back to article Mozilla testing very private browsing mode

The Mozilla Foundation has outlined plans for enhanced private browsing in its Firefox browser. The outfit thinks that “when you open a Private Browsing window in Firefox you’re sending a signal that you want more control over your privacy than current private browsing experiences actually provide.” How much more privacy? …

  1. AndyS

    Is this the same as what is currently achieved with a few plugins, while in Private mode? I'm all in favour of core functionality, which is currently provided by plugins, being incorporated into the parent software.

  2. Roq D. Kasba

    Sounds good to me

    If you are having a private browse, you actually want it to be private and not just swapping one set of trackers for another

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    real talk about privacy

    Sounds like what Privacy Badger, Adblock, and NoScript already does.

    If Mozilla wants to get real about privacy, they should implement a Tor Very Private Browsing Mode like they hinted they would. Or they have the millions needed to implement a completely different system like HORNET.

  4. GregC
    Thumb Up

    Works for me, too

    Plenty of advertising outfits rely on tracking and analytics services, so are not thrilled with Mozilla's plans as it's already no picnic turning a quid online.

    Don't care. Sorry, but if your business model relies on tracking me around the internet in order to spaff ads at me then your concerns do little to raise my give-a-shit-o-meter off zero.

    Then again ABP+hosts file+blocking third party cookies works fairly well for me.

    1. Stumpy Pepys

      Re: Works for me, too

      So you want to directly or indirectly pay for content somehow?

      1. GregC

        Re: Works for me, too

        Yep, and on the one site I use regularly that gives me the option I already do. I give them a tenner a year, they give me a "Remove advertising" option (among other subscriber features, but that's the one I'm interested in). If El Reg had a similar system in place I'd use it.

        I did ask the site admin whether, if all active users chose to subscribe, it would cover their costs. He reckoned probably, with a "define active" caveat.

      2. Billy Whiz

        Re: So you want to directly or indirectly pay for content somehow?

        Given a choice, directly, thank you. However that requires the content providers offering something worth paying for, which is where most weborhea 2.0 sites' business plan falls down.

      3. Phuq Witt
        Facepalm

        Re: Works for me, too

        "...So you want to directly or indirectly pay for content somehow?..."

        Original content, maybe.

        But I'd be curious to know how much of that there actually is out there. A very small percentage, I'd warrant. The vast majority of sites seem content to rehash the same press releases and wire stories as everyone else (and I'd include "A Site Not a Million Miles From Here©" in that) —although to be fair, at least ASNaMMFH© does at least make a bit of an effort to dollop a helping of 'Value-Added-Snark' on top.

        When's the last time you saw some genuinely original content online, that wasn't available in a zillion other places too? I've not much sympathy for the majority of site owners who apparently think their virtuosity on the Copy/Paste buttons merits an advertising income.

        1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Works for me, too

          Have an upvote for 'Value-Added-Snark'

        2. e^iπ+1=0

          Re: Works for me, too

          "When's the last time you saw some genuinely original content online, that wasn't available in a zillion other places too?"

          I'm thinking www.plagiarise - might make for a great new tld. Perfect get out - surely you realized we quote you??? - wtf !?! have you even heard of "fair use"?

      4. Lost In Clouds of Data
        FAIL

        Re: Works for me, too

        So you want to directly or indirectly pay for content somehow?

        And therein lies the issue. Even if one DOES pay there's still a shit tonne of web beacons out to grab every last mouse click and adverts waiting to drop poison ads onto your PC.

        I'd have no issue paying for something that provides original contents IF the adverts were static AND there were zero third party hooks and beacons out there.

        As it is, even paywall sites still have way too much fucking crud to make it worth my while.

        "Sure Mr Murdoch, I'll pay to read your shite whilst you still allow any fecker out there to track me and poisoned ads to fuck up my PC."

        Sounds like a deal to me...

      5. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Works for me, too

        The crapification of my PC/Laptop thanks to ads cost as well. Both in electricity, fan noise, slowdown, forcing to upgrade the hardware just to handle all the crap, and so on. So it's hardly free.

