Firefox

Tor pulls in record donations as it lessens reliance on US government grants

Posted by | Android, brave, Brendan Eich, carnegie mellon, censorship, censorshit, DuckDuckGo, Edward Snowden, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Firefox, Mozilla, TC, tor, U.S. government, United States | No Comments

Tor, the open-source initiative that provides a more secure way to access the internet, is continuing to diversify its funding away from its long-standing reliance on U.S. government grants.

The Tor Foundation — the organization behind the service which stands for “The Onion Router” — announced this week that it brought in a record $460,000 from individual donors in 2018. In addition, recently released financial information shows it raised a record $4.13 million from all sources in 2017 thanks to a growth in non-U.S. government donors.

The individual donation push represents an increase on the $400,000 it raised in 2017. A large part of that is down to Tor ally Mozilla, which once again pledged to match donations in the closing months of the year, while an anonymous individual matched all new backers who pledged up to $20,000.

Overall, the foundation said that it attracted donations from 115 countries worldwide in 2018, which reflects its importance outside of the U.S.

The record donation haul comes weeks after the Tor Foundation quietly revealed its latest financials — for 2017 — which show it has lessened its dependence on U.S. government sources. That’s been a key goal for some time, particularly after allegations that the FBI paid Carnegie Mellon researchers to help crack Tor, which served as a major motivation for the introduction of fundraising drives in 2015.

Back in 2015, U.S. government sources accounted for 80-90 percent of its financial backing, but that fell to just over 50 percent in 2017. The addition of a Swedish government agency, which provided $600,000, helped on that front, as well as corporate donations from Mozilla ($520,000) and DuckDuckGo ($25,000), more than $400,000 from a range of private foundations, and, of course, those donations from individuals.

Tor is best known for being used by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden but, with governments across the world cracking down on the internet, it is a resource that’s increasingly necessary if we are to guard the world’s right to a free internet.

Tor has certainly been busy making its technology more accessible over the last year.

It launched its first official mobile browser for Android in September, and the same month it released TorBrowser 8.0, its most usable browser yet, which is based on Firefox’s 2017 Quantum structure. It has also worked closely with Mozilla to bring Tor into Firefox itself as it has already done with Brave, a browser firm led by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich.

Beyond the browser and the Tor network itself, which is designed to minimize the potential for network surveillance, the organization also develops a range of other projects. More than two million people are estimated to use Tor, according to data from the organization.

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Firefox Focus adds support for enhanced tracking protection and Google’s Safe Browsing service

Posted by | Android, Apps, Firefox, firefox focus, free software, Google, google-chrome, Mozilla, Safe Browsing, search engine, Software | No Comments

Firefox Focus for Android and iOS is Mozilla’s privacy-centric mobile browser. Today, the organization stepped up this promise of keeping its users’ data private by adding to the browser a few new features that expand on this by adding a new privacy feature, as well as a few other new tools.

The main new addition here is support for Enhanced Tracking Protection. This feature first launched in Firefox for the desktop. It allows you to block cookies and trackers with a bit more granularity than was previously possible. Until now, Focus blocked all cookies by default. Now, however, you can choose to either continue doing that — but with the risk of sites breaking every now and then — or opt to allow third-party cookies or only third-party tracking cookies. Mozilla uses Disconnect’s Tracking Protection list to power this feature.

“This enables you to allow cookies if they contribute to the user experience for a website while still preventing trackers from being able to track you across multiple sites, offering you the same products over and over again and recording your online behavior,” Mozilla explains.

Mozilla also today announced that Firefox Focus now checks all URLs against Google’s Safe Browsing service to ensure that users don’t click on known phishing links or open other fraudulent sites. While using a Google tool may seem a bit odd, given that Firefox and Chrome are competitors, it’s worth noting virtually every browser makes use of Safe Browsing (and that Mozilla pulls in a lot of revenue from its search engine deal with Google).

