The newest version of the Firefox browser will block third-party cookies by default, a seemingly tiny tweak that signals a major shift in the on-going conflict between online advertisers and Internet users tired of the barrage of marketing blasting through their screens every day.
Firefox 22 is following the lead of Apple’s Safari browser, which edited their programming to also block advertising cookies years ago.
The changes come to the cheers of many users and to the outrage of many marketing insiders.
Mozilla claims the cookie-blocking is in answer to complaints about marauding cookies. Firefox users have even listed “Block cookies from sites I haven't visited” as an official “bug” on Bugzilla, the company’s crowdsourced tech support site.
With a free product and their commitment to an open Internet, the changes are in character for Mozilla (they are technically a nonprofit).
Jonathan Mayer, a Stanford grad student who is responsible for the new piece of programming for the latest Firefox version, discussed the update on his blog (his personal views do not speak for Mozilla).
Mayer detailed how the cookie-blocking will work, both for Firefox users and websites.
Mayer does not see the new default cookie settings as revolutionary. He believes any worries about the newest Firefox “breaking websites” are unfounded.
The advertising industry, not surprisingly, wasn’t comforted by Mayer’s words.
“This default setting would be a nuclear first strike against ad industry,” tweeted Mike Zaneis, the senior vice president and general counsel for the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Mozilla has not responded to Zaneis’ scathing tweet.
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