        What's the cost of being distracted by masses of animated crap?

        I installed NoScript in Firefox, and it transformed my laptop from unsable to pleasant. Just an example.

      6. F0rdPrefect

        Re: Works for me, too

        So you want to directly or indirectly pay for content somehow?

        They can do adverts, just don't try to target them as my business is my business.

        And anyway, the targeting is rubbish, when I have had to use unprotected computers at clients as it always seems to show adverts relating to things already bought.

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Re: Works for me, too

      it's already no picnic turning a quid online

      I think El Reg has acknowledged before that a significant percentage of its page impressions come from the entirely voluntary efforts of forum commentards. So this is probably not the best place to sound so entitled...

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Works for me, too

        How do you get "entitled" from that? It's a plain fact that supporting a site through advertising is hard work, if you want to do more than just cover the hosting costs.

    3. Jim 59

      Re: Works for me, too

      After 22 years of web browsing, I don't think I have ever intentionally clicked on an ad, paid any attention to ads or purchased anything as the result of an ad. Has anybody ?

      1. Phuq Witt
        Facepalm

        Re: Works for me, too

        "...After 22 years of web browsing, I don't think I have ever intentionally clicked on an ad, paid any attention to ads or purchased anything as the result of an ad. Has anybody ?..."

        Nope. Me neither.

        I really don't see the point of most adverts. OK. I know companies need to let us know they have a [new] product available, but beyond that?

        Celebrity Endorsements: Do they think anyone is so monumentally stupid that they believe zillionaire actors and actresses dye their own hair with some crap out of a bottle, or shop at Iceland, or wear some cheap'n'nasty, fiver a bottle aftershave?

        Sales Hype: OK. You've brought out a new computer, or camera, or whatever. I might be interested but, if I want an opinion about it, I'll read some warts'n'all independent reviews and form an opinion based on weighing up the pros and cons –not on the basis of the hyperbolic bullshit you put in your adverts, making it out to be only slightly less perfect than a pet unicorn which shits gold ingots.

      2. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: Works for me, too

        I admit I ocasionally did that (clicking ads), _just_ to help to pay for free content. Rate of finding things actually interesting for me: 1 item every 5 years, not a roaring success. Meanwhile adblock (together with privacy badger) works so good that I don't have the chance to do that any more.

      3. The Dude

        Re: Works for me, too

        Been using the web and running websites for 20 years and fidonet before that. Never bought anything from any advert, unless you count "review articles" on The Register as adverts.... in which case, I have. A few years ago, I did try funding some of my low-traffic "charity" websites with adverts, but it was more trouble than it was worth so I discontinued it. These days, I still run a boatload of freebie websites for good causes and nice people, and it's all "by donation". If they can donate, great - if they can't, then I still have a great hobby and a bunch of friendly "willing victims" to tell me when my latest brainstorm borks something. ;-)

      4. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Works for me, too

        I can't speak for anyone else, but that at least makes two of us!

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Works for me, too

        "I don't think I have ever intentionally clicked on an ad, paid any attention to ads or purchased anything as the result of an ad. Has anybody?"

        Seriously? Weren't you ever tempted by one of those 'vagina enhancement' ads?

    4. Joe Drunk
      Flame

      Re: Works for me, too

      Plenty of advertising outfits rely on tracking and analytics services, so are not thrilled with Mozilla's plans as it's already no picnic turning a quid online.

      The world's smallest violin is playing for all of you right now. You were wooed by the Powerpoint presentation filled with colorful charts/graphs/ and $$$$$ symbols. Host a website and you will rake in millions on the ad revenue. Host several and you will rake in billions. You will be another dot-com billionaire.

      People hate ads. The more intrusive, the more hated. I've seen kids on flash gaming websites, they can't close the ads fast enough. If you are in your car listening to the radio and an ad comes on, you switch stations. If you are watching the telly and an ad comes on, you use that opportunity to grab something from the fridge or use the loo. Oh dear, this isn't what the slick marketing snake oil salesman told me.

