Mozilla plans to roll out a change in Firefox 59, out 13.3.2018, that gives users better options to block notification, microphone, camera and location requests.
More and more websites and services display prompts to users when they are accessed. Many want permission to send notifications to the browser and others may want access to the microphone, camera, and location requests.
Notifications can be useful on paper. They allow sites to push notifications to the browser even if the site in question is not open. Something like “hey we have a new post” or “XYZ is on sale” come to mind. The problem is however that more and more sites start to implement these. This means that users get more prompts to allow notifications and that is something that is highly annoying as most users want notifications from select sites only.
The situation is a bit different when it comes to microphone, camera and location preferences. These are required for specific functionality. If you want to join an audio or video chat, for instance, you need to allow access to the camera or microphone for that.
Part of the user base does not want notifications and does not use services that require access to a computer’s camera or microphone.
Firefox users have options to block these entirely, but only by using about:config.
- Disable notifications entirely in Firefox: set dom.webnotifications.enabled to false.
- Disable webcam/microphone in Firefox: set media.navigator.enabled and media.peerconnection.enabled to false.
- Disable location prompts in Firefox: set geo.enabled to false.
The option to make these changes in the browser is helpful, but most users are never exposed to it unless they search for solutions actively on the Internet.
Firefox 59: block permission prompts
Firefox 59 changes this. The browser ships with options to block notification, microphone, camera and location requests in the browser UI.
- Load about:preferences#privacy in the browser’s address bar to get started.
- Scroll down to the “Permissions” section.
- Click on Location, Camera, Microphone or Notifications.
- On the screen that opens, check the “block new requests” box.
- Click save changes.
This allows you to block prompts that website might display otherwise. You can still allow some sites to access these features of the browser, but the process is a bit difficult. Sites that you allowed previously continue to function as they did before.
The options interface has no controls right now to add websites to them manually. This means that you will have to unblock the block control, get the website in question to trigger a prompt and allow it, to add it to the list of sites allowed to use the function. You would then enable the blocking of all requests again to complete the process.
Mozilla could add an option to the permission options to add sites manually there to avoid this from getting too complicated.
Firefox users who are annoyed by website notification prompts, or don’t want camera, microphone or location prompts, can disable these functions of the browser with just a couple of clicks starting with Firefox 59. (Thanks Sören)
Now You: Do you use these functions?
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