Mozilla has publicly launched its Firefox Send file-sharing service after a lengthy testing period. It allows you to send files via a link to anyone and set conditions for access like a time period or number of downloads before the file expires.
Firefox Send can handle files as large as 2.5GB. When the Test Pilot period for the service began in August of 2017, the limit was 1GB; that limit still applies until you sign in with your Firefox account (opening an account is free).
You can set a limit to how many times the file can be downloaded before it is deleted from the servers: one, two, three, four, five, 20, 50, or 100 times. You can also set a time limit before deletion—seven days, one day, one hour, or five minutes. Finally, you can set a password of your choice for access to the file. After you go through this brief process, you’ll get a link to send to the recipient to download the file.
There are plenty of file-sending services out there. Mozilla is framing Firefox Send as an alternative to email, whose servers often have harsh file-size restrictions, and Google Drive or Dropbox, which offer collaboration tools and other features that aren’t necessary when you just need to get one file to a friend, family member, or colleague quickly and easily.
And in a blog post announcing the service, Mozilla frames it as a service for privacy and security hawks, though few details were offered beyond the fact that the files are encrypted end to end. Mozilla talks up its data privacy and security mission and policy in the blog post, too.
But even though the details aren’t in the public blog post, they have still been available throughout the testing phase. Our own Dan Goodin wrote the following on the subject when the service first entered testing:
The service uses an algorithm known as AES-GCM-128 to encrypt and authenticate data on the sender’s computer before uploading it to Mozilla servers. And it also uses the Web crypto programming interface, which is one of the better-tested ways Internet applications can perform cryptographic operations without having access to decryption keys. Still, Send shouldn’t be trusted with the most sensitive types of data, such as files that might land a dissident or whistleblower in prison.
The impermanence of the files is part of the security and privacy pitch as well, and Mozilla says this is something that differentiates Firefox Send from Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, or Google Drive. This concept is in vogue right now; Snapchat-like impermanence was also mentioned by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as a core tenet for privacy and security in that company’s stated future plans.
Firefox Send is now available on the Web at send.firefox.com, and it works for both sender and recipient on any modern browser, not just Firefox. An Android app is expected to launch in beta this week.
Below: Mozilla’s brief video demonstrating Firefox Send.
Listing image by Mozilla