Feeds

Mozilla slots pr0n safe mode into Firefox 3.1

Smut surfing, open source style

Boost IT visibility and business value

Mozilla is responding to challenges from browser rivals Apple, Microsoft and Google by reviving private browsing mode features in Firefox.

The approach has been considered before but was sidelined in the run-up to the release of Firefox 3.0. However, the inclusion of similar privacy protecting features in Apple's Safari and, more recently Google Chrome and IE 8 beta 2, has revived interest in the approach and spurred a decision to incorporate the technology in the first beta of Firefox 3.1, due out next month. The decision was made at a meeting of Mozilla developers on Tuesday.

Private browsing, more memorably described as 'porn mode', makes it easier to hide a user's surfing from others using the same machine. A history of sites visited in this mode is not recorded and cookies are purged at the end of a session. In addition, content isn't cached and passwords entered won't be autosaved. A long discussion between Mozilla developers on how this should work in detail can be found here.

The most obvious application of the technology is visiting risqué sites, but it also has a variety of other uses from surfing for a birthday present for loved ones to researching medical conditions. In a discussion, Mozilla developers highlighted how the approach would make it safer to use shared PCs in libraries and cyber cafés.

Apple's Safari browser and Google Chrome both incorporate a private browsing mode. The second beta of IE, published late last month, saw the debut of Microsoft's version of "privacy mode" browsing. Dubbed "InPrivate Browsing", the feature opens a window that scrubs itself clean when it gets closed.

A Firefox add-on dubbed 'Stealthier' adds similar features, but the time is now thought ripe to include the technology as standard. Private mode browsing features were on the list for Firefox 3.0 but were sidelined in January so that developers could concentrate on ironing out the wrinkles in other technologies thought to be more important at the time, Computerworld adds.

Private browsing features in general are a client-side feature, and irrelevant when considering the tracking technology from the likes of Phorm or plans by government to impose a mandatory data retention regime on ISPs, for example. Various technologies such as Tor provide enhanced privacy, but no absolute guarantees of confidentiality. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
Intel's Raspberry Pi rival Galileo can now run Windows
Behold the Internet of Things. Wintel Things
Linux Foundation says many Linux admins and engineers are certifiable
Floats exam program to help IT employers lock up talent
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
Eat up Martha! Microsoft slings handwriting recog into OneNote on Android
Freehand input on non-Windows kit for the first time
Linux kernel devs made to finger their dongles before contributing code
Two-factor auth enabled for Kernel.org repositories
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.