Mozilla tests Firefox VPN service to help protect your privacy

Mozilla is again testing a VPN service for its Firefox browser that can help your privacy while you’re surfing around on public Wi-Fi. The move could also potentially give Mozilla a little financial independence.

The Firefox Private Network is available as a beta for desktop users in the US starting Tuesday. It’s a VPN, or virtual private network, that can protect sensitive information like the web addresses you visit and your financial information — when using public Wi-Fi. Mozilla says it’ll also mask your IP address from third-party trackers around the web.

The VPN service is currently free, but Mozilla said part of the test will be exploring possible pricing options. Mozilla previously tested offering a VPN service for $10 a month.

While the move is part of Mozilla’s recent privacy push, it could also offer the company some financial wiggle room. Mozilla makes money through search ad deals, notably with Google, in which it’s paid for sending Firefox users’ search queries to Google. Google shows ads next to the search results, and browser makers including Mozilla often get a cut of the proceeds. Building a VPN for willing to pay for increased privacy would give Mozilla another way to bring in money.

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