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Mozilla adds 'Total Cookie Protection' to its browser

The new function will separate cookies into a "cookie jar" and prevent user tracking

Mozilla's Firefox browser has added an additional layer of privacy that restricts third-party cookies.

'Total Cookie Protection' will limit the ability of websites to read cookies created by third-party services, Mozilla said. 

Specifically, access to any given cookie will be restricted to the website that attached it to a user's browser, essentially preventing it from being readable by other websites that the user visits. Mozilla has described the feature as a separate "cookie jar" for each website, where deposited cookies will be prevented from linking up user behaviour from site to site, essentially blocking the 'tracking' element of cookies

"No other websites can reach into the cookie jars that don't belong to them and find out what the other websites' cookies know about you," Mozilla said in a blog post. "This approach strikes the balance between eliminating the worst privacy properties of third-party cookies - in particular the ability to track you - and allowing those cookies to fulfil their less invasive use cases (e.g. to provide accurate analytics)."

The feature is part of an ongoing privacy drive from Mozilla that still allows Firefox to support the various forms of ad blocking. However, it is in stark contrast to Chrome as Google said in 2020 that it would phase out third-party cookies within two years. That has been pushed back to 2023 following concerns from the Competition and Markets Authority over user privacy. 

It's important to remember that cookies are merely a mechanism for extracting users' data and that their demise won't end third-party tracking. The digital ad market will simply find a new way to do so - potentially another disruptive technology. 

When describing the need for greater cookie protection, Mozilla used examples of the technologies misuse, particularly tracking. Facebook's digital tracking of student loan applications was cited in the blog post.

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