      I know exactly how much it costs to hosts a website with daily visitors in the millions and therefore aware of the associated costs and importance of ad revenue. This is nothing to do with helping pay for a website(s), this is about paying obscene executive salaries and fueling the corporate mentality of making as much money as possible as fast as possible by shoving ads down people's throats and then having the gall to feel indignant because I choose not to view/listen to your ads via adblocker/switching the station/muting the telly.

      1. Phuq Witt
        Thumb Up

        Re: Works for me, too

        "...f you are in your car listening to the radio and an ad comes on, you switch stations. If you are watching the telly and an ad comes on, you use that opportunity to grab something from the fridge or use the loo..."

        I also do this with those fuck-annoying Javascript overlays which every site seems to feel the need to throw in my face these days. You know the ones, where you start reading an article and suddenly some bloody dialogue box overlays the whole screen, asking you to 'subscribe' to something or other, or suchlike.

        ie. What he said

        I've also made a point of immediately "changing channels" when that happens and clicking off the sites in question. The sooner these feckers learn to stop forcing their unwanted dross in our faces, the better.

      2. Vic

        Re: Works for me, too

        People hate ads.

        That's true today, but hasn't always been the case. Remember the cheesy Gold Bend ads from the '80s with Sharon Maugham and Tony Head? People would actually sit and talk about those. There was a storyline...

        Modern advertising, however, just seems to want to take as much as possible from you without giving anything back. So it is resented...

        Vic.

    5. Greg D

      Re: Works for me, too

      Well said GregC.

      More often than not, I can deal without half the content I look at. They are mostly clickbait ad-servers anyway, which is a fucking lazy, 'cheap' way to make money. Fuck the fuck off with that bullshit. If this destroys a few incomes, good.

      I honestly don't think the internet will be any worse off for it.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Works for me, too

      A few other extensions that commentards might find useful, listed in my perceived order of how onerous people might find them to use. I haven't listed NoScript or YesScript because I don't use them... yet. Although amazon's CPU-hogging JS is sorely tempting me.

      Cookie Controller. Visibility of cookies and, probably more importantly these days, DOM storage. One of the few addons that actually gives visibility of DOM storage.

      Element Hiding Helper for ABP. What it says on the tin. Not just useful for blocking ads but also vaguely annoying bits of websites. (cough, theregister.co.uk###top_tease, cough theregister.co.uk##.article_img, cough)

      Flashblock. Protection from flash nasties if you still use flash, protection from autoplaying HTML5 bollockery if you ad blocker doesn't catch it.

      Ghostery. Automated blocking of most trackers.

      Privacy Badger. Automated blocking of most stuff that looks and behaves like a tracker.

      Self Destructing Cookies. Awesome extension this one, and one that doesn't seem to have gained much press. Unless you've explicitly whitelisted a site, as soon as you close the tab this extension will nuke all the cookies (and DOM storage) belonging to it. Care needs to be taken on first run however as it'll merrily delete all your cookies first and ask questions later; process is basically to restore them and then whitelist each site which is a bit back-asswards. But worth the effort to do so.

      RequestPolicy. Takes a fair bit of getting used to, but automatically blocks stuff loading from or being referred to third parties. Probably only second only to [No|Yes]Script in terms of being annoying to configure but relish in pages loading without pulling in twelvety hojillion JS files. For instance, this page is loading in stuff from regmedia.co.uk and theregister.com but ignoring crap from googletagservices.com, admedo.com, google-analytics.com, dpmsrv.com and technojobs.co.uk.

    7. John Tserkezis

      Re: Works for me, too

      "give-a-shit-o-meter"

      Love it!

    8. e^iπ+1=0

      Re: Works for me, too

      "Then again ABP+hosts file+blocking third party cookies works fairly well for me."

      Might I add 'Plus ghostery plus noscript plus separate browser instance on occasion'.

  5. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Trollface

    So...

