Firefox to Start Blocking Third-Party Tracking Cookies by Default

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By Akemi Iwaya on February 26th, 2013

During the first week of April Mozilla will introduce a patch into the dev release of Firefox 22 that will block third-party cookies by default. The move is meant to help better protect users’ privacy from advertising networks who add cookies to browsers and track browsing habits across the web.

Garbage Can and Chocolate Chip Cookie clip art courtesy of

From the H Open’s blog post: The policy is slightly more nuanced in that Firefox will accept third-party cookies from sites which have created a cookie for themselves when the user has previously visited them. But this policy will potentially see cookies from advertising networks that are used to track the browsing habits of users being blocked, as it is unlikely a user will have visited the advertising networks directly.

While some advertisers are already up in arms over the announcement, Firefox is not the first browser to have this ‘feature’ built in. Apple’s Safari browser has had the ‘feature’ for approximately 10 years now, so the idea is far from new.

If the idea of third-party cookies tracking you across the web bothers you, then you can easily disable them manually in Firefox by going to Options, selecting the Privacy Section, and deselecting the option to Accept third-party cookies. Once that is done click OK and close the Options Window.

Opera Users: Go to the Menu Button, then Settings, select Preferences, click on the Advanced Tab, then select Cookies on the left hand side. The default setting will be Accept cookies, but select Accept cookies only from the site I visit and click OK.

Internet Explorer Users: Go to the Tools Menu (or Gear Icon depending on your version of IE), click on Internet Options, and when the window appears click on the Privacy Tab. Make sure that the slider in the top half of the window is set to Medium (Blocks third-party cookies that save information, etc) and click OK when done if you needed to make any changes.

Chrome Users: Go to the browser’s menu and select Settings. Once the tab opens scroll down until you see the clickable Show advanced settings text at the bottom. From there click on the Content settings Button in the Privacy Section and the cookies settings will be at the top of the pop-up window. The default setting is Allow local data to be set (recommended). Add a checkmark to the Block third-party cookies and site data option, then click Done.

You can learn more about the upcoming browser patch by visiting the links below…

Read the Official Mozilla Announcement

[via The H Open and CNET News]

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 02/26/13
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