Firefox. Cookies. Privacy.

Mozilla proudly trumpet from the rooftops that they more than any other browser protect your privacy because they tell sites not to track you. All you need to do is tick one little box and you can’t be tracked. Anywhere.

Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

But they utterly – and they aren’t stupid – fail to explain cookies and do a terrible job of letting you choose which sites can and cannot track you. See that? Mozilla say sites cannot track you but sites do track you regardless of that silly little box. Malice? That is probably too harsh but they are certainly working to an agenda that puts privacy low on the list.

The above list of cookies would be much larger if I wasn’t also using Ghostery which does care about privacy. As does the BetterPrivacy extension because Flash cookies are evil.

So here is how you let certain sites keep cookies in Firefox.
Get to the Firefox Preferences

Click Exceptions (from the image above)

Click Settings (from the large image above)

and when you restart you will have just those cookies you want.

and you just did more for your Privacy than that ridiculous little box. Mozilla could make that process much much easier and explain each step but they choose not to. They don’t really care about your privacy because cookies are a major part of that. Just me that thinks this?

With recent browsers, the cookie setting that offers users the most pragmatic tradeoff between cookie-dependent functionality and privacy is to only allow cookies to persist until the user quits the browser (also known as only allowing “session cookies”). says the EFF.

but Firefox defaults to letting all tracking and all cookies happen. It does nothing to educate users either in their browser or on their site. Makes all that noise about the tracking box just that – noise. Mozilla has a site just for Do Not Track – http://dnt.mozilla.org/ and here are some words from there (you might want to count how many times they use the word cookie):

How does Do Not Track work with other privacy tools?
Do Not Track is one of many privacy solutions. Do Not Track does not replace your anti-virus software, will not encrypt data, and is not a security mechanism. There are several other privacy and security features within Firefox.

Will Do Not Track affect the rest of my Web experience?
Do Not Track may interfere with some personalized services you enjoy. For example, a Do Not Track request might mean you would have to type in your zip code each time you want to view a weather report, rather than seeing the weather automatically displayed. Personalization on websites can save you time and repetitive typing, but it requires data.

How do I enable Do Not Track in Firefox?
This feature is not enabled by default. You can find the Do Not Track request on the Privacy pane. On Windows, go to Tools > Options… > Privacy.
Click to check the box next to “Tell websites I do not want to be tracked”. For more information, see the help file on how to stop websites from tracking you.

and in the last quote there is a link to this page which has this image.

which implies that Do Not Track is all you need to protect your privacy. Mozilla do have a page on how to Enable and Disable cookies but it does a poor job of explaining and does not at all mention the Clear History which I’d say was an important part of your privacy.

Mozilla could do more but they choose not to – and I doubt it’s bedfellow Chrome is much better.

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