    When you open Mozilla's new privacy mode, will it shut down Windows 10?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So...

      When you open Mozilla's new privacy mode, will it shut down Windows 10?

      In all seriousness, I'm hoping for a simple to use third party privacy tool for W10 that will stop Microsoft deciding what I can and can't run (including the privacy tool, natch), block all feedback and data leakage to their servers, and kill off all the other privacy destroying aspects of W10.

      I acknowledge that I may have a long wait, but if that's the case maybe maybe I just need to abandon Microsoft altogether. Steam is available on Linux, after all....

      1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: So...

        "I'm hoping for a simple to use third party privacy tool for W10 that will stop Microsoft deciding what I can and can't run (including the privacy tool, natch), block all feedback and data leakage to their servers, and kill off all the other privacy destroying aspects of W10."

        This would be the first thing MS shut down remotely.

      2. Steve Graham
        Linux

        Re: So...

        Come to the Dark Side. We have candy. (And penguins.)

        1. Lost In Clouds of Data
          Happy

          Re: So...

          Only if you have Candy eating Penguins there as well (or the inverse as well)

      3. Tony Paulazzo
        Mushroom

        Re: So...

        Dunno if this helps...

        Privacy settings - background apps - disable all of them

        Turning off Settings -> System -> Notifications and actions -> "Show me tips about Windows" - disable

        Settings - Diagnostic and usage data: Basic

        Regedit - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\DataCollection

        There you need to create a new a 32-bit DWORD value named AllowTelemetry and set it to 0.

        Services.msc (disable these) - Diagnostics Tracking Service / dmwappushsvc

        HOST File

        #Windows 10 Privacy Blocker#

        0.0.0.0 vortex.data.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 vortex-win.data.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 telecommand.telemetry.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 telecommand.telemetry.microsoft.com.nsatc.net

        0.0.0.0 oca.telemetry.microsoft.com

        0..0.0.0 oca.telemetry.microsoft.com.nsatc.net

        0.0.0.0 sqm.telemetry.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 sqm.telemetry.microsoft.com.nsatc.net

        0.0.0.0 watson.telemetry.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 watson.telemetry.microsoft.com.nsatc.net

        0.0.0.0 redir.metaservices.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 choice.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 choice.microsoft.com.nsatc.net

        0.0.0.0 df.telemetry.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 reports.wes.df.telemetry.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 wes.df.telemetry.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 services.wes.df.telemetry.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 sqm.df.telemetry.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 telemetry.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 watson.ppe.telemetry.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 telemetry.appex.bing.net

        0.0.0.0 telemetry.urs.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 telemetry.appex.bing.net:443

        0.0.0.0 settings-sandbox.data.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 vortex-sandbox.data.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 survey.watson.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 watson.live.com

        0.0.0.0 watson.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 statsfe2.ws.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 corpext.msitadfs.glbdns2.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 compatexchange.cloudapp.net

        0.0.0.0 cs1.wpc.v0cdn.net

        0.0.0.0 a-0001.a-msedge.net

        0.0.0.0 statsfe2.update.microsoft.com.akadns.net

        0.0.0.0 diagnostics.support.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 corp.sts.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 statsfe1.ws.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 pre.footprintpredict.com

        0.0.0.0 i1.services.social.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 i1.services.social.microsoft.com.nsatc.net

        0.0.0.0 feedback.windows.com

        0.0.0.0 feedback.microsoft-hohm.com

        0.0.0.0 feedback.search.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 bingads.microsoft.com

        0.0.0.0 www.bingads.microsoft.com

        #End Windows 10 Privacy Blocker#

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: So...

          Aren't you afraid you'll block the important security updates that are likely using the same channels?

  6. DJO Silver badge

    Good thinking, Advertisers

    "Plenty of advertising outfits rely on tracking and analytics services, so are not thrilled with Mozilla's plans as it's already no picnic turning a quid online."

