Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser, announced a new subscription service that upgrades its ‘Monitor’ data breach notification service to help automatically remove personal data from broker sites.
Along with existing data breach notifications, the new Mozilla Monitor Plus subscription will allow Monitor to regularly scan for exposed personal information online and start data removal requests. Automating the data removal request process should help make it easier for people to combat data exposures.
Previously branded as ‘Firefox Monitor,’ Mozilla Monitor still offers data breach notifications for free. These work like similar services, such as ‘Have I Been Pwned‘ — you punch in your email, and Mozilla Monitor checks it against known data breaches to see if your information might have been exposed.
Now, Mozilla Monitor is offering a free one-time scan that will show users where their personal information, including things like name, current/previous home addresses, and phone numbers, have been exposed online and are up for sale. Mozilla says it could go as deep as discovering exposed information about family members’ names, criminal history, kids’ school districts and more.
Mozilla says it needs to ask for some personal information to provide an accurate scan and it encrypts the data. Personal information needed for scans includes first and last name, current city and state you live in, date of birth and email address — “this is the least amount of information we need to get the most accurate search results for you,” Mozilla claims. Mozilla Monitor then pulls up where your personal information is exposed, such as through data breaches or data broker sites. Monitor also highlights high-risk exposures, like credit card or bank information. Finally, Monitor will show how users can fix or resolve any data breaches or exposures it detects.
This is where Monitor Plus comes in. People who don’t want to manually fix or resolve data exposures can subscribe to Monitor Plus and let it do the work. Along with starting data removal requests, Monitor Plus also lets you know when information has been removed from brokers, and it keeps tabs on over 190 data broker sites to make sure personal data stays off those sites. And if Monitor Plus can’t get data removed, it’ll give members instructions on how to attempt removal themselves.
Overall, what Mozilla is doing with Monitor and Monitor Plus sounds pretty good on paper and, assuming it works as well as Mozilla says, could be a valuable service to some people. It’s worth noting that Mozilla confirmed to The Verge that it partners with a company called Onerep to perform scans and takedown requests.
Unfortunately, the free Monitor scan and Monitor Plus subscription will only be available in the U.S. to start. MobileSyrup reached out to Mozilla to find out if or when Monitor Plus will expand to Canada and other regions and received a statement from Mozilla’s staff product manager, Tony Amaral-Cinotto, which doesn’t really answer the question:
“It’s undeniable that consumer data powers today’s internet. The data broker industry is a global problem, but it is particularly felt in the US. We’re starting with a US launch to learn more about how we can help these consumers, what opportunities there are globally, and to ensure we’re offering the best automatic data removal service possible.”