Mozilla Stands Firm on Firefox Cookie Blocking, Despite Protests

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 09, 2013

You have to hand it to Mozilla -- the company really does pursue policies that favor users even when commercial interests cry foul. Case in point: Last month, I wrote about the fact that The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has accusied Mozilla of "undermining American small business" with its plan to block advertising cookies by default in the Firefox browser. Fast-forward to today, and the pre-release version of Firefox version 22 does indeed proceed with the plan, which will make many users happy.

The Internet Advertising Bureau has made quite a stink about Mozilla's moves. According to a release from the IAB:

"The Interactive Advertising Bureau today accused the Mozilla Corporation, the technology giant whose Firefox web browser controls how a fifth of users worldwide access the internet, of undermining American small businesses and consumers’ ability to manage their own privacy, through planned changes to Firefox that would re-architect the way data flows between web sites and internet users."

"Joining a chorus of complaints from companies and industry groups around the world, the IAB, which represents 500 major U.S. internet companies and more than 1,000 small digital publishers, focused on Mozilla’s plans to block third-party cookies by default in the next version of the Firefox browser. The IAB pointed specifically to the impact the ban would have on small internet publishers, which depend on such cookie technology to sell advertising to niche audience segments."

“This move will not put the interest of users first. Nor does it promote transparency or ‘move the web forward’ as Mozilla claims in its announcement. It will not advance Mozilla Corporation’s objective, as stated in its bylaws, of ‘promoting choice and innovation on the internet,’ but will, instead, impede both,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB, in a statement. The IAB officially called for Mozilla to do away with the cookie-blocking plan, but Mozilla has stood firm.

To be clear, Firefox 22 does allow users to have third-party cookies show up if they want to, but the default is to block them, as Apple's Safari browser does. We're likely to see more protests from the IAB soon.