Firefox will “clean” URLs to improve privacy

Fortunately, privacy matters to more users every day. At Mozilla they are aware of this and, consequently, Firefox has added, in version 102, a function that supposes a great safeguard in this sense, and that we can see in the list of novelties that are added in this version. A function that is described in a single line of text:

«Firefox now mitigates query parameter tracking when navigating sites in ETP strict mode.»

And what does this mean? Very simple, surely on some occasion, when you look at the address bar or at the address to which a link points, have you found something like this:

A bit of a strange URL, right? Is there a resource called “fbclid=kldjlHLu8973Kj7gnonayfoen359fjfufhon”? As you may have already guessed, the answer is no. That “chorizo” is nothing more than a unique tracking code, a resource that allows websites and other services to carry out personalized tracking of a specific user. A method that makes it easy to trace a user’s movements over the Internet, and is commonly used by services such as Facebook.

The new feature of Firefox, as you have surely already deduced, is able to identify this type of identifiers or beacons, and remove them when requesting a resource from your server. In other words, if you click on a link like the one in the example, Firefox will load the home page, but without indicating the subsequent text string when establishing said connection. In this way, we will be able to browse with more peace of mind, knowing that the “enriched” URL is not telling the server we are accessing who we are.

firefox "will clean" URLs to improve privacy

In the first implementation of this feature, Firefox will protect us from beacons from the following websites:

  • Olytics: oly_enc_id=, oly_anon_id=
  • Drip: __s=
  • true: vero_id=
  • Hub Spot: _hsenc=
  • Marketo: mkt_tok=
  • Facebook: fbclid=, mc_eid=

As I indicated before, the case of Facebook is probably the most paradigmatic, by extension (that’s why I used it in the example), but the rest of the services also have a large presence on the network, so the automatic removal of their trackers It can also be useful to us.

This Firefox feature is activated when selecting the Strict mode of the Enhanced Tracking Protection. To activate it, access the Firefox settings, go to the “Privacy & Security” section and, at the top of it, you will find this protection mode, in which you can choose Standard, Strict or Custom, a mode that allows you to adjust manually the parameters of this protection.

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