Mozilla has been pushing its latest Firefox (Quantum) web browser and waving the flag of privacy on high. But its latest partnership with USA Network’s Mr. Robot is earning the company a lashing from some users. It appears that Mozilla remote installed an extension called “Looking Glass” on some users browsers without their knowledge. Soon after some users noticed the extension with the description “My reality is different than yours” and some people freaked. The extension is intended to work with an online Mr. Robot game which Mozilla apparently though everyone loved.
“Suffice to say, we’ve learned a good deal in the last 24 hours … Although we always have the best intentions, not everything that we try works as we want,” said Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, Mozilla’s chief marketing officer. “Within hours of receiving feedback,” Mozilla moved Looking Glass to its Firefox add-on store, where people will be able to get it if they want it as it becomes available this weekend.
It’s no secret that browser like Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Firefox all gather data from its users. Most of the time we are opting in too at least a small amount of data analysis to make the product better. Firefox even has an extension that allows its parent company to probe deeper into the usage of your browser. But some will be disabling that after this incident.
“In the past I was fine with Mozilla’s approach to telemetry and studies, making my browser available for occasional testing/experimenting/data collection to track down bugs or measure improvements or whatever is fine,” a Redditor said. “This is not doing any of those things. This is an advertisement. This is an abuse of the telemetry and shield studies program. If I cannot trust Mozilla to use these tools responsibly I will have to disable them and recommend my friends and co-workers do the same.”
It’s clear that the marketing team and privacy team at Mozilla did not communicate with each other on this project. If they did, then it’s clear those making the decisions need to rethink their concept of privacy. It’s probably never a good idea to remote install anything on your user’s computers without asking permission.
Last Updated on December 17, 2017.