Feeds

Mozilla slots pr0n safe mode into Firefox 3.1

Smut surfing, open source style

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

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. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.