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Firefox today announced a privacy-first browsing experience that has anti-tracking settings turned on by default. The announcement voiced strong opposition to the security practices of big tech companies like Chrome and Facebook.
Mozilla accused them of hiding privacy settings in order to discourage their use. Firefox specifically called out Chrome’s Incognito Mode for providing an illusion of privacy.Advanced Privacy by Default
Firefox announced that new users of Firefox will receive the privacy first version of Firefox. It will be made generally available to existing users in the coming months.
There is a way for existing users to turn the functionality on, but Mozilla cautioned that they are still testing to make sure that browsing functionality is not negatively affected by the anti-tracking functionality. Presumably, blocking the wrong cookies might cause some sites to no longer function, causing a negative user experience.Firefox Targets Facebook Shadow Profiles
Many people are unaware that Facebook tracks users not just on chúng tôi but all across the web. Facebook tracks users across third party websites and is able to create what Firefox refers to as shadow profiles.
Firefox announced they are releasing an improved Facebook Container browser add-on that blocks Facebook tracking.
“…when you are on a news site and reading an article, you often see Facebook Like and Share buttons. Our Facebook Container will block these buttons and all connections to Facebook’s servers, so that Facebook isn’t able to track your visits to these sites. This blocking makes it much harder for Facebook to build shadow profiles of non-Facebook users.”Firefox Charges Chrome with a False Sense of Privacy
Mozilla, the creators of Firefox, charged tech companies with misleading users about security. They said that making users opt in to enhanced privacy is a way to mislead users into remaining in a non-secure state.
“It seems that each week a new tech company decides to decree that privacy is a human right. They tout how their products provide people with “choices” to change the settings if they wish to opt into a greater level of privacy protection to exemplify how they are putting privacy first.
… do people really want more complex settings to understand and fiddle with or do they simply want products that respect their privacy and align with their expectations to begin with?”Firefox Accuses Tech Companies of Barriers to Privacy
“The general argument from tech companies is that consumers can always decide to dive into their browser settings and modify the defaults. The reality is that most people will never do that.”Firefox Says Chrome Incognito Offers Illusion of Security
Firefox pointed a finger at Chrome Incognito Mode as a way to continue tracking users while providing the illusion of security.
“The feature might keep your spouse from knowing what you’re thinking about getting them for your anniversary by erasing your history, but it does not prevent third-party tracking.”Will Firefox Disrupt Advertising Ecosystem?
Google disrupted entire industries by giving users what they wanted. For example:
Google disrupted the search industry by initially offering an ad-free experience search experience.
Google disrupted the analytics industry by giving away free analytics services.
Google disrupted the email industry by offering gigabytes of free storage while others offered megabytes.
Firefox is throwing that strategy back at Google by giving users what they want, which is enhanced privacy turned on by default.
On the other hand, Firefox may not be able to do this alone. The effect of the new Firefox may be in stimulating others to join in respecting user demands for privacy.
DuckDuckGo, the privacy first search engine is gaining popularity. It even offers a popular Chrome browser extension (downloaded by over 2 million users) that blocks tracking cookies.
Firefox Now Available with Enhanced Tracking Protection by Default Plus Updates to Facebook Container, Firefox Monitor and Lockwise
You're reading Firefox Confronts Chrome And Facebook With Enhanced Privacy
Facebook details big plans for a ‘privacy-focused’ platform
On Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a radical change in focus for the beleaguered social media company, stating that it will shift to a privacy-focused platform emphasizing end-to-end encryption, increased user control over personal data, and more. The changes will take years to implement, according to Zuckerberg, who said in his announcement, “I believe working towards implementing end-to-end encryption for all private communications is the right thing to do.”READ: How to see your Facebook info shared with Cambridge Analytica
Facebook has a very poor reputation when it comes to user security, an issue underscored by the Cambridge Analytica scandal that surfaced in early 2023.
Though Facebook has taken arguably minimal steps toward improving user control over data and increasing message privacy, many changes have largely been reactive, happening only after a new leak or scandal highlighted additional problematic issues or practices.
That reality makes Zuckberg’s new revelation both expected and hard to believe. It makes sense for the company to shift toward privacy-centric features in light of its reputation, or else it risks losing the users who haven’t already fled its service. At the same time, Facebook’s own history makes it difficult to believe the company could ever make a substantial, notable shift toward a truly secure and private platform.
According to Zuckerberg, Facebook will make a number of changes over coming years, including reducing the permanence of user content, adding end-to-end encryption across all of its messaging services, establishing private interactions “as a foundation” of the service, improving user safety, securely storing user data, and secure interoperability.
