Mozilla has recently launched the Firefox 87 for Macs, Windows, and Linux machines which brings an important new intelligent tracker blocking mechanism – SmartBlock.
Since 2015, Mozilla has been focusing on providing a strong privacy option, thus included the built-in Content Blocking feature that operates in Private Browsing windows and Strict Tracking Protection Mode.
This helped to automatically block third-party scripts, images, and other content from being loaded from cross-site tracking companies. However, Mozilla has realized that this feature could end up blocking legitimate elements of websites that can affect the overall experience.
Here’s what they have stated in their official blog:
In building these extra-strong privacy protections in Private Browsing windows and Strict Mode, we have been confronted with a fundamental problem: introducing a policy that outright blocks trackers on the web inevitably risks blocking components that are essential 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.
So, to solve this problem, the new Firefox 87 is now introducing a new privacy feature called SmartBlock. It ensures that strong privacy protections in Firefox are accompanied by a great web browsing experience during Firefox Private Browsing and Strict Mode.
SmartBlock intelligently fixes up web pages that are broken by the tracking protections by Mozilla. It does this by providing local stand-ins for blocked third-party tracking scripts and Mozilla has confirmed these stand-ins are bundled with Firefox and no actual third-party content from the trackers are loaded at all.
According to developers, in Firefox 87, SmartBlock will silently stand-in for a number of common scripts classified as trackers on the Disconnect Tracking Protection List, helping to improve performance while browsing.