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Firefox 10-Year Anniversary Release Focuses on Privacy

A new version of Firefox released by Mozilla to mark the Web browser’s 10-year anniversary introduces new features designed to help users protect their privacy.

A new version of Firefox released by Mozilla to mark the Web browser’s 10-year anniversary introduces new features designed to help users protect their privacy.

The Mozilla Foundation announced the worldwide availability of Firefox 1.0 on November 9, 2004. The application has come a long way since then, becoming one of the top three most popular Web browsers.

While performance is an important aspect when it comes to surfing the Internet, recent revelations have made many users more aware of the importance of privacy. In a survey conducted last month by Harris Poll on behalf of Mozilla, 74% of the 7,000 respondents said they felt Internet companies knew too much about them, while 54% admitted doing something online that they wanted to forget.

In response to the survey results, the new version of Firefox comes with two new important privacy features. One of them is the introduction of the privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo as a pre-installed search option.

“Search is an integral, and deeply personal, part of online life. The things you search for can say a lot about who you are. DuckDuckGo gives you search results without tracking who you are or what you search for. Other engines may use tracking to enhance your search results, but we believe that’s a choice you should get to make for yourself,” Johnathan Nightingale, the vice president of Firefox, wrote in a blog post on Monday.

Another privacy-oriented feature introduced in the latest version of Firefox is called “Forget.” Users can rely on the “Forget” button to tell the Web browser to delete their recent activity. Users don’t have to specify what they want cleared; they only have to choose how much they want to forget.

Once you tell Firefox you want to forget the last 5 minutes, or 2 hours, or 24 hours, it takes care of the rest. Many of our users share a computer with friends or family, and it’s easy to forget to open a private browsing window first; with Forget, clearing that information is quick, and easy to understand,” Nightingale said.

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Users who update their installations will be able to take a tour of the new privacy features, Mozilla said.

Another announcement made by Mozilla on the privacy front is the introduction of a new program called Polaris. Polaris is an initiative that aims at accelerating user-focused privacy online.

“Polaris is a privacy initiative built to pull together our own privacy efforts along with other privacy leaders in the industry. Polaris is designed to allow us to collaborate more effectively, more explicitly and more directly to bring more privacy features into our products,” Denelle Dixon-Thayer, Mozilla’s senior vice president of business and legal affairs, explained.

“We want to accelerate pragmatic and user-focused advances in privacy technology for the Web, giving users more control, awareness and protection in their Web experiences. We want to advance the state of the art in privacy features, with a specific focus on bringing them to more mainstream audiences,” Dixon-Thayer added.

Also on its 10-year anniversary, Mozilla announced the availability of Firefox Developer Edition.

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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