Paid-For-Tier 'Mozilla Monitor Plus' Scans And Removes Personal Information From Data Brokers

Mozilla Monitor Plus

The internet is harsh for Mozilla. But it's even harsher for users who don't know what they're data is used for.

The creator of Firefox web browser is already having a hard time, thanks to the increasing pressure from competitors, which literally have no mercy towards smaller rivals. But it knows a business opportunity when it sees one.

Mozilla has been offering Mozilla Monitor (previously Firefox Monitor), originally a free service that notifies users when their email has been a part of a data breach.

This time, Mozilla added an optional subscription, Monitor Plus, which scans for users' personal and sensitive information, like phone number, email, home address and others, and see whether it's being leaked or commercialized by data brokers.

According to Mozilla's announcement, Mozilla Plus does this by scanning data brokers' websites' to seek for sensitive information of its users.

When the tool finds users' sensitive information, it then provides users with the necessary steps to help make that information private again.

In short, the tool is meant to help users locate and remove their personal and sensitive information from the web.

For most people, they have no idea that personal data is a commodity, and that their data is already being commercialized by businesses.

Mozilla, which has branched out from just creating a web browser to also encompass preserving privacy, knows that getting information removed from data broker websites can be convoluted and confusing.

To prevent lawsuits, most websites have a dedicated opt-out page or option, where people can request for their information’s removal. If not, some of the sites allow people to contact them directly to request this.

But people often don’t know who has their information, or have the slightest idea about the process of getting data removed once they find it online.

Mozilla Monitor aims to make this process easier by proactively searching across 190 data broker sites that are known to sell people’s personal and private information.

It does this once every month.

If it discovers data users have provided to Mozilla, it will automatically initiate the request for removal on the users' behalf.

The process can take a day or up to a month, Mozilla noted.

To benefit from this feature, users must first provide Mozilla with their first and last name, current city and state, date of birth and email.

And to have things automated, they have to pay.

Free users however, can still benefit from Monitor Plus, but instead of having things done automatically for them, they only have the option of a one-time scan of data broker sites, and have to to go through the steps to remove their information manually.

Because Monitor Plus is part of Monitor, both free and paid users get alerts about data breaches, and as before, offered tools to fix those breaches that are high-risk.

"When we launched Monitor, our goal was to help people discover where their personal info may have been exposed. Now, with Monitor Plus, we’ll help people take back their exposed data from data broker sites that are trying to sell it," explained Tony Amaral-Cinotto, Product Manager of Mozilla Monitor at Mozilla, in a launch announcement.

"Our long-standing commitment to put people’s needs first and our easy step-by-step process makes Monitor Plus unique. Additionally, we combine breach alerts and data broker removal to offer an all-in-one protection tool and make it easier for people to feel and be safe online."

Initially, the feature is introduced to users in the U.S. only, the company said.

Besides Monitor Plus, Mozilla has other tools that can help users in their quest for privacy. They include Mozilla Private Relay and Mozilla VPN.

Monitor Plus adds to Mozilla's recent slate of privacy-focused offerings, including a VPN service (which we reviewed in 2020) and Relay, a phone and email masking service. You can bundle VPN and Relay for a notably discounted price