BrowserID Becomes Mozilla Persona

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 23, 2012
Updated • Apr 20, 2012

BrowserID, a technology and service of the same name, has been in development by Mozilla since last year. The aim is to fundamentally change the way log in systems work on the Internet. Instead of concentrating on username and password based login systems, Mozilla plans to shift it to verifiable email addresses instead.

The basic idea behind the system is simple: If you can verify ownership of an email address, you can use it to sign up and log in to sites and services on the Internet.

Take a look at this - early - demonstration video of BrowserID:

What made the system confusing at first was that both the technology and the service that Mozilla started to implement were both named BrowserID.

The Mozilla Identity team today announced that they are about to change the service's name to Mozilla Persona. The transition may take a few months to complete.

The Persona name resonates with the idea of personhood as well as online identity as a facet of our lives, and therefore strongly tied to user identity. We’re very excited about this new name and the new features our identity system will offer. Some of the things we’re planning: an identity dashboard, user data interconnect features, and more.

And while we are talking about confusing, it should not be confused with Personas, the technology that lets Mozilla users change their browser's or email client's toolbar theme comfortably. To add to the confusion, the Personas team has announced that their technology will receive a name change of its own in the future.

So lets take another look at the technologies and services in play:

  • BrowserID - Name of the underlying technology that powers Mozilla Persona
  • Mozilla Persona - Mozilla's implementation of BrowserID, the new name of the service.
  • Personas - A background changer for Mozilla products that will be renamed in the near future.

The Mozilla Identity team notes that the next few weeks will without doubt cause some confusion, but once things settle down, it should result in a better experience for users of their service. (via)


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Bob said on February 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    This is too bad for those who are educated in privacy and wish to protect it. Firefox is partnering up with certain websites and then the Firefox users will have no choice but be forced to reveal them selves to these marketers I hope the courts step in to force Firefox to give give the user an option to how they want to logon. Opt-in or opt-out yet again because of these marketing inventions. I may have to start looking for a new browser that I hope my paid for plugins will support.

  2. Jojo said on February 23, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    I don’ think this is going to work very well with my over 200 disposable email addresses, 5 Gmail addresses, one Yahoo address and so on! [lol]

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on February 23, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      It is likely more aimed at the one username, one password, one email user.

      1. Jojo said on February 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm

        Yes, which is a crazy thing to have these days.

        Just the other day I decided to sign-up to post comments on Slate. The choices for signing up didn’t seem to offer anything other than FB, Twtter, Gmail or a Yahoo account. I decided to use my Yahoo account, which I don’t use to often anyway. I was asked to verify that I wanted to “share” my Yahoo account with Slate. I said OK.

        A few hours after doing this, I started getting email in my Yahoo account not only from Slate but from two other 3rd party companies that Slate had apparently sold my info to w/o my approval.

        I unsubscribed from the emails from both of the 3rd parties. But the next day, I got another email from one of the 3rd parties, in spite of filling out their pretty unsubscribe form. I unsubscribed again and told them if they sent me anything additional, I would file a complaint with the FCC. I then canceled my new Slate account and deleted their cookies (about 15 of them!). But they still have my Yahoo email address.

        This is why using only one email address on today’s web is crazy. I knew I should have found a way to use a disposable email addr for Slate. I won’t make this mistake again.

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on February 23, 2012 at 10:06 pm

        I agree. I also think that websites should be forced to reveal if they sell your data, and if they do to whom.

  3. me said on February 23, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    What’s with the piped in applauds? The email login gives the browser the ability to serve marketers and tracking companies your real name so that they can match you up with Facebook and every other data collection agency out there. Nice move Firefox. I’m guessing that marketers will jump back onto your ship with this feature added.

  4. me said on February 23, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    I don’t use FaceBook to log in to sites for privacy reasons and I will not be using Firefox’s log in feature for the same reason. I may have to check out other open source browsers if Firefox is going to start tracking users with their email address. I saw an open source browser that Linux is promoting as a default browser but I cannot remember the name.

  5. Robert Palmar said on February 23, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    Is the prominent use of the MacBook and iPad
    a function of some relationship with Apple or does
    Mozilla just think it makes them look cool and trendy.

  6. Anthony Frazier said on February 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Oh yeah, this is *far* less confusing than when it was called BrowserID.

    Maybe they should have announced both new names at once, to get everything out of the way.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.