Mozilla launches free in-browser (any browser) file-sharing service

Firefox Send is a website anyone can use free of charge to transfer files. Links to the files can be set to expire in a week or less, and downloads can be limited in number.

Firefox Send

Mozilla today debuted a free file-sharing service that works with - but doesn't require - Firefox and touted the service's security and privacy traits.

"Send uses end-to-end encryption to keep your data secure from the moment you share to the moment your file is opened," wrote Nick Nguyen, Mozilla's vice president of product strategy. "You can [also] choose when your file link expires, the number of downloads, and whether to add an optional password for an extra layer of security."

Firefox Send, formerly one of the experiments run under Mozilla's now-defunct Test Pilot program, is not an app but a website that anyone can use free of charge. Firefox Account holders - accounts are used to synchronize saved bookmarks and passwords to browsers on multiple devices - are given an edge in that they can upload files as large as 2.5GB to the service. Non-account holders are limited to 1GB uploads.

Users set each file's download limit - from 1 to 100 downloads - and the download link's expiration, which can range from five minutes to seven days. After uploading the file, the user is given a link to share with others; said link can be shared via email, text or collaboration app. Upon expiration, the link won't operate; instead, the recipient's browser displays "This link has expired."

That same message appears if the download count has already been reached. Users can also password-protect the download links as an additional level of security.

However, the download limits and expiration do not apply to the file that is downloaded, only to the link. Thus the file, once downloaded, can be copied at will; nor does the downloaded file magically delete itself at the end of the expiration period.

For its part, Mozilla explained how it handles files uploaded to Send in this privacy document. "By default, files are stored for a maximum of either 24 hours or 7 days," the notice read. "If you choose a download cap, the file can be deleted from our server sooner."

Unlike storage, sharing and syncing services such as Box, Dropbox or OneDrive, Firefox Send doesn't integrate with the device's operating system. It doesn't even integrate with Firefox; users must create a bookmark to to avoid manually entering the address in a browser.

Mozilla also said that a beta version of an Android app version of Firefox Send would be available later this week.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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