Mozilla has announced plans to shut down its login system Persona as of November 2016. The Firefox developer is citing a low usage and a stagnant userbase as the reasoning behind its decision to no longer offer support for the product.
The first release of Persona came in June 2011, following earlier attempts at a similar style of authentication system like OpenID and Facebook Connect. The project was envisaged as a way of using the BrowserID protocol to offer users a simplified login procedure that would eliminate the need for site-specific passwords.
This type of protocol protects the user by keeping their password away from the site looking for authentication — this way, should the worst happen and that site is breached, there’s no way for the hacker to access that all-important password data. Despite having a clear selling point, the project never took off in quite the way that Mozilla had hoped.
In 2014, the organization announced that development of Persona would be transitioned from its full-time developers to a community largely comprised of volunteers, according to a report from PCWorld. In December, the company suggested that it might implement a similar strategy with regards to its Thunderbird email client.
It’s clear that Mozilla is taking stock of its priorities and winding down its involvement in any projects that don’t have much potential for future growth. In the case of Persona, the amount of resources required to ensure that the service is completely secure is too great given the number of users being catered to.
Mozilla will end its support for Persona on November 30, 2016 — which should hopefully give any sites using the product time to find an alternative. All user data stored on the service’s servers will be destroyed at that time to protect against the possibility of a privacy breach.