30 votes

Firefox Private Network

21 comments

  1. hungariantoast
    (edited )
    Link
    Well, $4.99 a month is slightly cheaper than Mullvad's $5.50 a month. This VPN is managed with a Firefox account, not with just an account number like Mullvad. Some people might prefer to have an...

    Well, $4.99 a month is slightly cheaper than Mullvad's $5.50 a month.

    This VPN is managed with a Firefox account, not with just an account number like Mullvad. Some people might prefer to have an account they can recover versus a random number that can easily be lost forever. (I don't really care either way, to be honest. The account number system is way simpler though.)

    The Mullvad client is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and I think it can even run on BSD, but I'm not sure. Any mobile operating system that can manage or has apps for an OpenVPN or WireGuard connection can also be used with Mullvad. So, almost all of them.

    (Mullvad also has an Android app, but it's beta.)

    Firefox's VPN is currently Windows 10 64-bit only, but apparently other operating systems will be made available soon? What does that mean exactly? Does that mean there will be a client which users can install and use to connect to the VPN automatically, or will Linux, macOS, and mobile users be expected to set up their own connection configurations with third party clients?

    Of course, having to configure your connection manually with a third party client isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if the Firefox VPN client isn't going to be free and open-source software like Mullvad's client is.

    So yeah, my main questions are:

    • Will we have access to configuration files for manual connections with third party clients?

    • Will the official client be open-source?


    I don't know, my Mullvad subscription is expiring soon and this is an interesting move by Mozilla that I'll pay attention to, but it does not currently offer enough features (or answers) to make me switch over.

    And for the record, I would switch over to this if it was basically Mullvad, but with a Firefox skin and a slightly cheaper price that directly contributed to Mozilla. Like, fork the Mullvad client, change some colors and fonts, and I would literally be fine (happier even) with that.

    That being said, if by December 2020 this service has matured and has the stuff I want, I might entertain the idea of switching over.

    11 votes
  2. [7]
    Grzmot
    Link
    So what exactly is the difference to simply using Mullvad?

    So what exactly is the difference to simply using Mullvad?

    8 votes
    1. ainar-g
      Link Parent
      Supporting the cause, I guess. People have been talking about Mozilla Co. turning into a service company for years. It's basically the only way for Mozilla Co. to reduce their dependency on Google.

      Supporting the cause, I guess. People have been talking about Mozilla Co. turning into a service company for years. It's basically the only way for Mozilla Co. to reduce their dependency on Google.

      19 votes
    2. [5]
      timo
      Link Parent
      It's a lot easier to market, when backed by Mozilla, than just Mullvad.

      It's a lot easier to market, when backed by Mozilla, than just Mullvad.

      4 votes
      1. [4]
        balooga
        Link Parent
        That makes a certain amount of sense for Mozilla, but I don't see any actual value for customers.

        That makes a certain amount of sense for Mozilla, but I don't see any actual value for customers.

        1. [3]
          Diff
          Link Parent
          Marginally cheaper, supports Mozilla

          Marginally cheaper, supports Mozilla

          7 votes
          1. [2]
            balooga
            Link Parent
            I hear what you're saying and I'm conflicted about it. I want to support the ongoing development of Firefox, but one of the conditions of this service is that you associate your Mullvad...

            I hear what you're saying and I'm conflicted about it. I want to support the ongoing development of Firefox, but one of the conditions of this service is that you associate your Mullvad subscription with your Firefox Account, which I've purposely avoided creating. The requirement of pinning VPN usage to an additional trackable identity (in an unnecessary middle-man layer between you and the VPN) somewhat contradicts their stated goals of privacy.

            3 votes
            1. timo
              Link Parent
              A user like yourself, that requires anonimity, is different from one that requires security. If you are looking for anonimity, you will probably go through more hoops to get it and will do...

              A user like yourself, that requires anonimity, is different from one that requires security. If you are looking for anonimity, you will probably go through more hoops to get it and will do research on the providers. Also, losing your account isn't an issue.

              For basic users however, the simplest way to a VPN is through an easy to use tool from a trusted party.

              9 votes
  3. [5]
    Bullmaestro
    Link
    Hold up, why are Mozilla launching this as a limited Windows 10 invite-only beta when There are already a plethora of similarly priced VPNs on the market that take a similar approach towards...

