Between a minefield of ads and trackers, browsers have added a number of security and privacy features over the past few years. Brave is the latest to announce today that it has partnered with the Guardian to launch a new version of its iOS browser, Brave Firewall + VPN.
The name almost summarizes it. Bold software and Guardian are essentially Wonder Twinning for the original mobile browser for iPhone and iPad with its own built-in VPN. Companies say you need to get a safer and more private browsing experience, which is also three to six times faster because it “combines privacy with a blockchain-based digital advertising platform.” Brave said in a press release that the VPN and firewall would work not only for the Brave app, but for any other app on the user’s phone or iPad.
The way it works is the Brave Firewall + VPN application, which sends mobile traffic to the user via an encrypted VPN to the Guardian servers. Applications that secretly track data will be identified there and this activity will be blocked. You will continue to use these applications, as well as visit the sites you want. The companies also claim that this method will not require or retain any user information. Instead, they say the app will use a “pseudonymous digital receipt” through the App Store to give users VPN access while using “randomized, rotating EAP IDs to connect to VPN servers.” Sure! The end result is supposed to be to allow users to connect to VPN servers without either Brave or Guardian learning anything about your identity.
I have to try the early access version of Brave Firewall + VPN on my iPhone and I can confirm that it is Very Zippy compared to Safari and Chrome. I never thought any of these browsers were special slow on my phone, but the difference in speed was noticeable. I visited a few of my favorite sites and then was quickly horrified when he told me that in about 3 minutes of browsing he blocked 107 ads and tracks and gave me 2 HTTPS upgrades. That’s supposed to save me five seconds of my life.
I will say that I appreciated the ability to go to a site that I like, that decided to go all-in into a silly mobile experience and actually read the damn site. It was also “fun” to look at which sites I visited that were the most egrdecent when it comes to ads and trackers. At least it was educational.
In an ideal world, Brave Firewall + VPN will be free and everyone will enjoy the opportunity to surf quickly, securely and in person. Alas, we do not live in an ideal world. Unfortunately, this is a premium feature and you have to subscribe for $ 10 a month or $ 100 a year. (Although you get a 7-day free trial.) The hot side of the subscription will allow you to use the firewall on up to five devices. Another problem is that Brave Firewall + VPN is, at least for now, only iOS. However, Brave said the availability of other platforms will come “later this year.”