Mozilla Firefox to Partner with Tor in a new anticensorship Project

In a new turn of events, Mozilla Firefox will partner with Tor in an anticensorship Polaris project aimed at boosting online privacy. With NSA tracking every keystroke, users are ditching standard browsers for more sure platforms such as TOR, no wonder Mozilla is now seeking a larger piece of the pie.

The new Polaris project will be an important addition to Mozilla’s anticensorship toolkit which includes a Ghostery and Privacy Badger; a Do Not Track preference and the Forget Button that literally forgets the users’ browsing history. “We want our users to trust us and the Web,” said Mozilla in a blog.

“Polaris is designed to allow us to collaborate more effectively, more explicitly and more directly to bring more privacy features into our products,” stated Mozilla’s blog. “We want to accelerate pragmatic and user-focused advances in privacy technology for the Web, giving users more control, awareness and protection in their Web experiences. We want to advance the state of the art in privacy features, with a specific focus on bringing them to more mainstream audiences.”

With NSA tracking every keystroke, internet users having been jumping ship to more secure platforms such as TOR, no wonder Mozilla is now seeking a larger piece of the pie.  TOR (The Onion Router) based on an Extended Support Release (ESR) version  of Firefox conceals the users identity by encrypting and routing communications across several Tor severs making it difficult for snoopy agencies to track the source of the traffic.

In the new project, Mozilla will be joined by other non-profit privacy advocates such the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), who will provide crucial support and advise Polaris projects. “CDT looks forward to working with Mozilla on the Polaris program and advising on issues like combating Internet censorship and protecting online anonymity, which are vital to promoting free expression online.” said Justin Brookman of CDT

In a bid to cement the new partnership with Tor Project, Mozilla engineers will seek to boost the performance of TOR on Firefox as the first experiment under the Polaris project. Mozilla also announced its intent to launch its own high capacity Tor Middle relays to enhance the capacity of Tor network which is marred by downfalls in speeds.  “The Tor Project is excited to join Mozilla as a launch partner in the Polaris program. We look forward to working together on privacy technology, open standards, and future product collaborations,” said Andrew Lewman of the Tor Project.

In yet another blow on Ad companies which track users browsing history, Mozilla announced a second anticensorship product that will nip them on the bud.  The Privacy tool, still at the development stage aims at protecting users’ from invasive tracking by advertising companies and content sites which use Big Data Analysis to tailor their marketing coupons

“We’re currently testing this privacy tool in our “Nightly” channel. The experiment is promising, but it’s not a full-fledged feature yet. We’ll test and refine the user experience and platform behavior over the coming months and collect feedback from all sides before this is added to our general release versions,” Mozilla said on its website adding that the product is not designed to punish genuine a advertisers but to give users a wide range of preferences.

Recently, Mozilla has been on the forefront demanding more accountability and transparency from the US government following Snowden’s revelations of massive government surveillance by NSA.  In October, Mozilla launched an ads-on extension on Firefox known as LightBeam, allowing Firefox users to see third parties tracking their digital footprints. LightBeam is designed to “illuminate the inner workings of the web” according to Mozilla.

Lawrence Mwangi Lawrence is a technology and business reporter. He has freelanced for a number of tech sites and magazines. He is a web-enthusiast, with a special interest in Online security, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. When not writing about tech he can be found in a Tennis court or on a chess board.
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