i'm on https://www.privacytools.io/ and noticed tbb version 6.0.4 doesn't modify many of the suggested "Privacy Related about:config Tweaks":

        privacy.trackingprotection.enabled = true
        This is Mozilla’s new built in tracking protection.
        geo.enabled = false
        Disables geolocation.
        browser.safebrowsing.enabled = false
        Disable Google Safe Browsing and phishing protection. Security risk, but privacy improvement.
        browser.safebrowsing.malware.enabled = false
        Disable Google Safe Browsing malware checks. Security risk, but privacy improvement.
        dom.event.clipboardevents.enabled = false
        Disable that websites can get notifications if you copy, paste, or cut something from a web page, and it lets them know which part of the page had been selected.
        network.cookie.cookieBehavior = 1
        Disable cookies
        0 = Accept all cookies by default
        1 = Only accept from the originating site (block third party cookies)
        2 = Block all cookies by default
        network.cookie.lifetimePolicy = 2
        cookies are deleted at the end of the session
        0 = Accept cookies normally
        1 = Prompt for each cookie
        2 = Accept for current session only
        3 = Accept for N days
        browser.cache.offline.enable = false
        Disables offline cache.
        browser.send_pings = false
        The attribute would be useful for letting websites track visitors’ clicks.
        webgl.disabled = true
        WebGL is a potential security risk. Source
        dom.battery.enabled = false
        Website owners can track the battery status of your device. Source
        browser.sessionstore.max_tabs_undo = 0
        Even with Firefox set to not remember history, your closed tabs are stored temporarily at Menu -> History -> Recently Closed Tabs.

many of the tweaks seem justified, especially the "browser.safebrowsing.enabled". is there any reason why the tbb devs leave these settings as is? i'm sure there's some logical reasoning for it, it's just not apparent.


So, where I can see differences, I'll address...

Tracking Protection - Based on blacklisting, ineffective. Gives a third party control of what sites you can or cannot visit.

Safe Browsing - Based on blacklisting, ineffective. Gives a third party (Google) control of what sites you can or cannot visit, censorship. Sends details of files you download to Google, tracking and data leak. Clearly not suitable.

Clipboard events - Potentially breaks some websites, UX/usability issues. Maybe a candidate for higher security levels on the security slider? They could probably detect ctrl-c/ctrl-v and mouseclicks through other javascript APIs.

WebGL - Possible future and definite historic security issue, the known privacy/anonymity issues are patched through the Canvas protections. I may agree on this one but they don't see this as in-scope for their design. Likely UX/Usability barrier if disabled, I wouldn't mind seeing this purged at higher security levels.

Recently closed tabs - Use the New Identity button to clear session data if you want to do so effectively.

The reality is that modern browsers come with such complexity that most of these approaches are equivalent to polishing the brass on the Titanic. That page doesn't even begin to cover counter-measures for AudioConextAPI, Canvas, Cache Control, Long-Term State, etc or address the side issues of "trust this list is from Mozilla or Google and is the same as everyone elses list also never render any content on this list, which means if we fed you a poisoned list with a single resource that you and you alone will fail to load we can track you based on the single poisoned resource you and you alone refuse to load."

The proper solution is:

  1. Create a homogenous base state for all users that provides the best usability trade-off against privacy/anonymity.
  2. Eliminate The State to defeat long-term tracking through being fed poisoned fruit.
  3. Patch where appropriate to eliminate fingerprinting of unavoidable long-term state (e.g. hardware specific behaviour or user interaction metrics) (pure software virtualisation helps mask more obvious hardware information).
  4. Harden your applications to frustrate CNE.
  5. Comparment your application to reduce impact of any successful defeat of hardening by CNE.
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