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Firefox adds a new anti-tracking feature

Mozilla plans to add a new anti-tracking feature called Network Partitioning within the 85th version of the Firefox web browser, which is supposed to arrive in January 2021.

The feature is based on the customer storage division, a new standard currently being developed by the Privacy Community Group of the World Web Consortium.

Privacy researcher Zach Edwards said: Network Partitioning is highly technical, and can be simplified to some extent by saying that your browser has many ways in which it can save data from websites, not just through cookies.

"These other storage mechanisms include HTTP cache, image cache, preferred icon cache, line cache, and a variety of caches and other storage mechanisms that can be used to track people across websites.

All of these data storage systems are shared between websites, says Edwards, and the difference is that Network Partitioning allows Firefox to save resources, such as: cache, favorite tools, CSS files, photos, and more, based on each website in the same group, not together.

This makes it difficult for websites and third parties, such as ad companies and web analytics, to track users, as they are unable to verify the existence of data from other sites in this shared pool.

According to Mozilla, Network Partitioning is coming to Firefox within version 85, but it won't be the first browser manufacturer to use it.

Edwards said: The first browser manufacturer to do this was Apple in 2013, when it began to split the HTTP cache, and Apple continued to follow this approach by splitting more user data storage systems years later, as part of the tracking prevention feature.

Last month, Google split the HTTP cache with version 86 of chrome browser.

Mozilla's team expects some performance issues for sites downloaded in Firefox, but is willing to take it to improve the privacy of its users.

Most digital policymakers and strategists focus on the end of an external cookie, but there are a variety of other technologies and user tracking strategies that browsers need to get rid of.

Mozilla said: Adding Network Partitioning within firefox version 85 allows it to better block super cookies, cookies that abuse different shared storage media in order to allow advertisers to track user movements across the web.