Tech & Science Firefox is testing a VPN, and you can try it right now
Facebook's Considering Ditching The Like Count
Soon it may get harder to size yourself up while scrolling through your feed. At least, on Facebook that is. There are still plenty of other social media platforms out there to make you feel inadequate. Facebook may soon drop the Like counter off News Feed posts, Techcrunch reported Monday, a feature it began testing in April on another of the company’s apps, Instagram. While Facebook hasn’t released any of its findings from these tests so far, things appear to have been a hit at least, as reports say it soon expanded trials from just Canada to six other countries.
Last week, Mozilla said its Firefox browser would block third-party trackers for everyone by default and yesterday, Mozilla announced a new product that could give Firefox users even more privacy on the web: the Firefox Private Network, which claims to be “a secure, encrypted path to the web” — essentially, a Firefox-made VPN (though Mozilla never calls it one).
The Firefox Private Network seems like it could be useful, but it does have its limits. It’s a browser-based VPN, so it won’t mask anything you’re doing on the internet outside of Firefox — you’d need to install a dedicated VPN app if you want to protect more of your internet traffic. Mozilla recommends using Firefox Private Network if you want to have an encrypted connection while using Firefox on a public Wi-Fi network or if you just want to better hide from ad trackers.
Jacqui Lambie calls for federal MPs to undergo drug testing
Senator Jacqui Lambie is only willing to back drug tests for welfare recipients if federal MPs are given the same treatment. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he planned to introduce the controversial legislation into parliament next week. Under the plan, 5,000 Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients would be tested for illicit substances, including heroin and cocaine. If passed, trials will be carried out in areas of New South Wales, Queensland and Perth.
If you want to try the Firefox Private Network, which is free, but in beta, you’ll have to be US-based, using Firefox on your desktop or laptop, and logged into your Firefox account. If you are, install the Firefox Private Network from this page, click the icon that shows up in your toolbar, and a small menu will drop down where you can switch the VPN on or off.
In a brief test, I did notice my download speed was 17 Mbps slower with the switch flipped on, but honestly couldn’t tell the difference while browsing. The Firefox Private Network did change my IP, which should hinder third-party trackers; but since it only moved my location out to a nearby suburb, sites might have still been able to serve me local ads. Also know that if you want to appear to browse from somewhere you aren’t — or just want to watch episodes of Terrace House before they air in the US — you’ll need to use another VPN service.
Why experts say drug testing welfare recipients 'doesn't work'
Australian journalist Antony Loewenstein says the war on drugs has been a monumental failure and there must be a better way.
Mozilla says Firefox Private Network will be “free for a limited time,” suggesting it may become a paid service in the future — which isn’t exactly a surprise. Last October, Firefox showed an ad for a subscription to ProtonVPN to a small group of Firefox users, suggesting Mozilla may have been gauging interest in offering its own VPN. And Mozilla’s CEO recently said Firefox intends to offer a paid subscription service for “premium” features in October and that bandwidth for a VPN service could be one of them.
The Firefox Private Network is the first project from Firefox’s revitalized Test Pilot program. The program used to be focused on letting users try more experimental features like vertical tabs, but Mozilla says the Test Pilot program will now be focused on “new, privacy-centric products” that are “just one step shy of general public release.” Mozilla hasn’t given an indication of what might come next.
Dozens of festivalgoers ingested potentially fatal levels of MDMA, inquest told .
The inquest is examining the deaths of six people who attended music festivals in NSW between December 2017 and January 2019. Each had taken MDMA.On Thursday, NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant told the inquest there has been a recent, substantial increase in drug-related harms associated with "a small number" of music festivals.© Daniel Munoz Dr Kerry Chant pictured in 2017. She said the recent deaths are "an unexpectedly marked increase within a short period", and the reasons behind such an increase are "complex" including the dose of MDMA consumed and environmental factors such as temperature.
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