FirefoxTech

Firefox Gives Fake Browsing History to fool Advertisers

Security through obscurity is out, but security through tomfoolery is in. This is the basic philosophy sold by Track THIS, which is a new kind of “incognito” browsing project that opens up 100 more tabs crafted to fit a specific character- a hypebeast, a doomsday prepper, a filthy rich person, or an influencer.

The aim of this new incognito is that your browsing history would be depersonalized and poisoned so that advertisers won’t come to know how to target ads on you. It was developed as a collaboration between Mozilla’s Firefox and mschf (pronounced as “mischief”) as a way of promoting the newest Firefox browser- Firefox Quantum.

“These trackers and these websites really commoditize you, and they don’t really make you feel like a person,” Daniel Greenberg, director of strategy and distribution for mschf, said over a phone call. “So, we wanted to do something visceral that makes the user feel like they’re in control again.” 

Already there are many ad blockers, which remove the banner and pop-up ads from web pages, and pixel blockers, which block internet-history tracking pixels used by websites to sell you ads. The press release does note that if you are an avid user of ad blockers, then this tool is not for you. “In my personal experience, I opened up the influencer one, and within the next seven days, I was getting ads for stuff that had nothing to do with me whatsoever,” said Greenberg. “I was getting ads for women’s clothing, I was getting ads for makeup, I was getting ads for skincare—all these things I’ve never looked at.”

A warning- if you use Track THIS, it may take several minutes to load all 100 tabs. But as it loads gradually, it’s like taking a first-person journey through someone else’s consciousness.

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James J

James has been writing about tech since 2009 after spending 25 years in a computer research lab studying and improving the future of computers. He watches Netflix sci-fi with his pet, enjoying spicy snacks.
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