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Mozilla pushes browser-based alternative to passwords

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Mozilla is promoting a browser-based alternative to usernames and passwords for website logins.

Browser ID offers a decentralized system for user identification and authentication along the same lines as OpenID. To use BrowserID users first have to create an account with Mozilla. After this users would be able to use the technology to enter websites that support BrowserID simply by entering their email address.

Developers can add support to the technology by adding links to a JavaScript library and hooks into a JavaScript API and verification service, as explained in a blog post by Mozilla here.

The technology competes with OpenID, which is already used by prominent sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Mozilla is pushing BrowserID as a more secure and privacy-sensitive method than its competitors.

BrowserID was first released by Mozilla back in July 2011 as a prototype. Mozilla only finished deploying the technology across its own sites earlier this month.

In a blog post, Mozilla's identity-tech chief Ben Adida signalled plans to push for a wider public release this year and opened a consultation programme. Mozilla is keen to nip any potential concerns about user tracking and online privacy in the bud.

Adida's blog post on "new user-centric services" also trails plans for Mozilla to introduce a mobile web-based operating system (codenamed B2G) and an app store later this year. ®

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