Facebook will need to work through multiple issues related to these goals, Zuckerberg said, and most of the company’s work on the matter is still ‘in the early stages.’ Zuckerberg acknowledged the skepticism critics will direct at the company, saying:
I understand that many people don’t think Facebook can or would even want to build this kind of privacy-focused platform — because frankly we don’t currently have a strong reputation for building privacy protective services, and we’ve historically focused on tools for more open sharing. But we’ve repeatedly shown that we can evolve to build the services that people really want, including in private messaging and stories.
Though questions remain about what the final products will look like in a world where Facebook prioritizes privacy, the company’s announcement indicates that key features will remain, including the ability to send money to other users. Zuckerberg explains:
We plan to build this the way we’ve developed WhatsApp: focus on the most fundamental and private use case — messaging — make it as secure as possible, and then build more ways for people to interact on top of that, including calls, video chats, groups, stories, businesses, payments, commerce, and ultimately a platform for many other kinds of private services.
The privacy-focused platform won’t replace the company’s public platform, however, with Facebook and Instagram plodding on in their more familiar, open, forms.
Facebook will enhance its social-networking site’s privacy features over the next 12 months as a result of a set of recommendations from the Canadian government.
The changes come as a direct result of a review of Facebook’s privacy policies and controls conducted by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Facebook cooperated with the Canadian agency’s study, which lasted more than a year.
For the tens of thousands of third-party applications built for the Facebook platform, Facebook will begin to require that they comply with a new set of permissions, specifying the types of information they want to access. “Express consent” from end users will also be required before their data and their friends’ data is made available to external applications.Canadians Satisfied
In a separate statement issued by her office, Privacy Commissioner of Canada Jennifer Stoddart said the changes to privacy policies and practices that Facebook has agreed to make will bring it into compliance with Canadian law.
“We’re very pleased Facebook has been responsive to our recommendations,” she said in the statement.
The new privacy requirements for third-party applications will take about a year to implement because they involve changes to the Facebook platform’s API (application programming interface) and to the applications themselves. It will be interesting to see how Facebook developers react to the news that they will have to re-tool their applications to comply with these stricter privacy controls.Analysts Applaud
Caroline Dangson, an IDC analyst, calls this move an important one because end-users usually don’t distinguish between Facebook and its third-party applications. “This means that if users feel their privacy is breached by an application, Facebook will still get the blame,” she said via e-mail.
Until now, end-users have had granular privacy options on Facebook itself, but not so much when it comes to the third-party applications, she said. “Information shared with third-party applications has remained too vague,” Dangson said.
For Al Hilwa, another IDC analyst, privacy is a critical area in the maturation of the Internet, and bad privacy policies at the API level can lead to a multiplication of these types of problems.
“APIs amplify any privacy imperfections of a social network site by multiplying the problem to the extent that developers adopt them,” Hilwa said.
The social networking industry has so far taken a cavalier and casual attitude toward privacy, often arguing that the younger generations are more relaxed about online privacy, Hilwa said. This is a mistake, he said.
“Privacy is an enduring value and becomes more critical and consequential with the proliferation of information in the information age. Younger generations place lower values on a lot of things but change their mind as they grow up — that’s probably the more durable pattern,” he said.
Under pressure from Twitter, Facebook is also in the process of adding less restrictive privacy settings for end users who want to make their profiles, or at least portions of it, more public and thus more widely available to others on and off Facebook.
Users can easily check the current version of the browser installed on their device and update it as per their needs. Below is how you can check the current version of Google Chrome on your phone and computer.On PC (Windows, Mac)
Step 1: Open the Chrome browser on your PC.
Step 3: Tap on About Chrome from the left sidebar.
Step 5: Now, you will see the browser’s version details.On Phone
Step 1: Open the Google Chrome app on your device.
Step 4: On the next screen, you will see the browser’s details, including the current built version.
While it’s easy to check the Safari version on Mac, the same can be tricky on iOS. Follow the steps below to check the currently installed version of Safari on your Apple devices.On Mac
Step 3: On the pop-up window, you will see the details of the current version.On iOS
The Safari version is the same as your current iOS version on an iPhone. Here’s how to check the same:
Step 1: Open the Settings app on your device.
Step 2: Tap on General under settings.
Step 4: The number you will see next to “Software Version” is the Safari browser version number.
For instance, if your iPhone runs on iOS 16, it’s running Safari 16.
Checking the current build on Edge is very similar to Google Chrome. Follow the steps given below:On PC (Windows, Mac)
Step 2: Tap on the three-dots icon and select Settings from the appeared menu.
Step 4: On the next screen, you will see the browser’s version details.On Phone
Step 1: Open the Microsoft Edge app on your phone.
Step 3: Scroll down to the bottom and tap About Microsoft Edge.
Step 4: Here, you can see the Edge version.