    Right so they think that if I set up my system to exclude adverts, if they manage to get one through then I'll rush to spend all my money with them while obviously in reality if an advert gets through my reaction is far more towards "I'll never ever buy a thing from these stupid bastards".

    How come they haven't worked that out yet? Do they understand the word "Counterproductive"?

    I realise they need to get information about their services or products out into the wild but forcing it down the throats of disinterested consumers is pretty dumb.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good thinking, Advertisers

      Who buys from these click-bait sites anyway? I mean, when was the last time you bought a Russian Bride?

      1. Irongut
        Joke

        Re: Good thinking, Advertisers

        I bought two last week. They're very tasty with roast potatoes and gravy.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good thinking, Advertisers

        About 10 years ago, it's how I got my wife :-). I spend all my money on her, heck she spends my wages quicker than I do! So I suppose I did "buy" my russian bride and am still paying off the loan.

        Anon because she sees everything and will give me a whack on the head with her favourite throwing shoe if she read this.. she done it several times before due to other things I said haha!

      3. John Tserkezis

        Re: Good thinking, Advertisers

        "Who buys from these click-bait sites anyway? I mean, when was the last time you bought a Russian Bride?"

        Steve from Family Guy clicked on one that said "Russian Binoculars" and received a mail-order bride instead.

        If it can happen in fiction, it can happen in real life.

  7. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Back to the Future: Ads without tracking

    I'm sure that, once upon a time, advertisers just put ads on pages. Everyone who viewed the page got the same ad. Advertisers had to decide which pages were most likely to be viewed by their target audience.

    This worked.

    Sure it was *less* effective than planting a zillion cookies and then delivering a different ad to every person who views a page, based on their entire browsing history, current location (GPS says "bog", send some porn) and credit rating. But we tolerated it. Ad-blockers only really became mainstream when advertisers became indistinguishable from aliens with anal probes.

    1. Filippo

      Re: Back to the Future: Ads without tracking

      Yeah. Let's not forget that this isn't about killing advertisers; it's simply about not giving them my entire profile. They won't go out of business just because they can't know exactly what kind of porn I'm viewing. Especially if the changes affect all advertisers equally.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Back to the Future: Ads without tracking

      Advertisers had to decide which pages were most likely to be viewed by their target audience.

      There's an old saying in the ad biz along the lines of "I know 50% of my advertising spend works. The problem is I don't know which 50%". This is why there is so much tracking tech applied to online advertising.

  8. Yugguy

    I'm in

    No more irrelevant ads targeted at mind-blowingly annoying yoofs?

    No I don't want a fucking coke zero you skinny little twat.

    SIGN ME UP.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm in

      No more irrelevant ads targeted at mind-blowingly annoying yoofs?

      You wish. Look at the incompetence of either Google or Amazon. Amazon in particular have a VERY good idea of what I buy, but still push adverts for stuff I bought months ago, and won't need again for years. Google have a pretty good idea of what I have probably bought, but make things worse by assuming that anything somebody in the house has searched on might be something I might want to buy. You can imagine what turns up after the wife has been Googling to verify a phrase or activity from the Profanisaurus.

      This is an arms race between the public and the web marketers, and technologically the marketers CAN win, I suspect, simply because the web intermediaries want them to, and because the paid for development of spamming and placement will have far greater resource than largely freeware privacy tools. But in "brand" terms they are guaranteed to lose if they continue the escalation, because they will so thoroughly alienate customers. Sony's rootkit mess up shows how technical extravagance leads to shame and failure, and that is the ghost of Christmas future for the web marketing industry.

      1. Steve Graham

        Re: I'm in

        I've got a screen grab where Amazon recommended me "Pigs Ears 50 Quality whole ears Top Quality 100% Natural dog treets" (sic) because I'd bought "Authentic Indian Spice Spoons".

        Artificial intelligence at its awesome best.

