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Topic: Simple Ping Blocker for Firefox (Read 940 times) previous topic - next topic

Simple Ping Blocker for Firefox

Simple Ping Blocker is a new browser extension for the Firefox web browser that blocks any pings from being sent when links get activated in the browser.

Mozilla revealed recently that it would integrate Hyperlink Ping Tracking in the Firefox web browser and enable it by default.

Ping is a relatively new link attribute that web developers and site operators may add to links. The main idea behind ping is to send clicking information to a resource when links are clicked.

Ping is a controversial feature as it adds another tracking technology. Unlike the majority of tracking options, ping does not require JavaScript; it works just fine without JavaScript enabled in the browser.

Users cannot identify ping attributes of links by just looking at them or hovering the mouse cursor over links. Hovering reveals the link target but it does not reveal anything about the use of ping.

The only option, at the time of writing, is to analyze the source code to check links for ping attributes. You could bypass pings by copying links and loading them manually in the browser's address bar, but that is not very comfortable.

Google Chrome and most Chromium-based browsers won't have options going forward to disable Hyperlink Ping Auditing. Brave is one of the few Chromium-based browsers that has the feature disabled by default, and it seems that the browser is one of the few with Ping functionality turned off by default.

Mozilla is still working on integrating Ping in Firefox. The organization plans to enable it by default; whether the current browser.send_pings preference remains available so that users may disable Ping in Firefox remains to be seen.

It is quite puzzling that Mozilla would enable ping tracking in Firefox by default without user safeguards. Options could include highlighting links with the Ping attribute in a special way, displaying a prompt to users when they first encounter Pings, or better yet, disabling the feature by default but asking users whether they would like to opt-in when it is encountered.

Users who don't want to risk it may install the Simple Ping Blocker extension for Firefox. The extension blocks all ping requests but does not modify links to remove the attribute from them or change the destination of the ping.

Note: uBlock Origin users don't need the extension as the content blocker comes with Ping blocking functionality. Chrome or Chromium users may also install Ping Blocker.

As far as Simple Ping Blocker is concerned, it is a set and forget kind of extension. Just install it and any ping you encounter from that moment on will be without function.

Ping is not enabled yet in Firefox and the add-on does not do a thing right now because of that. You could bookmark it to keep it in reach or install it and deactivate it until Mozilla enables Ping to activate it.