Mozilla has officially launched a new privacy-focused VPN service, called Firefox Private Network, as a browser extension that aims to encrypt your online activity and limit what websites and advertisers know about you.
Firefox Private Network service is currently in beta and available only to desktop users in the United States as part of Mozilla’s recently expunged “Firefox Test Pilot” program that lets users try out new experimental features before they were officially released.
The Firefox Test Pilot program was first launched by the company three years ago but was shut down in January this year. The company now decided to bring the program back but with some changes.
“The difference with the newly relaunched Test Pilot program is that these products and services may be outside the Firefox browser, and will be far more polished, and just one step shy of general public release,” said Marissa Wood, vice president of product at Mozilla.
Firefox Private Network is the Test Pilot program’s first new project.
Firefox Private Network — Mozilla’s VPN Service
Like any other best VPN service, Firefox Private Network also masks your IP address from third-party online trackers and protect your sensitive information, like the website you visit and your financial information, when using public Wi-Fi.
Mozilla says its Firefox Private Network “provides a secure, encrypted path to the web to protect your connection and your personal information anywhere, and everywhere you use your Firefox browser.”
Firefox Private Network also works the same way as any other VPN service.
The Firefox Private Network VPN service also encrypts and funnels every Internet browsing activity of yours through a collection of remote proxy servers, thereby masking your real location/identity and blocking third parties, including government and your ISP, from snooping on your connection.
The actual proxy servers for the Firefox Private Network extension is provided by Cloudflare, the company that offers one of the biggest and fastest CDN, DNS and DDoS protection services.
For those concerned about the data collection by Cloudflare, Mozilla promises “strong privacy controls” to limit what data Cloudflare may collect and for how long it may store that data.
“Cloudflare only observes a limited amount of data about the HTTP/HTTPS requests that are sent to the Cloudflare proxy via browsers with an active Mozilla extension,” Cloudflare says.
“When requests are sent to the Cloudflare proxy, Cloudflare will observe your IP address, the IP address for the Internet property you are accessing, source port, destination port, timestamp and a token provided by Mozilla that indicates that you are a Firefox Private Network user (together, “Proxy Data”). All Proxy Data will be deleted within 24 hours.”
How To Sign Up For Firefox VPN Service
Firefox Private Network currently works only on desktops but is believed to be made available for mobile users as well, once the VPN exits beta.
Although the Firefox Private Network service is currently free, Mozilla hinted that the company is exploring possible pricing options for the service in the future to keep it self-sustainable.
For now, if you have a Firefox account and reside in the United States, you can test the Firefox VPN service for free by signing up on the Firefox Private Network website.
Once installed on your desktop, the Firefox Private Network extension will add a toggle on the toolbar of your Firefox web browser so you can easily turn it on or off at any time.
What’s your take on Firefox Private Network? Let us know in the comments below.
Jessica spends 12 hours a day on the internet managing security for web assets and loves her macha tea