Firefox Add-on ‘Looking Glass’ – A Promotional Campaign for Mr. Robot TV Series

Firefox Add-on ‘Looking Glass’ – A Promotional Campaign for Mr. Robot TV Series

An add-on ‘Looking Glass’ started popping up on Firefox for a number of users this past week; even if they didn’t give the browser permission to install it.

The nature and creepy description of add on said ‘MY REALITY IS JUST DIFFERENT FROM YOURS’.People took to social networks to ask other users and their concerns. It turns out add on isn’t spamware or malware or any of the sort; it is a promotional campaign for ‘Mr. ’, a TV series about the life of a cybersecurity-engineer-slash-hacker.

A screenshot of Looking Glass version 1.0.3 shows that the extension’s profile barely had anything in it. Version 1.0.4 was more forthcoming and admitted that it is a collaboration between Mr. Robot and Mozilla.

Based on the details unearthed by affected users, the add-on was developed by Mozilla’s Shield Studies program, a platform available on all Firefox channels that gives you a way to test features before they’re released. Some Shield studies ask for your permission to opt in, others automatically make their way to your browser and require you to actively opt out. Problem is, some weren’t even aware that they’re part of the Shield program, so they had no idea where the extension could’ve come from.

Mozilla is now facing backlash for installing the add-on without people’s consent, especially since it always stresses how important users’ privacy is to the organization. In fact, in the page explaining what Looking Glass is, Mozilla wrote:
“The Mr. Robot series centers around the theme of online privacy and security. One of the 10 guiding principles of Mozilla’s mission is that individuals’ security and privacy on the are fundamental and must not be treated as optional. The more people know about what information they are sharing online, the more they can protect their privacy.”

Despite the troubling way the extension was installed, Mozilla said it doesn’t do anything to your system until you opt into the Alternate Reality Game, the immersive experience the organization designed to take fans into the Mr. Robot universe. Those who couldn’t care less about the show can kill the extension by typing about:addons in their address bar and removing Looking Glass.

Just recently, a Mozilla rep told the following:
“Our goal with the custom experience we created with Mr. Robot was to engage our users in a fun and unique way. Real engagement also means listening to . And so while the web extension/add-on that was sent out to Firefox users never collected any , 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. As a result we will be moving the Looking Glass Add-on to our Add-On store within the next 24 hours so Mr. Robot fans can continue to solve the puzzle and the source can be viewed in a public repository.”


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