        1. Esme

          Re: I'm in

          At work, I carefully did my best to block advertisers as much as possible, and wondered how long it'd take some of 'em to get some kind of handle on who I am and what I might be interested in. It took about 3 months, then all of a sudden I started seeing ads for lingerie suitable for a much younger (and thinner, damnit!) woman, and, of all things, red diesel. Not sure what they think I'm going to do with red diesel, I don't even drive. By now, yes, I'm getting a random selection of all sorts, but just recently, I've been bemused by ads trying to interest me in online paper dolls (?! Never was interested in paper dolls even when I was a child) .

          IMO the only thing online advertising achieves is it keeps online advertisers in a job. Doesn't affect my spending in any way shape or form. Website reviews do, somewhat. Annoying advertising just makes it a certainty I won't buy something.

        2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: I'm in

          Yes! When I buy something big from Amazon, or a google-analitics using site, invariably both companies then spend a few weeks targetting me with ads for equivalents of the very same product!

      2. Yugguy

        Re: I'm in

        "You wish. Look at the incompetence of either Google or Amazon. Amazon in particular have a VERY good idea of what I buy, but still push adverts for stuff I bought months ago, and won't need again for years. Google have a pretty good idea of what I have probably bought, but make things worse by assuming that anything somebody in the house has searched on might be something I might want to buy"

        Aye, this is what I get too, especially off Google.

  9. Irongut

    no picnic turning a quid online

    Aww is El Reg worried about the 9 trackers on the article page?

    I already have them blocked. How about serving some ads without the creepy stalker tech?

  10. Tuesday Is Soylent Green Day

    Turning that quid

    "it's already no picnic turning a quid online"

    You mean there's no money in branded coffee mugs and t-shirts?

    1. The Dude

      Re: Turning that quid with t-shirts

      Maybe... maybe not. Some years ago, I tried the T-shirt sales angle on some websites and got nothing for my trouble except grief from some weirdo fanatics who strenuously objected to the t-shirt model not wearing a bra. Silly me, I thought the fanatic women's libber types wanted to burn those undergarments anyhow.

  11. Sir Sham Cad

    Performance issues

    I'm actually pretty good at just ignoring any advert that gets shoved in front of my browser-watching face (and I don't begrudge site owners taking money from advertisers who can't suss out that I don't need two microwave ovens) but my ancient laptop at home with a Celeron processor from Ye Olde Intelle circa 1753 (well, 2004) that tries to render this shit in the browser and run the browser session (quaint ideas like scrolling) cannot ignore it. Facebook I'm looking at you.

    Yes, ABP, NoScript etc... would help but that still requires my vastly underpowered machine to run those plugins. If I could get that functionality in the browser session only I'd be a happy man. The additional benefit of making it harder for Zuckooglezon to track my every search term is a very welcome but secondary consideration.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Performance issues

      You could try Midori or Qupzilla for browsing - they both include built-in adblockers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Performance issues

      http://www.dillo.org/

    3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Performance issues

      The overhead of NoScript is nothing compared to actually runing the Java Script form the admalware sites. Try it! It blocks everything initially, and you open up things gradually so only what you want works.

  12. Werner McGoole

    Not so sure about this

    Maybe this'll all turn out good, but I'm not sure that's guaranteed. Companies that get interested in security frequently go down a well-trodden path where they keep adding defences against more and more threats, becoming a jack of all trades. And in the process they duplicate facilities that are already available from others (as add-ons in the case of Firefox), often in an inferior and incompatible way.

    So I'm not optimistic that Firefox can out-ghostery Ghostery, or out-adblock AdBlock Plus, etc. But I am confident that they can make idiotic design decisions while attempting to do so and make it considerably harder for these exiting add-ons to continue.

    Add-ons have the distinct advantage that you can easily swap between them. So when AdBlock Plus started selling its soul to certain "approved" advertisers, there was AdBlock Edge to move to. Now imagine what'll happen when (not if) Mozilla changes things the way you don't like. It'll be take it or leave it, like with all their random UI changes.

    For my money, the correct approach is to work with the add-on suppliers to make their job easy by exposing the necessary internals, fixing the bugs that plague them and not continually changing features they depend on. And I include the Tor bunch as "suppliers" as I'm sure they could tell Mozilla a thing or three about the tracking risks baked into its browser.

