Mozilla has announced a "privacy mode" for Firefox 3.1. The update is scheduled to be released in beta form in October.
Simply stated, In privacy mode, a browser doesn't record a history of visited sites or save cookies from those sites.
Developer Mike Connor wrote on the Mozilla Wiki site the three goals for the privacy mode.
"There should be a clear line drawn between your 'public' and 'private' browsing sessions," he wrote, so users can't be tracked when they are doing things they consider private. Information on visits can still be explicitly saved, he continued, such as per-site permissions, bookmarks, and so on.
In addition to not recording visited sites and removing all downloads from a given session, privacy mode will also mean there is no prompt to save passwords, and password fields cannot be autofilled. "Autocomplete" can be available, but entered data will not be kept. When a user enters or leaves privacy mode, any current authenticated sessions will be logged out.
Currently, Firefox offers an extension called Stealthier with private browsing features.
The addition of privacy mode is a response, at least in part, to the recent launch of a beta version of Google's Chrome browser, which features a privacy mode called Incognito. In the Web-published log of Mozilla bug tracking, one Firefox developer noted that "recent developments with Chrome will likely make finally getting private-browsing mode shipped a priority for 3.1."
An issue for many with Google Chrome is that when a user opens Incognito in Chrome, Google points out that its privacy mode is not intended to deal with such privacy issues as identity theft or tricking users. Google says "Web sites that collect or share information about you," malicious software that tracks your keystrokes, "surveillance by secret agents" or "people standing behind you."
The private mode is a 'good for the people' trend in browsers. Internet Explorer's IE8 Beta 2, features private browsing -- called InPrivate -- . Apple's Safari browser from also has private browsing.
Let's hope they progress to a point where we are truly and fully protected to a point that cannot be hacked.