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Some Firefox users may have been surprised by an unwelcome add-on over the weekend -- an alternate reality game named Looking Glass, a tie-in with the television series, Mr. Robot. The add-on was installed on browsers that allow SHIELD studies, a functionality that lets random users try new features before they are released to all users. Looking Glass inverted certain text on the browser.
Mozilla's support page cites how the theme of the popular TV series revolves around online privacy and security. It then connects this to the company's manifesto by stating that "one of the 10 guiding principles of Mozilla's mission is that individuals' security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional."
Mozilla CMO Jascha Kaykas-Wolff said that the goal of their collaboration with Mr. Robot was "to engage our users in a fun and unique way." He assured that the add-on didn't collect any data from users and needed to be enabled to run, adding that it would be moved to the Add-On store.
Mozilla was involved in another privacy issue earlier this year when it used the plug-in Cliqz, which sent recommendations such as news and sports directly to the search bar to a small number of users in Germany. The recommendations were based on the users' activities and history.
Moreover, Mozilla acquired the bookmarking tool Pocket and integrated it into Firefox at the beginning of the year, requiring users to open about:config just to disable it.
Users who do not want their browsers to allow Firefox studies could disable the feature by opening about:preferences#privacy, and then unchecking the option.