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article imageFirefox's new tools seek to prevent Facebook tracking

By Tim Sandle     Sep 17, 2018 in Technology
Apple and Firefox have both announced plans to thwart the tracking of an individual's data by social media firms like Facebook. This is to prevent targeted adverts.
Most social media companies, like Facebook, and other who seek to online the online surfing habits of their users (a technique known as 'fingerprinting'), will collate and analyse the data so that adverts can targeted back. This arises from the ability of a company like Facebook to create a digital profile of its users. For some people this provides personalized adverts that are of interests; for others it is an annoyance; and for some the process is regarded as an invasion of privacy.
Coming down on the data privacy side, two web browsers are seeking to minimize the extent that an individual's online activity can be tracked in this manner. The two web browsers are Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox. Both companies are seeking to stop companies like Facebook from converting “cookie” data files that store sign-in details and preferences into broader trackers that record what a person does on other sites.
Safari is to make such protections automatic via new updates during September, across iPhones, iPads (the iOS 12 update) and Macs. The Firefox updates will appear later during the year. Google, however, does not appear to be joining in. According to Apple, many popular websites are embedded with more than 70 different types of trackers.
Speaking about the new data privacy extensions, Lance Cottrell, of Anonymizer, stated that Apple's move is very significant, as it seeks to counteract the measure adopted by tracking companies to override the acts by individual's to delete their cookies. However, the ability to derail the trackers will not apply when Facebook itself is used (or Google's Chrome).
The move, however, has not gone down well with advertisers. Life Hacker reports that Interactive Advertising Bureau executive Dennis Buchheim has indicated that as browsers makers seek to deliver privacy-centric features, they should consider the importance of advertising in enabling free services.
More about Social media, Tracking, Apple, Firefox, Facebook
 
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