The Tor anonymity browser may soon become even more accessible as the executive director hints that Firefox integration may be up next.
In an effort to increase people’s online privacy following the NSA revelations, several tech firms are reportedly in talks with Tor to include the software in products that can reach half a billion Internet users in the entire world.
The Daily Dot reports that one particular firm wants to include Tor as a private browsing mode. This company provides a mainstream web browser, which would make it possible for users to no longer switch between browsers, but simply between modes by turning the Tor anonymity network on and off.
“They very much like Tor Browser and would like to ship it to their customer base. Their product is 10-20 percent of the global market, this is roughly 2.8 billion global Internet users,” said Andrew Lewman, Tor executive director.
While Mozilla’s name isn’t mentioned directly, it’s pretty much the only one to fit the description. StatCounter indicated that in August, Chrome had a market share of 46.26 percent, Internet Explorer of 20.31 percent and Firefox 17.5 percent.
Net Market Share has a different chart that puts Internet Explorer at the top with 58.4 percent, while Chrome follows with 19.6 percent and Firefox with 15.23 percent.
Regardless of the chart we’re looking at, it’s highly unlikely that Google or Microsoft would consider integrating Tor into their browsers. Mozilla, on the other hand, is the likely candidate. On both charts it has between “10 and 20 percent” market share that Lewman mentioned.
Unlike the other two big corporations, Mozilla is the most influential tech nonprofit in the US and offers Firefox as an alternative to other browsers, focusing on privacy. It makes sense for Mozilla to want to integrate Tor into Firefox and to offer the ultimate online privacy solution to its users.
This would allow people to browse the Internet without saving any information about which sites and pages are being visited. Tor blocks websites from accessing data that identifies information about users, such as IP and so on.
Furthermore, it makes it impossible for spy agencies to track you down once you enter the Tor network, which means they don’t know what pages you’re visiting and so on.
The Tor Browser that’s currently available for download is a modified version of Firefox so integrating the tool into actual Firefox shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.
“Many companies want to include Tor in their products, because they've heard from the market that Tor is the real deal and really does work. As privacy is becoming the hot new buzzword for products to include, jump-starting with Tor seems a smart way for a product manufacturer to do it,” added Lewman.