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Windows 7: Mozilla Firefox Retrospective: Looking Glass

31 Jan 2018   #1

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
Mozilla Firefox Retrospective: Looking Glass

In December, we launched a tv show tie-in with Mr. Robot, Looking Glass, that alarmed some people because we didnít think hard enough about the implications of shipping an add on that had the potential to be both confusing and upsetting. Weíre deeply sorry for this and we understand why itís important for us to learn and grow from this experience. As mentioned last month, we conducted a post-mortem to better understand how and why this happened and how we can do better.

The amount of valid and well-reasoned feedback we received from community members and users shows that we need to take action to make sure this isnít going to happen again.

The experiments platform we used to deploy Looking Glass, also known as SHIELD, is used to test many things, from simple configuration changes to potential new features, and we measure the effects of those changes in a privacy preserving way. This platform helps us make decisions on new product features, evaluate whether or not a technology update is stable, and generally helps us make sure that we can make good decisions in a responsible way. The team has invested time and energy to ensure that we are always clear and consistent about the kind of information we will capture in our studies.

Since the Looking Glass experience did not capture any data, it passed our internal privacy review. After our post-mortem, it was clear that this was part of the problem. A valid experiment always captures data to answer questions about small changes we make to Firefox as part of our testing. An Ďexperimentí that does not capture any data is not an experiment at all. A key learning here is that we need to better codify the use of SHIELD to make sure we are always using the platform as intended, to conduct experiments to measure potential changes to Firefox.

To clarify our intentions we have created a set of principles that we will always follow when shipping a SHIELD study to our users, and two principles are most relevant to this situation.

A SHIELD study must be designed to answer a specific question.

We evaluated Looking Glass based on whether or not it upheld user privacy. Since it did not collect any data, we felt that it was safe. In retrospect, not capturing data was a strong indicator that this was not a good SHIELD study candidate, so weíre making sure weíre going to specifically evaluate future studies based on this criteria to ensure that we donít repeat our mistake.

A SHIELD study must always be named accurately.

We were deliberately misleading in the naming of this add-on. The intentions were to preserve the surprise and delight of users participating in the Mr Robot Alternate Reality Game, but it also violated our own advice for users, particularly where it pertains to recognizing malware.

The remainder of the principles are published on our wiki , and moving forward, it will be the responsibility for anyone publishing a SHIELD study to review the release against our set of published principles.

If a study doesnít meet the standards outlined by our principles, it wonít get shipped, and to ensure that weíre always adhering to these principles, weíre developing processes with the team to ensure review from a broad set of people.

-By Nick Nguyen.

Source: Retrospective: Looking Glass | The Firefox Frontier

My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Jan 2018   #2

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18.3 MATE, W10 Home, #All 64 bit

"We're so sorry. We promise we won't do this again, until the next time."
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Jan 2018   #3

Windows 7 Pro 64

What is this pertaining to?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

01 Feb 2018   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Home Premium 64bit Ver 6.1.7600 Build 7601 - SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JoWazzoo View Post
What is this pertaining to?
Security and privacy. Read up on the source link at the bottom of Brink's post and then the links within the quote and if your curious one link can lead to another.

Here's one I found on the reviews page for looking glass:
This add-on - essentially an advertisement for a TV show - installed itself without permission on my work computer. I'm incredibly boggled that Mozilla made the decision to insert ads into users' browsers. This is an opt-OUT experience, NOT opt-in. I was never asked if I wanted this advertisement to be added to my browser.

Until today I thought that Mozilla's ethics would forbid this kind of action; indeed, it's the kind of thing I thought Mozilla would actively campaign against. I guess I'm disillusioned now.

I'm also concerned that Firefox is, on a technical level, able to install add-ons without explicit user/administrator approval. This seems like a MAJOR security vulnerability to me. Imagine if someone gets a hold of the private key and force-installs a keylogger, packet sniffer, SSL spoofer etc. on every single instance of Firefox. Even if Mozilla catches this intrusion just half an hour later, the damage done would be INCREDIBLE and would effectively put Mozilla out of business, and with good reason. It's 2017, Mozilla. You should know better than to gamble with your users for a cheap advertising contract.

My employer, a state agency with a few thousand employees, made the decision a year ago to add Firefox to its list of approved browsers, alongside Chrome and IE/Edge. I'm concerned that that decision will be reversed after this intrusive action, which definitely violates our software guidelines.
I don't know how I was left out because I saw it during one of my FF (Firefox) updates and all I did was close the tab after the update. A lot of people are complaining that looking glass was installed surreptitiously with no way to opt-out.

If you use FF you can also check the studies mozilla pulls from you if you don't have your settings under data collection and use unchecked, you'll find that in >Tools >Options >Privacy and Security. Open a new tab and paste and go with
Even with those settings unchecked who's to say mozilla isn't pulling info from your usage, and not telling you? And don't think for a moment that your safer with a different browser, if one is doing it, they're all doing it.

With all the shenanigans going on I don't need to guess if I'm disillusioned I know it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Feb 2018   #5

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18.3 MATE, W10 Home, #All 64 bit

Until proper penalties are enacted & enforced on corporate executives (not the companies) this sort of stuff will keep happening.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Mozilla Firefox Retrospective: Looking Glass

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