.

“The Private Browsing with Tracking Protection in Firefox for Windows, Mac, Android and Linux actively blocks content like ads, analytics trackers and social share buttons that may record your behaviour without your knowledge across sites,” said Mozilla.

“With the release of Tracking Protection in Firefox Private Browsing we are leading the industry by giving you control over the data that third parties receive from you online,” blogged Nick Nguyen, VP of Firefox Product. “No other browser’s Private Browsing mode protects you the way Firefox does – not Chrome, not Safari, not Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer.”

“We’re also introducing a new Control Center in Firefox that contains site security and privacy controls in a single place in your address bar,” blogged Nguyen. “Since some Web pages may appear broken when elements that track behaviour are blocked, we’ve made it easy to turn off Tracking Protection in Private Browsing for a particular site using the Control Center.

Ad Blocking

The development comes amid growing consumer awareness of online privacy.

In September Apple added support for ad-blocking apps in iOS 9, and it has also removed more than 200 apps from its App Store that were found to be using forbidden calls to access and store personal user information, such as device ID numbers and Apple Ids.

The open-source project Adblock Plus, the mobile extension that blocks annoying online adverts, also recently returned to Android and Apple devices as well.

In July, a Canadian university study has found that using the Adblock Plus browser extension could save between 25 and 40 percent network bandwidth if deployed across an internal enterprise network.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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