Taking another step towards user security, Mozilla has now announced one more protection feature. Following the release of Firefox 79, Mozilla will soon roll out the redirect tracking protection feature to users.
Firefox To Launch Redirect Tracking Protection
As announced in a recent post, Mozilla will soon release redirect tracking protection to Firefox users.
Regarding redirect tracking, Mozilla explained that it’s a technique employed by websites to circumvent third-party cookie blocking.
Redirect trackers work by forcing you to make an imperceptible and momentary stopover to their website as part of that journey. So instead of navigating directly…, you end up navigating to the redirect tracker first rather than to the retailer. This means that the tracker is loaded as a first-party and therefore is allowed to store cookies.
Briefly, when a user visits a website, for instance, a product review website, and then decide to buy the product, then clicking on the link should ideally take the user to the target retail website.
However, with redirect tracking in place, a tracker does not directly take the user to the review website. Rather it first redirects to the tracker’s website where the cookies would load as first-party. Since the tracker saves the users’ intended destination, after placing the cookies, the tracker then redirects the user to the relevant retail site.
All of this happens very quickly without the user knowing. Also, hovering over the product’s link will not show any redirects, rather it will display the retail website’s link. So, the user remains ignorant of the tracking. Whereas the tracker will continue to track the users’ activities for all websites using it, eventually tracking across the web.
How Will It Work?
Following the release of Firefox 79, Mozilla has introduced Enhanced Tracking Protection 2.0, where it includes redirect tracking protection.
With ETP 2.0, Firefox will clear cookies and site data stored by trackers after every 24 hours. In this way, it fights back long-term user profiling.
This will typically work for tracking cookies, and won’t affect non-tracking sites.
Moreover, to prevents the users from logging out of various sites due to cookie clearing, Firefox will put a 45-day exception for trackers that a user directly interacts with. As explained,
The sites you visit and interact with regularly will continue to work as expected, while the invisible “redirect” trackers will have their storage regularly cleared.
Mozilla has shared the details about how it will work on MDN.
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