File-sharing has changed quite a bit since the days of the sneakernet, but it hasn’t evolved much, if at all, in the last few years. The basic concepts of emailing or uploading and sending a link to a file have remained pretty static, but now Mozilla has created a free tool that allows anyone to upload and share encrypted files that automatically disappear after 24 hours.
The system is cleverly named Send and it’s designed to provide a secure file-sharing service that doesn’t require proprietary software or browser extensions and complicated encryption operations on the client side. A user visits the site, drags and drops a file and gets a one-time-use link in return. The user can share the link with anyone, but it’s only valid for 24 hours or after the file is downloaded once. After that, Mozilla deletes the file and the link is useless.
“When you use Send, Mozilla receives an encrypted copy of the file you upload, and basic information about the file, such as filename and file size. Mozilla does not have the ability to access the content of your encrypted file, and only keeps it for the time or number of downloads indicated,” Mozilla said.
“Anyone you provide with the unique link (including the encryption key) to your encrypted file will be able to download and access that file.”
The Send service picks up on some of the more useful and attractive features of other secure communication apps such as Signal, including strong encryption and ephemerality. But it adds the ability to send files as large as 1 GB and enables people to use it in any modern browser, without any additional software. And because Mozilla doesn’t have an unencrypted copy of the files or the encryption keys, the company can’t see what users are sharing or be compelled to decrypt the files.
While Send is still a test project for Mozilla, the use case is clear. There are plenty of options for file hosting and sharing among groups of people, but Send is built for people who want to share a file, securely, with one other person and not have to worry about the mechanics of it.