Polaris

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Mission

Polaris is a Mozilla initiative in partnership with like-minded online privacy organizations. Our mission is to accelerate practical advances in privacy technology for the Web, giving users more control, awareness, and protection in their online experiences.

What is Polaris

Polaris is:

  • a initiative dedicated to advancing privacy on the web
  • a team bridging design, engineering, policy, and product
  • a partnership with like-minded organizations in the privacy space

Polaris is NOT:

  • a browser
  • a single product of any kind
  • a single project

Activities

Our activities focus on:

  • Product development: we develop, test and refine new features to help consumers manage the tradeoffs between privacy and convenience according to their own desires. We learn from our failures. Our successes launch in Firefox and elsewhere.
  • R&D: we continue our long history of privacy and security research and championing of open Internet standards
  • Support growth: we are providing resources and material support to important partner projects where Mozilla’s reputation, size, and expertise can fuel massive growth

Current projects

Tracking protection

Objective

Websites need to be able to deliver and monetize the content they create. Users want more protection from online tracking. Tracking Protection is a new platform-level technology that blocks HTTP loads at the network level. Coupled with a user-declared opt-out, such as Do Not Track, we will explore various paths that can provide users with more safety while allowing websites to reliably deliver ads that meet or exceed consumer's tracking preferences.

Implementation

See Security/Tracking protection.

Enabling Tracking Protection

To enable Tracking Protection, enter "about:config" in the address bar and then search for privacy.trackingprotection.enabled. Set this value to "true" and restart. Detailed directions for enabling Tracking Protection.

Tor Project Support

Objective

Tor is a very valuable tool for circumventing online censorship and concealing identity online. While future collaborations are planned, the most pressing short-term needs are 1. to alleviate some of the engineering burden on Tor developers by integrating Tor patches into the Gecko platform, and 2. provide some additional bandwidth capacity to the Tor network.

Engineering support

The Tor Browser is built on the Firefox platform. Tor has submitted a list of platform patches that would make it easier for Tor engineers to build the browser. Not all of these patches are achievable. Some are high risk, or low impact, given their complexity. Mozilla will prioritize and begin with the ones likely to offer short-medium term impact.

Network Support

Tor's network size constrains the number of users who can use Tor concurrently. In the short term, Mozilla will help address this by running middle relays on Mozilla servers. As of January 15, 2015, Mozilla middle relays are live running in Q1 prototype mode at atlas.torproject.org

Roadmap

Quarter Tracking Protection Tor
Q4 2014
  • [IN-PROGRESS] Initial pilot
  • [IN-PROGRESS] Preferences UI work
  • [COMPLETE] e10s compat work
  • (TPS Tracking bug 1029886)
  • [IN-PROGRESS] Begin Gecko patches
  • [COMPLETE] Begin middle relay set up
  • (Relays Tracking bug 1110515)
Q1 2015
  • [COMPLETE] UX research
  • Platform API work
  • [IN-PROGRESS] UI iteration II
  • [COMPLETE] Middle relay prototype deployment
  • [IN-PROGRESS] Relay performance optimization and analytics
  • [IN-PROGRESS] Patches
  • Releng investigation
Q2 2015
  • List partners
  • v2 concepting
  • Patches
  • Relay scaling
  • UX Concepting

Polaris Advisors


Get Involved in Polaris