Firefox gets enhanced tracking protection, desktop password manager and more

It’s no secret that Mozilla sees privacy as a differentiating feature for its revitalized Firefox browser. Today, the Firefox team is launching one of its broadest sets of releases that aim to keep advertisers and others from following you across the web, while also making it harder for Facebook to track you. In addition, the organization is launching a desktop version of its password manager and some improvements to its Firefox Monitor data breach notification service.

“This past year, we’ve seen tech companies talk a big game about privacy as they’re realizing that, after several global scandals, people feel increasingly vulnerable,” Firefox SVP Dave Camp writes in today’s announcement, explaining the organization’s reasoning for today’s update. “It’s unfortunate that this shift had to happen in order for tech companies to take notice. At Firefox, we’re doing more than that. We believe that in order to truly protect people, we need to establish a new standard that puts people’s privacy first.”

The launch of Enhanced Tracking Protection, which allows you to keep third-party trackers and cookies from following you around the web, doesn’t come as a surprise. Mozilla has been talking about its new anti-tracking measures for a while. Previously, it offered a similar feature, but that was restricted to private windows, which was useful — and probably a good way for Mozilla to test these new capabilities — but far from comprehensive. For new users, Enhanced Tracking Protection will now be on by default, while existing users will either have to enable it manually for now or wait for Mozilla to turn it on for them in the near future.

In the browser, you’ll see these new features in the form of a new set of controls in the settings menu, as well as by clicking on the new shield icon in the URL bar. In its standard setting, which is the default, Enhanced Tracking Protection will block all third-party tracking cookies, based on the Disconnect list. You can also opt for a strict setting, which may break some sites, or opt for your own custom settings, too.

While it’s not directly built into the browser, Mozilla also today launched an updated version of its Facebook container extension that now allows you to also put Facebook share and like buttons into the container and disable them by default. That way, Facebook won’t be able to build a useful shadow profile of you when you are locked out (or not even a Facebook user).

With today’s announcements, Mozilla is also expanding its Lockbox password manager to the desktop. Until now, Lockbox only existed as a set of mobile apps, but Mozilla launched a Firefox desktop extension, too. It’s also changing the name to Lockwise. It’s a pretty straightforward password manager experience, though, at least for the time being, notably not as fully featured as Dashlane, 1Password, LastPass or similar options.

To round out today’s set of announcements, Mozilla is also launching a new dashboard for Firefox Monitor, its tool that lets you check whether your email addresses popped up in any data breaches and set alerts for any future breaches. Monitor now features a dashboard that lets you see which email addresses you are monitoring and which ones have likely been compromised.