The next version of the Mozilla Firefox browser may offer an ‘even more private’ browsing mode that would block a wider range of website elements used to monitor and record web users’ browsing behaviour.
The new features are currently being beta-tested and will be rolled into a new private browsing feature in future Firefox builds running on Windows, Mac, Linux and Android.
“We’re experimenting with new features in pre-beta versions of Firefox… to offer more control over your privacy, including updated Private Browsing ready for pre-beta testing,” explained the organisation in a blog posting.
“All major browsers offer some form of experience that is labelled ‘private’ but this is typically intended to solve the “local” privacy case, namely preventing others on a shared computer from seeing traces of your online activity,” it continued.
Firefox will also offer more control over what is and isn’t blocked in its private browsing mode.
“The experimental Private Browsing enhancements ready for testing today actively block website elements that could be used to record user behaviour across sites. This includes elements like content, analytics, social and other services that might be collecting data without your knowledge.
“In some cases, websites might appear broken when elements that track behaviour are blocked, but you can always unblock these if you want to view the website normally. Private Browsing in pre-beta Firefox also has a Control Center that contains important site security and privacy controls in a single place.”
At the same time, Mozilla is also working on improving the security of add-ons, extensions to browsers intended to provide extra functions, in a bid to reduce browser hijacking arising from malicious third-party add-ons.
“Add-ons may have the ability to create unwanted toolbars or buttons, collect information, change your search settings or inject ads or malware into your device. We’ve worked with developers and created a process that attempts to verify that add-ons installed in Firefox meet the guidelines and criteria we’ve developed to ensure they’re safer for you.
“Starting with this release, add-on verification is enforced by default in pre-beta Firefox. Users who understand the risks of unverified add-ons can disable this.”