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Disable safe browsing and prevent Firefox from sending downloaded file info to Google

I have noticed that with the upcoming Firefox 32, which is currently in Nightly state, the browser will use Google's safe browsing database to check files you have downloaded from the Internet. For every executable file you download, Firefox will perform a check against the online database which is provided by Google. The current version of Firefox 31 also ships with a similar option, but it uses a local database and does not send any request to Google's sites. Firefox 32 will continue to use the local database, however, if the downloaded file isn't found in the local database, Firefox will send the information to Google. You might be interested in disabling this behavior due to privacy concerns. Here's how you can turn it off.

The details which Firefox will send to Google will include the file name, the file size and the download URL. It will also include a hash value calculated from the information above. So, Firefox will be able to reveal the information about your downloads to Google. To disable this,

  1. Open a new tab and enter the following text in the address bar:
    about:config

    Confirm that you will be careful if a warning message appears for you.

  2. Enter the following text in the filter box:
    browser.safebrowsing

    You will see lots of settings related to the Google-powered safe browsing.
    firefox safebrowsing

  3. To disable requests to Google's safe browsing database, set the parameter browser.safebrowsing.appRepURL to an empty string. Just double click it and remove the whole text.
    firefox safebrowsing appRepUrl
  4. To disable the safe browsing feature completely, just set the parameter browser.safebrowsing.enabled to false.

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

8 thoughts on “Disable safe browsing and prevent Firefox from sending downloaded file info to Google”

  1. Thank you. Found you via google.
    I dislike google, yet I am forced to work with their services, but I really dislike that everyone turns ON google services for software that people use, like firefox for example.

    Android is a prime example of google data mining, yet I’m yet to figure out how to get rid of google services. If you’ve got an article on that, send that to my email.

    Thanks.

  2. Android is a Google product so good luck with that !
    If you are particularly anti Google, why have one of their phones ?

  3. Even in the latest Firefox (80.0.1), if you go to ‘Report deceptive site…’, you are directed to Google.

    I would have rather expected Firefox to maintain their own independent list, as Google’s will be necessarily biased.

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