Behavioral Keyboard Privacy Add-On for Firefox

It’s amazing to see the lengths that some web sites will go to in order to track the browsing habits of their users. It’s equally amazing to see the lengths that some users will go to in order to avoid be tracked.

Behavioral Keyboard Privacy is an experimental add-on for Mozilla Firefox that prevents you from being profiled based on how you type. Did you know that there are companies out there that track you based on how you type? They have developed methods that track your typing patterns; how fast you type, how long you dwell on keys, how long it takes for the next key to be pressed and so on.

Basically, all these companies need is enough data to identify you based on how you type regardless of whether you are using the computer for the first time or regularly.

There is no need for cookies, supercookies, or other tracking mechanisms anymore with behavioral keyboard analysis.

The main issue with this from a tracking company perspective is that data is needed to create profiles and identify users. If you visit sites that don’t require input, or only minimal input, then there is little chance for those companies to create your tracking profile or track you.

Behavioral Keyboard Privacy

behavioral keyboard privacy

We talked about this back in 2015 when Keyboard Privacy was released for Google Chrome that took care of that by changing dwell and gap times to constant values.

Behavioral Keyboard Privacy brings the functionality of the Chrome extension to Firefox. It has been created by another user, and it is not entirely clear if it is a port of the Chrome extension.

The functionality that it provides is identical to the Chrome version. It sets the dwell time and the gap time to 200ms by default to protect against tracking methods that try to create a profile on you based on how you type.

You can click on the icon that it adds to Firefox’s main toolbar to change those intervals. You may run into issues if you pick too high or too low values for those intervals.

The add-on runs in the background and should not interfere with your typing in any way. This may be the case if you change the default interval, but it is easy enough to modify the intervals again if that happens.

Closing Words

It is unclear how widespread behavior keyboard tracking is, and by how many sites and companies it is used. Behavioral Keyboard Privacy provides you with an option to block these tracking attempts. If you believe or know that the tracking is widespread, you may install the add-on to stop it cold in its tracks.

Even if a company managed to create a profile using typing data already, it won’t be able to link it to your typing once you install the extension.

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