Mozilla just built an ad blocker into Firefox
Mozilla takes the job of protecting your privacy very seriously. Sometimes, it seems, the job requires causing a little collateral damage — like killing web-based ads.
A brand new Developer version of Firefox has been released, and it includes our first real look at Mozilla’s enhanced tracking protection features. So far, it looks like a major change from the woefully ineffective Do Not Track. The new tracking protection is so effective, in fact, that if you fire it up on a website there’s a good chance that you’ll see it ad-free.
Ad networks and content providers didn’t like it one bit when Microsoft decided to turn Do Not Track support on by default in Internet Explorer. If that move ruffled their feathers, you can bet they’ll be absolutely outraged to see their ads broken by the new tracking protection in Firefox.
I swear Woot used to display ads over that “advertisement” text.
In Mozilla’s defense, this is only a rough draft. It’s only live in the Developer and Aurora builds of Firefox, and it’s currently meant as an enhancement for the browser’s private browsing mode. Mozilla’s making the assumption (a safe one) that if you’ve consciously clicked in to a private window that you really, really want your privacy respected. The hardcore, block-everything tracking protection may not ever make its way into the non-private Firefox browsing windows.
And since it’s still very early in the development process, Mozilla has plenty of fine tuning to do. Some of which may involve figuring out how to effectively block tracking without blocking the actual ads. Then again, they may have decided to throw down the gauntlet since their last collaboration attempt intended to help users avoid unwanted tracking was battered into complete uselessness.
Between Mozilla and the EFF’s new dream team, maybe someone will finally come up with a system that works. One that respects our privacy while still allowing publishers (like us) to display the revenue-generating ads that keep their sites running.