Launched Mozilla Foundation version 87 of Firefox, and after the February update, the new version comes with two important features: Smart Block and improved HTTP referral headers.
SmartBlock is a new intelligent tracking blocking mechanism for private browsing and strict tracking protection mode, and the mechanism ensures that Firefox’s strong privacy protection is accompanied by a great web browsing experience.
Mozilla believes that privacy is a fundamental right and that everyone deserves to protect their privacy while browsing the web.
Since 2015, Firefox has included a content blocking feature that works in private browsing windows and a strict tracking protection mode, as part of efforts to provide a strong privacy option.
This feature automatically prevents third-party scripts, images, and other content from being uploaded from cross-site tracking companies.
By blocking these tracking components, private browsing windows in Firefox prevent you from seeing you while you are browsing.
According to the Mozilla Foundation, introducing a policy that categorically blocks trackers inevitably risks blocking the components necessary for some websites to function properly.
This can result in images not appearing, features not working, poor performance, or even the entire page not loading at all.
In order to reduce these problems, Firefox version 87 introduces a new privacy feature called SmartBlock.
This feature fixes webpages that have been interrupted due to the browser’s tracking protection measures, without compromising user privacy.
SmartBlock provides local backups for blocked third-party tracking scripts, so these backup scripts behave like the original scripts to make sure the website works properly.
This allows broken sites that depend on the original scripts to load with their functionality properly.
As an added safety, no third-party content is downloaded from the trackers, so the chances of being tracked are not possible, and Mozilla also confirms that these backup functions do not contain any code that supports the tracking function.
The new Firefox update also adds a stricter default referral policy and preserves privacy.
The browser now trims track and query string information from referring headers to prevent sites from accidentally leaking sensitive user data.
Browsers send the full URL of the referring document into the HTTP Referral Header with each navigation request or subsource, and this information can be used for various things, including analytics, logging, or to improve caching.
The HTTP referral address often contains the user’s private data, or even includes the user’s account information across the website.
The update sets the default referring policy in a way that reduces the user-sensitive information that can be accessed in the URL.
The new update also provides improvements to the Highlight All feature in Find in Page, whereby flags are displayed next to a scroll bar that corresponds to the location of matches on that page.
There’s also full support for macOS’s built-in screen reader, called VoiceOver, and several other minor UI improvements, along with security and general tweaks.