The Mozilla Foundation is looking for a more effective way of integrating Tor in Firefox and seems willing to spend too much money on that target.
Better Tor integration is one of the key points Mozilla is willing to fund through the program Research Grants 2019H1 announced by the agency last month.
This program has been using it for quite some time and is the way it pays the bills to develop new Firefox features.
So companies, individuals and academics can apply for the program and receive funding for one of the 12 research topics that Mozilla is interested in solving.
One of these 12 topics is "Privacy & Security for Firefox", where Mozilla said it was looking for a more efficient way to integrate Tor into Firefox.
Tor may be running Firefox right now, but this integration slows down Mozilla's browser a lot.
"Enabling a large number of add-ons for users to use the Tor network requires development as there are inefficiencies, to make the protocol better and eventually grow on a large scale," says Mozilla.
Academic research begins with simply exploring architectural alternative protocols, and route selection protocols such as Tor-over-QUIC, employing DTLS, and Walking Onions.
Which alternative protocols and route selection protocols would offer acceptable benefits to Tor performance and retain Tor properties so that it is really possible to deploy Tor on a large scale and how will Tor and Firefox be fully integrated?
To that end, Mozilla is willing to provide research grants to help you discover the best way to integrate Tor into Firefox without the current performance losses.
Any work in this area will eventually result in a new Firefox browser called Super Private Browsing (SPB).
What is the goal?
If Firefox manages to get a Tor-protected private browsing feature, it will be the second major browser to do so - the first being Brave. Of course, it should be mentioned that it is the only way to hit Google's rival browser right now.
Ironically, although Brave was founded by former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, Mozilla cannot use Brave's integration with Tor as Brave runs on Chromium - the same platform on which Google Chrome was developed.
The fact that Mozilla wants to finally integrate Tor into Firefox is no surprise. Since 2016, Firefox engineers have transferred the privacy features first tested in Tor Browser back to Firefox through a project called Tor Uplift.
Transferring the actual Tor software and Onion protocol to Firefox is something that many users are looking for, but it is not an easy task, especially when all the architectures that Firefox is currently developing need to be modified. .