Mozilla Introduces Its New VPN Service

The Mozilla Foundation, the organization behind the Firefox browser, has launched its new VPN service. Mozilla has partnered with existing Sweden-based VPN provider Mullvad VPN to provide its new service, Mozilla VPN.

While Firefox protects your data within the browser, your computer, tablet or phone is still vulnerable to invasions of privacy. Mozilla VPN protects your connection across your entire device, so you can stream, download, and game securely.

*Your location and browsing activity are protected, even on unsecured Wi-Fi networks
*Your browsing history isn’t logged or sold
*Your bandwidth is never restricted
*And a subscription to Mozilla VPN gets you trusted protection on up to five devices

At this stage, the exact extent of the partnership between Mozilla and Mullvad VPN is unclear. Mallvad is an established VPN provider with 674 servers across 36 countries yet, at the moment, Mozilla VPN is available only in the following six countries: US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, and Malaysia. I can only assume that, while Mozilla is obviously utilizing Mullvad’s existing servers, they are still in the process of setting them up separately to distinguish between the two providers.

If you reside outside of the currently supported countries you can click on a Join the Waitlist link available on the Mozilla VPN site.

Mozilla’s VPN is somewhat unique in that it offers only a single monthly subscription plan. Mozilla is currently advertising its plan at $4.99US per month. While there are no discounted extended (1-2 year) plans available, the month by month plan is comparatively cheap coming in at around 50% less expensive than the average monthly plans offered by other VPNs. ExpressVPN and NordVPN’s monthly subscriptions, for example, currently cost $12.95 and $11.95 per month respectively with their one-year plans coming in at $6.67 and $6.99 respectively per month. NordVPN does offer a 2-year plan which, at $4.99 per month, matches Mozilla’s pricing, and there are other VPN providers offering even less expensive extended plans. However, Mozilla’s zero lock-in contract along with the ability to cancel the subscription at the end of any monthly billing period should appeal to many potential VPN users.

OpenVPN Versus WireGuard

OpenVPN has long been considered the gold standard of VPN protocols and is available in most VPN services. WireGuard is a comparatively new VPN protocol that is quickly gaining traction. WireGuard has been proven to provide faster speeds, improved reliability, and upgraded encryption and, while a number of privacy concerns have been raised over the new protocol in the past, these appear to have now been eliminated. If you’re interested in learning more about the WireGuard protocol, I suggest visiting: WireGuard VPN: What You Need to Know

Mozilla says the following regarding WireGuard:

WireGuard protocol encrypts your network traffic protecting all your private information. Compared to existing VPN protocols, WireGuard’s lightweight code is easier for security analysts to review and audit – making it a more secure option for the VPN. In addition, your online activities can stay anonymous because we never log, track or share your network data.

Mozilla VPN – Privacy

In addition to the above, Mozilla also states re privacy:

We don’t log, track, or share any of your network activity. We adhere strictly to Mozilla’s Data Privacy Principles, and we only collect the most minimal data required to keep the VPN healthy and operational.

Mozilla VPN also utilizes a unique account system that doesn’t require any log-in credentials or personal information. The following excerpt is taken from Mullvad VPN’s privacy policy but applies equally to Mozilla VPN:

We want you to remain anonymous. When you sign up for Mullvad, we do not ask for any personal information – no username, no password, no email address. Instead, a random account number is generated, a so-called numbered account. This number is the only identifier a person needs in order to use a Mullvad account. This is a fundamental difference that sets us apart from most other services.

Anyone at anytime can create as many numbered accounts as they wish on our website. An account can be used by multiple people or by someone other than the person who initially generated it. A Mullvad account has two properties: the account number and the time remaining on that account.

As I mentioned, the line between Mullvad and Mozilla is difficult to define but, at this stage, Mozilla appears to be mostly referring to Mullvad’s existing features, terms, and conditions that tend to suggest that they (Mozilla) will be following Mullvad’s policies. Whether or not that extends to the client app I do not know– maybe the identical app with a different name.

While Mozilla VPN is clearly not yet ready for global usage the blurb on the website states what you can expect once it is fully up and running:

Mozilla VPN is currently available for Windows PCs, Android devices, and iOS devices with clients for Mac and Linux in the pipeline (”coming soon” according to Mozilla).

BOTTOM LINE:

While both Sweden (Mullvad) and the US (Mozilla) are part of the 14 Eyes group of countries, which may raise flags with some, the clear and transparent privacy policies should eliminate any such concerns. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I believe an unequivocal and verified zero-logs policy should override any jurisdictional concerns. After all, how can a VPN be forced to provide data if there is zero data to provide.

To me, it seems a logical move for the Mozilla Foundation, which has always struggled for revenue, to diversify into an area that is clearly on an upward trend. I also believe that the month by month subscription system is an excellent concept, especially when the fee is at least comparable, and in many cases less expensive, than other VPNs annual subscription plans. As I said earlier, the zero lock-in contract with the ability to cancel the subscription at the end of any monthly billing period if unhappy is very appealing.

As part of my research for this article, I read through several comprehensive Mullvad VPN reviews which are, in the main, very positive. Mullvad VPN is well established (since 2009) and appears to be a respected VPN provider offering a very good service. I haven’t linked to any reviews here but if you’d like to check them out, just search online for ”Mullvad VPN reviews”.

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