Mozilla has officially launched a new privacy-focused VPN service called Firefox private network, as a browser extension that aims to encrypt your online activities and limit what websites and advertisers know about you.
Firefox's private network service is currently in beta and is only available to desktop users in the United States as part of the recently phased Mozilla Firefox Test Pilot program that allows users to test new experimental features prior to its official launch.
The Firefox test pilot program was first launched by the company three years ago, but it closed in January of this year. The company has now decided to return the program but with some changes.
"The difference from the newly launched Test Pilot program is that these products and services may be outside of the Firefox browser, and will be much smoother and just one step behind a public launch," said Marissa Wood, vice president of products for Mozilla.
Firefox Private Network is the first new project in the Pilot Test program.
Firefox private network: Mozilla VPN service
Like other better VPN services, Firefox Private Network also hides your IP address from third-party online trackers and protects your confidential information, such as the websites you visit and your financial information, when you use public Wi-Fi.
Mozilla said its private Firefox network "provides a secure and encrypted path to the web to protect your connection and personal information anywhere and wherever you use your Firefox browser."
Firefox Private Network also works in the same way as other VPN services.
Firefox's private network VPN service also encrypts and channels any of your Internet browsing activities through a collection of remote proxy servers, thereby masking your true location / identity and blocking third parties, including your government and ISP, from don't spy on your connection.
Cloudflare, the company that offers one of the fastest and largest CDN, DNS and DDoS protection services, provides the real proxy server for Firefox's private network extension.
For those who are concerned with data collection by Cloudflare, Mozilla promises "strong privacy controls" to limit what data Cloudflare collects and how long the data is stored.
"Cloudflare only observes a limited amount of data on HTTP / HTTPS requests sent to the Cloudflare proxy through a browser with an active Mozilla extension," said Cloudflare.
"When a request is sent to the Cloudflare proxy, Cloudflare will look at your IP address, the IP address of the internet property you are accessing, the source port, the destination port, the timestamp and the token provided by Mozilla which shows that you are a user of the private network of Firefox (shared – same "Proxy data"). All Proxy information will be removed within 24 hours. "
How to sign up for the Firefox VPN service
Firefox Private Network currently only works on the desktop, but is believed to be available to mobile users as well, once the VPN is out of beta.
Although the Firefox Private Network service is currently free, Mozilla suggests that the company is exploring possible pricing options so that future services remain independent.
For now, if you have a Firefox account and live in the United States, you can try the Firefox VPN service for free by registering on the Firefox private network website.
Once installed on your desktop, the Firefox private network extension will add a toggle to your Firefox web browser toolbar so you can easily enable or disable it at any time.
What do you think about Firefox Private Network? Let us know in the comments below.