Mozilla launches Focus, an iOS content blocker based on an open source blocklist

by admin January 1, 2016 at 11:15 am

There’s a new content blocker for iOS available today and it comes from a familiar name in the web world: Mozilla.

The company launched Focus by Firefox on Tuesday which focuses, for lack of a better word, on privacy controls and an open source blocklist.

Focus by Firefox.jpg

The free app, found in the iTunes App Store, blocks mobile websites from tracking user data as well as displaying web fonts; all of which can help speed up the mobile browsing experience while also maintaining user privacy.

Apple introduced support for web content blockers with iOS 9 and there are several good options available. Up to now, I’ve been using 1Blocker to eliminate tracking and web pop-ups, for example.

So what makes Focus by Firefox different? The list of blocked sites, mainly, the company says:

“For many content blockers, the standards used to determine what gets blocked aren’t clear. They aren’t transparent about their choices. They don’t provide ways for blocked content providers to improve and become unblocked. And some content blockers remove companies from a list in exchange for payment.”

True to its core belief, Mozilla chose to implement Focus by Firefox with an open source web block list.

The blocker uses Disconnect’s public list, which has both standards on what constitutes tracking and also publicly maintains the blocklist.

Disconnect also has a process in place for companies to get unblocked from the list including those that commit to users’ Do Not Track preferences.

Essentially, Focus by Firefox doesn’t do anything differently from other iOS 9 content blockers but instead takes a very public and open source approach.

Sadly, Focus can’t be used with Firefox itself on iOS, which was recently released.

That’s because Apple doesn’t currently allow third party iOS browsers to support content blocking apps. Mozilla says it will explore how to add such support in the future for Apple’s mobile devices.

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