Customize Privacy Settings in Mozilla Firefox: Part 1 (about:config)

This post[1] marks the first in a series of posts covering the customization of privacy settings in Mozilla Firefox. In this post, we will look at some modifications using the “about:config” interface (those unfamiliar with about:config might want to check out the Knowledge Base article for more information). Continue reading Customize Privacy Settings in Mozilla Firefox: Part 1 (about:config)


How to Get Rid of Pocket in Mozilla Firefox

The latest Nightly build of Mozilla Firefox comes with a “Save to Pocket” button. To get rid of this bloatware you have to visit the about:config preferences to set browser.pocket.enabled to false. And while you are at it you might want to change all the other Pocket-related preferences (set browser.pocket.api to an empty string, browser.pocket.oAuthConsumerKey to an empty string, and to an empty string), just in case.

And for the odd chance that a Mozilla representative happens to frequent this blog: Cluttering Firefox with bloatware for proprietary services is not a viable strategy to retain those users that care about open source and privacy.

Swiss Public Holidays from 2014 to 2028 in Mozilla Thunderbird

Mozilla Thunderbird is a free, open-source, cross-platform e-mail, news, and chat client developed by the Mozilla Foundation that we heavily rely on at WebDevelopmentAid. With its Lightning add-on Thunderbird also offers calendar functionality that you might be used to if you are an avid Microsoft Outlook user.

As for Microsoft Outlook it is possible to download public holiday calendars for almost all countries in the world for your Mozilla Thunderbird client too (you can get them there). Unfortunately, the Swiss calendar ends in 2014, so we decided to create a new one that starts on January 1, 2014 and ends on December 31, 2028.

It is important to note that—with the exception of the Swiss National Day on August 1—the 26 cantons that make up Switzerland set their public holidays independently which is why it is possible that our calendar includes holidays that are not celebrated in your canton or your municipality. Before planning your vacations, we would therefore strongly advise you to consult with the official list of Swiss public holidays found in this .pdf-file that goes by the lovely name of “Gesetzliche Feiertage und Tage, die in der Schweiz wie gesetzliche Feiertage behandelt werden”.

You can download our Swiss public holiday .ics-calendar from our GitHub repository. Apologies to our French, Italian, or Romansh speaking compatriots but for the time being this calendar is in German only.


Privacy-Enhancing Add-on Bundles Now Available as Mozilla Firefox Collections

We always felt like our post on privacy-enhancing add-on bundles for Mozilla Firefox wasn’t overly user-friendly and that it would be nice if you could click one link and have all our favorite add-ons automatically installed. Just very recently we learned about a feature that has been around since 2009 (!) that allows just that: Mozilla Collections. You’ll find the introductory post here.

So, here are the links to our advanced, our basic, and our optional add-on bundle. The only drawback is that you can’t include third-party add-ons, i.e. we couldn’t include EFF’s excellent HTTPS Everywhere add-on that we recommended for both our advanced and our basic privacy bundle.


In our post on  privacy-enhancing add-ons for Mozilla Firefox, we recommended the Firefox add-on RequestPolicy as part of what we called the “advanced privacy add-on bundle”.

Since we use this great add-on in our day-to-day browsing, we were worried that we would eventually have to drop it when we heard that this project was discontinued by its original author. We are therefore relieved to announce that RequestPolicy is continued as a friendly fork by the fine folks over at RequestPolicyContinued.

We already downloaded their current beta (v1.0.0b7) and noticed a few improvements over the last release of the original project. The most notable changes include the possibility to sort the destinations (by name or by the number of requests) and an indicator that shows the number of requests for every destination.

To download the latest (beta) release of RequestPolicyContinued head over to

Introduction to e-mail encryption with GnuPG, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Enigmail

The Golden Keys Team published a fairly easy-to-use introduction to e-mail cryptography. The book has 140 pages and covers the very basics of cryptography in an understandable way and has a detailed guide covering the installation of GnuPG, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Enigmail.

You can download the book here (and don’t forget to donate).

Friendly Reminder to Update Your User Agent String

In our post on privacy-enhancing about:config settings we recommended that you spoof your User Agent.

Every now and then you should update your spoofed User Agent; otherwise your supposedly generic header becomes quite unique.

To update your User Agent in the about:config settings you have to follow these steps:

  1. To open about:config, type about:config in in the Location Bar (address bar) and press Enter to display the list of preferences, as shown in the picture below. If you see a page with the warning message, This might void your warranty!, click the button labeled I’ll be careful, I promise!, to continue (in fact, there is no warranty whatsoever, it is more a joke to ensure that users are aware of what they are about to do). Use the check box there to avoid the warning in the future.List of preferences in the about:config interface of Mozilla Firefox
  2. Type useragent into the filter box. We are looking for the general.useragent.override preference.Screenshot of about:config interface: Type useragent into the filter box
  3. Double-click general.useragent.override and change the User Agent to Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:29.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/29.0