Brave is yet another capable browser based on Chromium. Here’s how you can find what Brave version is installed on your phone or PC:On PC (Windows, Mac)
Step 1: Open the Brave browser on your system.
Step 2: Tap on three lines and select Settings.On Phone
Step 1: Open the Brave app on your device.
Step 3: Scroll down to the bottom and tap on About Brave.
Firefox is an open-source program and one of the major browsers that aren’t Chromium-based. It uses the Quantum browser engine explicitly built for Firefox. Here’s how you can check the currently installed Firefox version on your device:On PC (Windows, Mac)
Step 1: Open the Mozilla Firefox app on your computer.
Step 3: On the next screen, tap on About Firefox.
Step 4: A new window will open in which you will see the browser version.On Phone
Step 3: Scroll down to the bottom and tap on About Firefox.
Step 4: Here, you will see the Firefox version with some other information.On PC (Windows, Mac)
Step 1: Open the Opera browser on your PC.
Step 2: Type opera://settings/help in the address bar, then press enter.
Step 3: The Opera version will appear on the screen.On Mobile
Step 1: Open the Opera app on your phone.
Step 3: Scroll down to the bottom and tap on About Opera.
Step 4: Now, you will see the Opera version.
Technology has erased geographical boundaries in the virtual world. Sadly, there are lots of factors that prevent the physical world from keeping up. Most content providers still put the geographical limitation to its content even though it is distributed on the Internet. Many applications, books, music, and movies are available for those who live in the U.S. but not to the users from another part of the planet – and vice versa. To overcome that problem, we need VPN; and Betternet is one of the most recommended ones.Why VPN?
Unblocking the geographical limiter is one of the reasons we need VPN (Virtual Private Network). Another one is to protect our privacy from prying eyes. If we think about it, how can a content provider determine who can access what? There’s a location tag to every IP address that we use to access the content. To put it simply, anybody can trace where exactly you are coming from by looking at your IP.
This is both cool and scary at the same time. Websites (and Internet companies) collect statistical data by mining this information: what are people looking for and where do they come from. If you are concerned about your privacy, and you should be, you would want to use VPN to protect it.
Virtual Private Network will help you conceal your privacy by rerouting your IP; it makes it as if it comes from another location. Instead of going from A directly to B, your connection will go from A to C (and D and E …) before reaching B, where C and the rest are your VPN nodes. Your content provider will see your connection coming from an approved location and give you access.Why Betternet?
There are many VPN services out there, but most of them come with a hefty subscription price and very limited service. Finding the good and free VPN service is as difficult as finding a four leaf clover – it’s rare, and you must be very lucky to stumble into one.
How, you might ask, can Betternet provide such service for free? It makes money by offering free sponsored apps and videos in the mobile app. Every time you install a recommended app or watch a video, you help Betternet cover the server cost. It also offers a Premium version with more features to cover other costs such as dedicated servers and server locations.Using Betternet
Using Betternet is as simple as installing the app for iOS or Android, adding an extension for a Chrome or Firefox browser, or installing the Windows software. A Mac version is coming soon.
Let’s look at an example from the Betternet Chrome extension. First, install it from the Chrome web store.
That’s it; you are connected to the Internet via a Betternet VPN server. You can find the server location at the bottom of the pop-up window. This is the information that your content provider will see.
I tried Betternet to connect to an affiliate program that will only accept US citizens. The site always redirected me to its local site that has no affiliate program, but I could go through using the US server of Betternet. I also successfully created another Twitter account using Betternet for iOS and Safari mobile in my iPhone.
Jeffry Thurana is a creative writer living in Indonesia. He helps other writers and freelancers to earn more from their crafts. He’s on a quest of learning the art of storytelling, believing that how you tell a story is as important as the story itself. He is also an architect and a designer, and loves traveling and playing classical guitar.
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Warp Images with the Enhanced Warp Tool in Photoshop
Learn how to warp images like never before with the improved and enhanced Warp command in Photoshop 2023!
Written by Steve Patterson.
One of the best new features in Photoshop CC 2023 is the enhanced Warp command. While Photoshop has allowed us to warp images for years, the controls and options for the Warp command have, up till now, been pretty limited. But as of CC 2023, that’s no longer the case. Adobe has added powerful new enhancements to Warp, including new Warp grid presets, new custom grid sizes, and the ability to add our own grid lines and control points wherever we need them. We can now select and warp multiple points within the image at the same time, and we can even scale and rotate different areas of the image independently!
In this tutorial, I’ll show you how every new feature of the Warp command works. To use these features, you’ll need Photoshop 2023 or newer. So before you continue, make sure that your copy of Photoshop CC is up to date.
