Peter Dolanjski, Product Lead, Firefox

Understandable Browser Privacy Controls: Aligning browser privacy defaults and controls with user expectations

ALIGNING BROWSER PRIVACY DEFAULTS AND CONTROLS WITH USER EXPECTATIONS

 
 
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Problem

Online privacy and personal data collection is an incredibly confusing topic for consumers. While technology companies argue that users can always choose to change their privacy settings, the problem is that the settings themselves are confusing, often not very discoverable and are obfuscated by jargon-laden privacy policies. The reality is that most people never change the default settings used in software products, putting their privacy at risk due to the defaults being maximum data collection.

solution

Having strong default settings that align with user expectations is a guiding principle on how Firefox approaches privacy. In addition, we believe that providing people with simple to understand, meaningful controls that match user mental models is critical.

As such, we’ve redesigned a previously complex list of privacy content blocking preferences in Firefox to use three simple options: Standard, Strict or Custom privacy levels. This change is described by this blog post.

Who is this for?

  • People who use the internet who are open to editing their browser privacy settings

  • Tech savvy desktop and laptop internet users


Scenario

Users don’t need to understand the details of what technical terms like trackers and cookies are, but they can meaningfully choose a protection level while being assured that even the default (Standard) level aligns with what they expect from a privacy-respecting product.

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