Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, has released an Android app for its new VPN service, Firefox Private Network. The company has been planning to release a paid VPN service for some time with the big selling point being that Mozilla won’t log your web traffic or sell any data to third-parties. Firefox Private Network remains in an invite-only beta for now.
The new app for Firefox Private Network is pretty typical of what you get from any other VPN service. Once installed you can activate the VPN and choose a country with servers to route your mobile traffic through. Mozilla says its network has more than 100 servers spread across 30 countries, and users can run Firefox Private Network on up to five devices simultaneously.
VPNs are great — Because they provide enhanced security when browsing the web by encrypting your traffic and routing it through remote servers, making it harder for outsiders to monitor or block your requests. VPNs are popular in parts of the world where censorship is common and major websites like Google are blocked because instead of trying to visit Google directly, your request is encrypted and sent to a server not affiliated with Google, which then requests the site itself and sends it back to the end user.
VPNs are also a great way to access content that for whatever reason has been restricted by region. I won’t say this is how I watched Uncut Gems on Netflix but...
The problem Mozilla is addressing — Is that many VPN services are free and have to pay their server bills somehow — which can mean logging the traffic of their users and selling it to third-party data aggregators. That kind of cancels out a big reason to use a VPN, which is why you should always do your research and use a paid service if you’re looking to use a VPN for privacy reasons.
For Mozilla, the Firefox Private Network is part of a plan to reduce its heavy reliance on search engines, which pay it royalties to appear as an option in the Firefox browser. Search engine royalties from Google and others account for more than 80 percent of Mozilla's revenue, meaning if one of them simply decided to stop paying royalties, Mozilla could be in existential danger.
Right now the company is charging invited users $4.99 per month for access to Firefox Private Network, but Mozilla says that price is for early users, so it might increase.