It’s unlikely we’ll ever be able to live a life without a tracker online, but we appreciate that companies are doing everything they can to make tracking users a lot more difficult technologically. If you’re a Firefox fanatic, Mozilla just launched a new “Total Cookie Protection” mode that basically isolates all cookies on a website. Each website is given its own “cookie jar” to borrow Mozilla’s metaphor, and that’s where cookies live. They cannot be shared with other websites.

As Mozilla writes::

Full cookie protection makes a limited exception for cross-site cookies if they are needed for non-tracking purposes, e.g. B. for those that are used by popular third-party login providers. Only when Total Cookie Protection determines that you intend to use a provider will that provider be authorized to use a cross-location cookie specific to the website you are currently visiting. Such temporary exceptions allow for strong privacy protection without affecting your browsing experience.

In combination with the Supercookie protection We announced last month that Total Cookie Protection would provide extensive partitioning of cookies and other site data between websites in Firefox. Together, these functions prevent websites from “marking” your browser, which means that the most widespread cross-location tracking technology is no longer necessary.

This approach should allow Firefox to more effectively block cookies-based tracking, rather than relying on a list that Mozilla doesn’t control to push its regular blocking implementation – its advanced tracking protection. The problem, writes Mozilla’s Johann Hofmann and Tim Huang, is pretty obvious::

To take action against web tracking, Firefox is currently using Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP), which blocks cookies and other shared statuses of known trackers based on the disconnect list. This form of cookie blocking is an effective approach to stopping tracking, but it has its limitations. ETP protects users from the 3000 most common and widely used trackers identified. However, its protection is based on the fact that the list is complete and always up to date. It is difficult to ensure completeness, and trackers can try to bypass the list by registering new domain names. In addition, identifying trackers is a time consuming task and usually results in a delay of several months before a new tracking domain is added to the list.

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In theory, the exceptions to the “cookie jar” approach that Mozilla developed in Firefox should still allow users to log into websites with, for example, single sign-on. And let’s all keep our fingers crossed that companies can’t find a way to take advantage of the flexibility Mozilla offers these otherwise legitimate third-party cookie use cases.

As always, it’s best to use Firefox’s protection as a tool in your anti-advertising arsenal, but not the only one. For starters, you’ll need to enable the strict version of Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection to take advantage of the new “cookie jar” approach. Standard mode won’t cut it:

Illustration for article titled Screenshot: David Murphy

From there, install some of your favorite other extensions to restrict tracking and advertising and you should be set. Our favorites are: