Mozilla's initiative to protect user privacy by blocking third-party cookies in Firefox isn't going according to plan. The organization announced that it had decided to block all cookies that didn't come from the sites users were actively visiting.
This would have a great effect on the advertising industry, which relies greatly on tracking cookies it places on people's computers and phones without their knowledge or consent. Without those cookies, advertisers would have to find other ways of stalking people for their profit.
As you can imagine, the advertising industry didn't take it lightly. But Mozilla was determined to do something after it was clear that the discussions around the proposed Do Not Track technology were going nowhere.
Do Not Track would have allowed people to opt out of ad tracking on the web, but advertisers dragged discussions on for a few years.
A couple of months after the initial announcement though, Mozilla realized that adopting a pure "no third-party cookie" strategy would not work, since it would affect many legitimate sites as well. It started thinking of alternative solutions, such as a whitelist for approved domains.
But now, several months later, the company is no closer to implementing the third-party cookie block. In fact, it's unclear whether this will ever even happen, as SFGate reports.
The talks with the Cookie Clearinghouse, an initiative to create such a cookie whitelist in partnership with Mozilla, have stopped for the past few months. Even if the organization were to move forward with the plans, it would take quite a few months to even reach a stage where something concrete is available.
It's unclear why Mozilla started having second thoughts, but the pressure from the ad industry, which has been relentless in criticizing the move, couldn't have helped. They argue that blocking third-party cookies would be catastrophic for the business and the Internet as a whole.
But maybe a business that's built on treating people like cattle, which can be cataloged and shoved into different stables, doesn't deserve to exist in the first place.
Hopefully, Mozilla gets its act together and starts doing something about this, since it's the only organization who is in a position to do it. Google and Microsoft aren’t going to start protecting users' rights anytime soon.