Privacy settings in Firefox browser

This is the second in a series of articles on privacy in the digital world.

Having a specific app on your smartphone/tablet that caters to a digital world service, for example the "Giant Eagle" app to shop online, "Spotify" app to stream music, "Westlake Porter Public Library" app to reserve a Wi-Fi hotspot before a road trip, "Libby" app to find eBooks at Cuyahoga County Public Library – and the list goes on and on – is foolproof as there is an unique icon you tap for each service you want to use. 

But what if you could have only one app/aplication on your smartphone, tablet, or computer? For me that one app would be a "browser." In this always-connected-to-the-digital-world (aka internet or the cloud) lifestyle, a single browser can connect to the aforementioned services and more, although the process is a little more tedious because you have to enter the address of each service's website unless you google it.

A browser – whether "Chrome" from Google, "Firefox" from Mozilla, "Safari" from Apple, or "EDGE" from Microsoft – provides the same functionality of pulling up the website of the address you type in (ex: enter for the best community news covering Westlake and Bay).

Most apps on smartphones/tablets, or applications on computers, have "Settings" where you can customize the behavior of your apps/applications. This will be the first place to change some default settings concerning your privacy.

Just like the Settings menu which ubiquitously exists across different apps/applications, there are certain "icons" that mean the same thing across apps/applications. An example of such an standardized icon would be when you see three horizontal or vertical dots, or three horizontal lines. Tapping/clicking such an icon means it will show more menu items for you to choose from and is where the Settings selection usually resides.

Let's look at the Firefox browser's Settings menu. Tapping/clicking the three horizontal lines on the upper right hand corner will bring up a menu that includes Settings ("Preferences" for Mac users) as a selectable choice for computer users; or tapping three vertical dots on the lower right hand corner for Android smartphone/tablet users; or tapping three horizontal lines on the lower right for iPhone/iPad users.

Once in the Settings menu …

  • For Android smartphone/tablet users, tap/click the "Data Collection" item under the "Privacy and security" heading and make sure "Usage and technical data," "Marketing Data," and "Studies" are all turned off.

  • For iPhone/iPad users, you want to make sure "Send Usage Data" and "Studies" are both turned off under the "Support" heading. Also, go into "Tracking Protection" and make sure "Enhanced Tracking Protection" is turned on.

  • For computer users, you want to make sure nothing is check marked under the "Firefox Data Collection and Use" heading which appears after you select "Privacy & Security" on the left side of the screen after going into the Settings menu item.

Also, there are "privacy focused" browsers such as "Firefox Focus" and "Brave" for smartphones/tablets available for you to try. We'll cover privacy settings in other popular browsers next issue.

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with over 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives while using digital literacy as a tool for seniors to avoid loneliness and social isolation

Read More on The Digital World
Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:37 AM, 03.15.2022