    Please, Firefox devs, concentrate on your core competence and give us a reliable, fast, stable and standards-compliant browser and recognise that you need others to help you with many of the extras - and that you need to make their life easier.

  13. Robert Grant

    Remember the storm of criticism about MS enable DoNotTrack by default?

    Glad to see much more extreme unilateral measures being given the same treatment.

    1. GregC

      Re: Remember the storm of criticism about MS enable DoNotTrack by default?

      Completely different circumstances. MS were making DoNotTrack=1 a default setting (which, incidentally, I personally had no problem with at all).

      Mozilla are talking about making Private Browsing mode (which is not on by default, and has to be specifically activated by the user) more effective.

      These are not the same thing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        Re: Remember the storm of criticism about MS enable DoNotTrack by default?

        When will they make it the default?

  14. Adam Inistrator

    your personal browse id

    I always assumed that you can probably already be identified with 99% certainty from your browser characteristics and ip number so cookies are not required really anymore. they are just the sugar on the cake if you allow them.

    https://panopticlick.eff.org/

    the only safety I can think of is for your browser to automatically retrieve all links from whatever you browser to confuse the trackers

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: your personal browse id

      But that wastes bandwidth that may be on a budget. Furthermore, the IP doesn't change unless you run through a proxy, making it an identifier in itself. The trick is making sure the IP isn't reassigned in the meantime, which is why you need other IDs. That's why ISP injections are so sneaky: they're guaranteed unique-to-user. I'm surprised sites haven't tried the technique of injecting GUID's directly into the URLs (making it pure baseline HTTP) and matching them to IPs so that they can be reattached if they're removed at some point. If the GUIDs are made into virtual server-side folders they'd be virtually bulletproof (remove them and you end up with 404s).

  15. DaddyHoggy

    Will this be available of Firefox for Smartphones and, if it is, will it counteract what's going on in the other article on El Reg that I've just read in which the exact opposite of this is happening?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/17/tracking_supercookies_spreading/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      not possible

      Because this is being inserted after the packets leave your device and before then exit your provider's network.

      Is there a maximum length for an http header? If so, you could stuff if full and their additional cookie would either be ignored, or break it.*

      * I found this on stackoverflow:

      ------------------------------

      As vartec says above, the HTTP spec does not define a limit, however many servers do by default. This means, practically speaking, the lower limit is 8K. For most servers, this limit applies to the sum of the request line and ALL header fields (so keep your cookies short).

      Apache 2.0, 2.2: 8K

      nginx: 4K - 8K

      IIS: varies by version, 8K - 16K

      Tomcat: varies by version, 8K - 48K (?!)

      It's worth noting that nginx uses the system page size by default, which is 4K on most systems

      ------------------------------

      So, if you know what you're doing, you can certainly screw with them, but the chances of it breaking things is probably rather high, and of course, 5k-17k packets are going to be fragmented every time.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But does it block the java script too?

    Google analytics?

    Facebook.net?

    And all of those other noxious little scripts that feed back analytic data to third party sites?

    You want to crush Google? Start by removing google analytics from your pages.

    Oh wait, do that and you'll drop in their page ranks....

    (cue the anti-trust brigade...)

    1. cd

      Re: But does it block the java script too?

      If you aren't trying to make money off your site, block Google's bots from indexing it. Their model only works if your motivation fits into their manipulation model. Very interesting having a "private" public website.

      1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

        Re: But does it block the java script too?

        What? If you want your site to be found by interested parties, 'vanishing' it in search machines doesn't quite make sense.

        1. Captain DaFt

          Re: But does it block the java script too?

          "What? If you want your site to be found by interested parties, 'vanishing' it in search machines doesn't quite make sense."

          You know how it used to be done before Google 'sanitised' the web?

          Link pages and web rings.

          If you were interested in something, and found a site, it was always linked to other sites by these to other, similar sites.

