What is Looking Glass. : firefox

James Marshall
December 18, 2017

Firefox users and supporters quickly voiced concern that the use of research tools for a promotional campaign undermined Firefox's reputation as a browser that protected users' privacy. According to Mozilla's documentation, the plug-in was designed as a "shared experience to further your immersion into the Mr Robot universe", developed as a collaboration between Mozilla and the Mr. Robot team at USA. When users checked the description of Looking Glass, it said "MY REALITY IS JUST DIFFERENT THAN YOURS".

Understandably, many feared that a form of malware had infected their machines.

"I have no idea what it is or where it came from. I freaked out a bit and uninstalled it immediately". While the extension was a harmless augmented reality game inspired by the popular television series Mr Robot, the lack of an explanation of its sudden appearance, got a number of Firefox users worked up. While this instance (and any like it that may occur in the future) doesn't violate any privacy statement or usage agreement on Mozilla's behalf, it could lead to an ugly road for a company that prides itself on internet security and privacy.

Mozilla has always been an organization synonymous with internet privacy and security. "The more people know about what information they are sharing online, the more they can protect their privacy", Mozilla also added, trying to explain its decision.

But the plan backfired.

After a short while and some backlash, the company assured that the extension didn't collect data and that it was all in the name of fun. Many saw this as the tool being misused for advertising purposes and have now disabled it.

In response to the outcry, Mozilla has wisely chose to stop placing the extension in people's browsers; instead, it is now available in Firefox's add-on store.

Secondly, this puts Mozilla at a branching path and may lead to a precedent of installing unwanted features without the users' knowledge in later iterations of Firefox. "We gave Mr. Robot fans a unique mystery to solve to deepen their connection and engagement with the show and is only available in Firefox", the statement reads.

"And so while the web extension/add-on that was sent out to Firefox users never collected any data", Mozilla continues, "and had to be explicitly enabled by users playing the game before it would affect any web content, we heard from some of our users that the experience we created caused confusion".

If you don't want some random Mr Robot-themed game installed in your browser, you can remove it by going to your Firefox menu, clicking Add Ons, going to the extensions tab, and removing Looking Glass.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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