    Hold up, why are Mozilla launching this as a limited Windows 10 invite-only beta when

    1. There are already a plethora of similarly priced VPNs on the market that take a similar approach towards ensuring user privacy by not logging user activity (Private Internet Access, BTGuard, to name a few.)

    2. Mozilla's technology is based on WireGuard servers provided by Mullvad, who already provide this themselves at a slightly more expensive price point to Mozilla?

    6 votes
    1. hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      There was some discussion about this in the Hacker News comments that @ainar-g linked. The most plausible explanation for the initial US-only offering that I read is that it makes it easier for...

      There was some discussion about this in the Hacker News comments that @ainar-g linked.

      The most plausible explanation for the initial US-only offering that I read is that it makes it easier for Mozilla to deal with issues during the early development of the service.

      So, target one country, one language, and one operating system while bringing the product to a stable state, then gradually expand to other operating systems, countries, and languages later. Basically, it makes supporting the initial phase of the project much easier.

      Is that a true and accurate reason behind Mozilla's decision? I have no idea.

      10 votes
    2. [3]
      balooga
      Link Parent
      Regarding PIA in particular, their recent US$128 million acquisition by a company with a sketchy past is probably leaving a lot of their current customers considering alternatives. Myself included.

      Regarding PIA in particular, their recent US$128 million acquisition by a company with a sketchy past is probably leaving a lot of their current customers considering alternatives. Myself included.

      9 votes
      1. [2]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        They also hired Mark Karpeles as their CTO last year, which is completely insane. Someone famous for getting hacked and fraudulently hiding it from their customers should not be anywhere near a...

        They also hired Mark Karpeles as their CTO last year, which is completely insane. Someone famous for getting hacked and fraudulently hiding it from their customers should not be anywhere near a privacy/trust-based company, never mind in one of the top positions.

        12 votes
        1. balooga
          Link Parent
          Wait, WHAT? I missed that... That guy is the last person I want anywhere near my VPN.

          Wait, WHAT? I missed that... That guy is the last person I want anywhere near my VPN.

          5 votes
  4. [6]
    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    I've been using the beta of their Firefox Private Network browser extension which has worked well for me and has been mostly seamless. I find it interesting that they're using two different...

    I've been using the beta of their Firefox Private Network browser extension which has worked well for me and has been mostly seamless. I find it interesting that they're using two different providers for the two different products: CloudFlare for the extension-level service and Mullvad for the device-level service. They also had a partnership with ProtonVPN last year so maybe they're shopping around providers right now?

    I will definitely sign onto this once they add Linux support. Is there anything about whether multiple devices will be supported? I would love to use this on my computer and my phone, but paying for two subscriptions for that would be pretty steep, cost-wise.

    4 votes
    1. ainar-g
      Link Parent
      In the HackerNews thread some people wrote that Mozilla decided to not go with ProtonVPN, because the latter doesn't support Wireguard. I don't know if that's true, obviously
      They also had a partnership with ProtonVPN last year so maybe they're shopping around providers right now?

      In the HackerNews thread some people wrote that Mozilla decided to not go with ProtonVPN, because the latter doesn't support Wireguard. I don't know if that's true, obviously

      4 votes
    2. [2]
      hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      As far as supporting multiple devices, on the linked page it says: Mullvad has the same policy:

      As far as supporting multiple devices, on the linked page it says:

      Connect up to 5 devices at once with a fast, powerful connection.

      Mullvad has the same policy:

      How many computers or devices can I use the Mullvad VPN app on?

      You can install the app on as many as you wish; however, each account is limited to 5 simultaneous connections.

      4 votes
      1. kfwyre
        Link Parent
        Ah, I somehow missed that entirely! Thank you. That means I'm definitely in as soon as they support my devices.

        Ah, I somehow missed that entirely! Thank you. That means I'm definitely in as soon as they support my devices.

        1 vote
    3. [2]
      balooga
      Link Parent
      I assume that any true zero-log VPN provider will literally have no way of knowing how many devices are in use by a single account? Someone correct me if I'm wrong on that.

      I assume that any true zero-log VPN provider will literally have no way of knowing how many devices are in use by a single account? Someone correct me if I'm wrong on that.

      1 vote
      1. timo
        Link Parent
        I'm guessing they don't log what pages you visit or log when you connected. But during an active connection, I can imagine they keep some state alive that knows which connection has which account.

        I'm guessing they don't log what pages you visit or log when you connected. But during an active connection, I can imagine they keep some state alive that knows which connection has which account.

        4 votes