          The web was more of a community back then, instead of monetised virtual real estate.

          Try joining a web ring* or putting a link page on your site these days, and count the minutes before Google smacks you down.

          *Yes, they still exist. Not every site is a slave to Google.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: But does it block the java script too?

            "If you were interested in something, and found a site, it was always linked to other sites by these to other, similar sites."

            But then you had to FIND the one site in the first place, creating a Chicken-and-Egg problem.

  17. Greg D
    Thumb Up

    I like! Is nice!

    Where's the Borat icon?

    Sounds almost like what I'm achieving through ad-block plus and NoScript, but supported natively.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's legal

    It's legal but only if copies of all the p0rn you watch are sent to NSA for appreciation..

  19. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Payback

    El Reg is one of the few sites I'd consider paying for. But no way am I turning off ABP etc.

  20. earl grey Silver badge
    Flame

    there are more rats in the woodpile

    and one of them is computing how much estimated loss web-sites have from ad-blockers and is telling them that THEY will be able to deliver ads and get around the ad-blockers. Seriously, these wankers are in for a rude awakening.

  21. GrumpenKraut Silver badge

    Suggestion: "Show me some ads"

    What about this: instead of infesting your pages with ads, have a "Show me some ads" clicky for opening a page with... just ads. If the Reg would do that, I'll click it and the one or two most appealling ad(s) any day I visit.

    Is there a technical reason against it?

    1. The Dude

      Re: Suggestion: "Show me some ads"

      No technical reason, and might be a very good idea. People do read the classified ads in the newspaper, even though it's easy not to.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Suggestion: "Show me some ads"

        But its so much fun. Haven't you ever listened to the 'pina-colada song'?

        I don't actually hate ads, I hate distracting ads. You know, the kind that overlay, play audio/video, blink, scroll, etc. If an ad was a block of text (that didn't look like a circus poster), i wouldn't mind at all.

        I don't watch much tv, and the tv I do watch contains cigarette breaks (the networks call them commercials) and bathroom breaks (the networks aslo call these commmercials) and food breaks (yes, still called commercials.) I don't typically drink beer, but Dos Equis' commercials are entertaining. I'm old enough to remember at least some Burma Shave signs, they were catchy and you knew how it was going to end as soon as you saw the first one, but you paid attention every 100 yards.

  22. John Tserkezis

    My take on advertising.

    I intentionally block every from of ad anywhere. Even on stuff I obtain from TV gets post processed with commercial breaks removed.

    However, we need ads. We wouldn't be able to buy crap without them.

    The best form of advertising for me, is a well structured and informative website. I want information AND A FECKING MANUAL for the crap I'm buying, because, if I don't know what I'm buying, I WON'T BUY IT. If some of the dodgy eBay sellers can get this right, SO CAN YOU. It's not hard!

    I don't want popups. They went out in the 80's, and rightly deserve to stay there.

    I want prices ON YOUR FUCKING WEB PAGE. I'm not always looking for the cheapest prices, there are pros and cons here people. "Please call" doesn't fly with me, I have better things to do than make phone calls just to find out there is a local agent that charges $600 to freight a USB dongle within my city.

    Have a "Contact Us" link THAT RESULTS IN A HUMAN CONTACTING YOU IN A REASONABLE TIME AND ACTUALLY BE HELPFUL.

    Best of all for me, I use a GreaseMonkey script called Google Hit Hider, that removes selected google finds that don't know how to advertise themselves in a useful way. I will never see you again. Good riddance. THAT'S how I do my shopping. Deal with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My take on advertising.

      ""Please call" doesn't fly with me, I have better things to do than make phone calls just to find out there is a local agent that charges $600 to freight a USB dongle within my city."

      You do know some vendors insist on "Please Call" or "Check Your Cart" due to competition concerns which get spelled out in sales contracts that stipulate prices cannot be published in broad. If you don't like it, then no deal for you. But if it's the ONLY way to roll, it's Take It Or Leave It: you either dive in or you go without.

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