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Firefox ETP: A Primer on the Browser’s Privacy Enhancements

Published: September 25, 2019

Author: Shane Danaher

What is it?

ETP stands for Enhanced Tracking Protection. Mozilla (the organization that develops and maintains the Firefox web browser) has worked variations of ETP into its last several versions, with the intention of providing greater privacy protection to its users. The technology provides several tools meant to enhance user privacy, most notably an aggressive stance towards third-party cookies.

When does it take effect?

Firefox has automatically enabled ETP for all desktop and Android versions as of September 3, 2019. The change took effect with the rollout of v69.0 of the browser.

What does ETP do?

  • Blocks third-party tracking cookies
    • Mozilla relies on a list of tracking technologies maintained by Disconnect to determine which cookies have tracking abilities, then blocks offenders
  • Blocks cryptomining cookies
    • Mozilla uses Disconnect’s list of cookies associated with cryptomining malware to block access to these technologies
  • Blocks device fingerprinting
    • Users who elect to run ETP in ‘Strict Mode’ will be able to block scripts that attempt to take a snapshot of their computers’ settings for use in identifying them later on

Responses for marketers

Much like WebKit’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention, Firefox’s ETP compromises the quality of data gathered with third-party cookies. Marketers should expect to rely more heavily on first-party data. For cases in which persisting information outside of a first-party cookie is absolutely necessary, developers can employ the browser’s local storage feature to keep track of these values.

Further reading

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