New Privacy Violations: Popular Firefox Extension For Video Captures Identifiable Trail of Browser Destinations

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Mozilla.org, the website which distributes the Firefox browser, also hosts a wide variety of add-on applications from third party developers which users may download at their own risk. In at least one recently-discovered case, that of the video player add-on from Ant.com, the add-on has been found to capture a complete browsing history that is uniquely identifiable to the user.

According to a report in TheRegister.co.uk:

“The undisclosed behavior of the Ant Video Downloader and Player add-on takes place even when the Firefox private browsing mode is turned on or when users are availing themselves of anonymity services such as Tor. The add-on carries a rating of four out of five possible stars and gets an average of almost 7,000 downloads per day, according to official Mozilla statistics.”

Mozilla claims that its add-on applications have been reviewed by a technical team for compliance with stated requirements. Mozilla’s requirements for add-on applications do not specifically prohibit such tracking within applications, but do require that the application’s tracking behavior be disclosed.

As TheRegister.co.uk article concludes:

“The larger lesson here is that just because a Firefox add-on has been subjected to Mozilla’s official vetting process there is no guarantee it doesn’t do things that many users consider to be invasions of their privacy. With at least 5,000 add-ons hosted on its site, it wouldn’t be shocking to find out that Ant Video isn’t the only extension that comes with a few nasty surprises.”

Click here to read more: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/20/firefox_addon_privacy_invasion/