In addition, iOS users who opt for Firefox Focus will now be able to get search suggestions, too, just like their friends on Android . There’s a privacy trade-off here, though, as everything you’re typing is sent directly to the likes of Google for offering you those suggestions. Because the focus of this browser is privacy, the feature is turned off by default, though.

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With Lockbox and Notes, Mozilla launches its first set of mobile Test Pilot experiments

Posted by | Android, Apps, Firefox, iOS, Mobile, mobile apps, Mozilla, note taking, password manager, TC, test pilot | No Comments

Mozilla’s Test Pilot program for Firefox has long been the organization’s way to trial some of its more experimental ideas for new browser features. Now it’s expanding this program to include mobile apps, too, with the launch Firefox Lockbox, of a password manager for iOS and Notes by Firefox, a note-taking app for Android.

Both apps have a connection to Firefox (hence their names), but we’re not talking about Firefox plugins here. These are standalone apps that sync with Firefox on the desktop and mobile and share its branding.

Lockbox gives you access to passwords you’ve saved in Firefox and then lets you use them in their respective apps (think Twitter or Instagram). To unlock the app, you can use Face ID or your fingerprint.

If you’re not a Firefox user, you probably won’t get a lot of value out of Lockbox, but if you are, then this now allows you to use Firefox’s native password manager instead of a third-party app. That’s a smart move by Mozilla, which doesn’t necessarily have a lot of market share for its browser on iOS but still wants to keep iOS users involved in its ecosystem.

Notes by Firefox does exactly what you think it does. It’s a note-taking app for Android that stores your encrypted notes and syncs them between your phone and the browser. If this sounds a bit familiar, that’s probably because the Notes browser plugin itself is a Test Pilot experiment that launched back in 2017. Now Mozilla is complementing it with a mobile app. Notes in the browser offers all the basic note-taking features you’d want (with support for Markdown if that’s your thing), though we are talking about pretty basic functionality here. Don’t expect a Microsoft Onenote or a similarly fully featured service.

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Mozilla launches Firefox Focus, a private web browser for iPhone

Posted by | Apps, browsers, Firefox, firefox focus, iOS apps, Mobile, privacy, TC | No Comments

firefox-focus-ios The makers of Firefox are today introducing a new mobile web browser for iOS users that puts private browsing at the forefront of the user experience. Called Firefox Focus, the mobile browser by default blocks ad trackers, and erases your browsing history, including your passwords and cookies. The end result is a simplified browser that may load web pages more quickly, the company claims,… Read More

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Multi-process Firefox brings 400-700% improvement in responsiveness

Posted by | add-on, Developer, Firefox, Mobile, mobile browser, Mozilla, Security, TC | No Comments

Cuddly Asian Red Panda or Lesser panda (Ailurus fulgens) chewing on leaves. Earlier this summer I wrote about Mozilla’s efforts to rollout a multi-process architecture, codename Electrolysis, for Firefox. In the months since, Mozilla has completed its initial tests on 1 percent of its user population and the initial numbers are good, according to Asa Dotzler, director of Firefox at Mozilla. The company is reporting a 400 percent improvement in… Read More

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Firefox for iOS gets updated with better security, protection for your passwords

Posted by | Apps, Firefox, Mobile, Mozilla, TC | No Comments

firefox-ios Late last year, Mozilla debuted the public version of its Firefox for iOS web browser, and today the organization is rolling out a notable update in terms of its security. According to an announcement published to Mozilla’s blog, the browser will now introduce several features aimed at improving the security protections available in the app – useful especially in the case of a… Read More

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You Can Now Test Firefox OS On Android Without Hacking Your Phone

Posted by | Firefox, Firefox OS, Mobile, Mozilla, TC | No Comments

ffox So, let’s say you want to give Firefox OS — the mobile OS made by the same people who make the browser — a try. Until now, that’s meant either buying one of a small handful of early Firefox OS devices, or hacking your existing Android device to try and get it running. Today, Mozilla is releasing a “preview” build that runs within Android to give you a… Read More

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