Let’s get started!The document setup
For this tutorial, I’ve created a simple document with a man dancing in front of a gradient background. The original dancer photo was downloaded from Adobe Stock, and I used the new Object Selection Tool in Photoshop CC 2023 to remove him from the rest of the image. The gradient behind him is one of many new gradients included with Photoshop CC 2023:
The original document. Dancer from Adobe Stock.
In the Layers panel, the man appears on his own layer (“Layer 1”) above a Gradient Fill layer. Make sure you have the correct layer selected before choosing the Warp command:
Selecting the layer that will be warped.
Related: Master the Photoshop interface!Warping smart objects vs normal layers
Also before choosing the Warp command, I highly recommend that you first convert your layer into a smart object. The reason is that if you warp a normal pixel layer, the changes you make become permanent. But if you warp a smart object, the warp remains editable. You can warp a smart object further if you need to, or undo the warp and return to the original shape of the image at any time, without any loss in quality.
Opening the Layers panel menu.
And choose Convert to Smart Object:
Selecting the “Convert to Smart Object” command.
An icon appears in the lower right of the layer’s preview thumbnail, telling us that the layer is now safely inside a smart object and we’re ready to warp the contents:
The smart object icon.
Related: How to edit smart objects in Photoshop!Where do I find Photoshop’s Warp command?
There are a couple of ways to access the Warp command in Photoshop. One is by going up to the Edit menu in the Menu Bar, choosing Transform, and then choosing Warp. This lets you access the Warp command directly:
And the other way is through Photoshop’s Free Transform command. Open Free Transform by going up to the Edit menu and choosing Free Transform, or by pressing Ctrl+T (Win) / Command+T (Mac) on your keyboard:The default Warp controls in Photoshop CC 2023
When you choose the Warp command, Photoshop places the default Warp box around the layer’s contents:
The default Warp box.How to use the default Warp controls
You can drag the control point in each corner of the box:How to undo a warp
In Photoshop CC 2023, the Warp command (and the Free Transform command) now gives us multiple undos. To undo your last step, go up to the Edit menu and choose Undo, or press Ctrl+Z (Win) / Command+Z (Mac) on your keyboard. And to undo multiple steps, press Ctrl+Z (Win) / Command+Z (Mac) repeatedly:Gaining more control with the Warp grid presets
And choose either a 3×3, 4×4 or 5×5 grid:
Choosing one of three preset Warp grid sizes.
The grid appears in front of the image. Here I’ve chosen the 3×3 grid. And notice that instead of seeing control points only in the corners, we now have a control point at each spot where the horizontal and vertical grid lines intersect. So just by adding a 3×3 grid preset, we’ve gone from four control points to sixteen points:
The 3×3 warp grid preset.Dragging a control point Dragging a control handle
You can also drag any of the control handles that extend out from the selected point. Here I’m dragging the right control handle further to the right to warp the shape of the man’s upper body:
Dragging a control handle that extends out from the point.Rotating a control point
Rotating the image around a control point.Warping a grid line How to warp multiple control points at once
So far we’ve looked at how to warp the image using one control point at a time. But in Photoshop CC 2023, we can also warp multiple control points at once.Selecting multiple control points
Here I’m selecting the four points in the center of the grid. A box appears around the points you’ve selected:
Holding Shift and dragging to select multiple control points at once.Moving the selected points
Dragging all selected points together.Scaling the selected points
Scaling the area inside the selected points.Rotating the selected points
Rotating the area inside the selected points.How to deselect multiple points Creating a custom Warp grid
If the Warp grid presets still do not give you enough control, you can create your own custom Warp grid.
In the Options Bar, set the Grid option to Custom:
Setting Grid to “Custom”.
Creating a custom Warp grid.
The new custom grid appears in front of the image, again with an independent control point at each spot where the grid lines intersect. Just keep in mind that changing the grid size after warping the image will discard any changes you’ve made:
A custom 6×6 Warp grid.How to add your own Warp grid lines
Finally, for precise control over the warp, Photoshop CC 2023 now lets you add your own grid lines wherever you need them!
In the Options Bar, you’ll find a new option called Split, with three icons beside it that each gives you a different way to “split” the grid. Starting from the left, Split Crosswise adds both a vertical and horizontal grid line, Split Vertical adds a vertical grid line, and Split Horizontal adds, you guessed it, a horizontal grid line:
The Crosswise (left), Vertical (middle) and Horizontal (right) Split options.
Selecting the Split Crosswise option.A faster way to add grid lines How to delete a custom grid line
Choosing the “Remove Warp Split” command.How to accept the warp
And there we have it! That’s how to warp images using the enhanced Warp command in Photoshop CC 2023! Check out our Photoshop Basics section for more tutorials. And don’t forget, all of our Photoshop tutorials are available to download as PDFs!
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