Mozilla adds new privacy features to the latest version of its Firefox browser in response to features in Internet Explorer 8, Apple Safari and Google Chrome. In addition to a Private Browsing mode, Firefox 3.5 has Forget This Site and Clear Recent History capabilities.
has responded to enhanced privacy settings in rival
browsers from Microsoft, Apple
with new privacy features of its own.
In Firefox 3.5,
released June 30, Mozilla has added its own
version of private browsing to match a feature offered by Google Chrome, Internet
Explorer 8 and Safari. But Mozilla took the additional step of adding a Clear
Recent History tool and a Forget This Site feature to bring more layers of
privacy to its users.
When private browsing is enabled, nothing
a user encounters on the Web will be stored from that moment on during the
browsing session. The problem with private browsing modes, however, is that
they require users to know ahead of time that they want to be private, said
Johnathan Nightingale, Mozilla's "human shield" (aka security
more about how Web browsers are improving security, click here.
"Sometimes the history you want to get rid of is
browsing you've already done," Nightingale said. "That's why we've
also included the Clear Recent History tool ... You can ask us to clear the
last hour, the last day or even clear everything, and when you do, we will
clear it everywhere. Our power users could always do this, deleting their
cookies and their history and their downloads manually, but this tool
gives you a single click to clear it all.
"Likewise, when the browsing you want to get rid
of is a particular site instead of a particular time frame, we have added
a tool called 'Forget About This Site' that allows you to right-click on
any entry in your history, and tell Firefox to forget everything it knows
about that site, as though you'd never visited it," he added.
In addition to the privacy controls, Mozilla fixed a few
bugs and added HTTP Access Control
to enable site authors to control who
accesses content they put online.
"As people start putting new content online like open
video and downloadable fonts (both supported in Firefox 3.5), this will let
them control how those are used by third parties," Nightingale said.
Looking ahead, Mozilla has started working on a feature
called CSP (Content Security Policy)
to fight cross-site scripting. In order to
differentiate legitimate content from injected or modified content, CSP
served from an explicitly approved host.
and event-handling HTML attributes will be ignored," Brandon Sterne,
security program manager at Mozilla, blogged June 19. "Only script
included via a <script> tag pointing to a white-listed host will be
treated as valid. Additionally, CSP allows several other common-sense
to be enforced."
CSP is slated for a future Firefox release, Nightingale