Published: Mon, December 18, 2017
Research | By Raquel Erickson

Mozilla gets on the wrong side of users with mysterious browser plug

Mozilla gets on the wrong side of users with mysterious browser plug

Some users wrote on Reddit that browsers should care about the privacy of their users and not install potential spyware without their knowledge.

To make matters worse the original description of the extension read "MY REALITY IS JUST DIFFERENT THAN YOURS", which isn't the most comforting summary in this age of increased privacy paranoia.

Anybody know what this was or where it came from? "Most users are not programmers; most people don't watch Mr. Robot; and most people are not going to waste a bunch of time tracking down stupid crap like this", another Reddit poster said.

"Our goal with the custom experience we created with Mr. Robot was to engage our users in a fun and unique way".

The add-on, called Looking Glass, was meant to promote the season 3 finale of Mr. Robot that aired on Wednesday, December 13, but the whole media stunt failed miserably.

To check to see if you got the extension, type "about:addons" into Firefox's address bar; then click "extensions" on the left side of the page. "The experience does notcollect or share any data", Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, chief marketing officer of Mozilla, said in a statement to Gizmodo.

However, many Firefox users don't agree that Mozilla had any right to deliver an add-on without their explicit permission.

While some Shield Studies testing items prompt users for approval before installing, others are added automatically and require a manual opt-out. It may have an outsized following inside of developer circles, but we're talking about a show that had just under 700,000 viewers for its last season opener.

A little bit of detective work from the Firefox community turned up the truth about "Looking Glass", confirmed by Mozilla.

Users who don't agree with Mozilla's abusing the Studies feature to deliver ads should disable it in their Firefox browser's settings panel. While other companies have graced this space for breaking user trust, collecting data, and introducing keyloggers, Mozilla has largely remained safe from all these altercations. "This is not doing any of those things".

However, according to Firefox, the "Looking Glass" plugin was actually a collaborative effort with the team behind the Mr Robot TV series, designed as a "shared experience to further your immersion into the Mr Robot universe". They also think about switching browsers. "If I can not trust Mozilla to use these tools responsibly I will have to disable them and recommend my friends and co-workers do the same". Much of Firefox's popularity is due to the perception that Mozilla is more focused on user choice and privacy than Google and its leading Google Chrome browser.

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