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Mozilla to shut down Persona login system in November citing low usage

Mozilla to shut down Persona login system in November citing low usage

by AshwinJanuary 12, 2016

Mozilla has announced that it will be shutting down its login system called, Persona.

Mozilla Persona

Don’t confuse this with Mozilla Firefox Sync, that is a more useful feature and here to stay.

The Persona service was originally launched in 2011, and is a rather unusual system, because it uses one ID, to give you access to all your accounts.

Ever used a password manager? These apps usually let you save passwords of various accounts to one database (normally stored on the server/user’s PC), which you can then unlock and use with a master password, and not have to remember every single password. Persona is kind of the opposite, in that it lets you login to multiple email addresses, with one password. You will have to authenticate it for each service regularly, for it to work without issues.

It was based on the OpenBrowser ID system, and the API was used by many websites, as their login system. Though the feature does sound good, the fact is that it does not have enough users.

Mozilla says that users were interested in protecting their passwords with Persona, rather than having their login credentials stored on the servers of the web service they wanted to use, in case the information was stolen in a hacking attack.

Despite this, Persona never really took off, and as a result of this, Mozilla will be shutting it down. This isn’t exactly a new decision either. Apparently Mozilla planned this back in 2014, when it transferred the maintanence of the service, to its developer community, and they were responsible for keeping it up and running, for the last two years.

Mozilla engineer Ryan Kelly posted at the official blog stating that:

Beginning on November 30th, 2016, the Persona service hosted by Mozilla
will be decommissioned.

There will be no new features for Persona anymore, and only security updates will be provided until November. After which,  Mozilla will shutdown all services which used the domain, but it will retain the website. Additionally, all data stored on the servers of the website will be deleted to protect the privacy of the users.

This isn’t the first time Mozilla has abandoned one of its products, Thunderbird, its popular email client, has not received a single new feature for a few years. PCWorld reports that Thunderbird has simply been getting security updates. Mozilla recently hinted that the email client could be separated from Firefox’s development team, for the benefit of both apps.