by Privacy International
Reprinted under GPL v3 license
Firefox provides you with several mechanisms to protect your privacy. However, some of them are not enabled by default. In this guide you'll learn how to configure your Firefox browser settings to strengthen your online privacy.
Changing settings in Firefox menu
To change basic privacy settings in Firefox, access the preferences menu by clicking on Edit > Preferences on the menu-bar, or by entering about:preferences in the URL bar, and then click on Privacy & Security (Fig. 1)
Fig. 1: Firefox privacy settings page
Enable content blocking
Content blocking should be enabled by default on your Firefox installation. If not, find the Enhanced Tracking Protection setting and set it to Standard (Fig. 2). If you want stronger protection set it to Strict, but keep in mind this can prevent some pages from displaying correctly.
Fig. 2: Firefox Tracking Protection settings
Enable Do Not Track
When browsing the web, your browser can warn websites that you do not want to be tracked. Beware that not all websites respect this! For more consistent protection, please see our guide on installing an ad-blocker. Still, warning websites that you do not want to be tracked is an added protection. Scroll down until you see the Send websites a "Do Not Track" signal that you don't want to be tracked and then click on Always (Fig. 3).
Fig. 3: Firefox Do Not Track setting
Disable telemetry services
To improve its services, Firefox collects technical and interaction data that it later sends to Mozilla for processing. Part of this also includes the ability to remotely install extensions on your browser, which can pose a privacy risk. To disable telemetry services, find the section titled Firefox Data Collection and Use and make sure to un-tick all boxes (Fig. 4).
Fig. 4: Disable Firefox telemetry
Changing settings in the about:config page
To manage advanced privacy settings, type about:config in the URL bar and press Enter. You'll then be greeted by a warning stating that some settings may affect Firefox's performance and security (Fig. 5). Click Accept the Risk and Continue to enter the settings page.
Warning: This settings page gives access to advanced features that might affect Firefox ability to function properly. Make sure you understand what you do. All changes are reversible.
Fig. 5: Firefox advanced settings page
Table 1 shows some of the advanced settings you can change to better protect your online privacy. Next to each setting is the value we recommend applying, as well as a brief summary on what that setting concerns. To enable or disable an option, enter its name in the search bar, and then double click to change the value. When you do so, the updated value is highlighted in bold and is automatically saved (Fig. 6).
Fig. 6: Set an advanced Firefox setting
Table 1: Recommended settings to strengthen your browser privacy