AfterDawn: Tech news

Mozilla exec goes off on Apple, Google, Microsoft over 'evil' Firefox plugins

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 29 Nov 2010 19:50 User comments (9)

Mozilla exec goes off on Apple, Google, Microsoft over 'evil' Firefox plugins Mozilla's senior exec Asa Dotzler has gone off on Google, Apple and Microsoft this week, ranting on the "evils" of their plugins which install in Firefox without asking the user permission.
Says Dotzler:


"Why do Microsoft, Google, Apple, and others think that it is an OK practice to add plug-ins to Firefox when I'm installing their software packages?"

"When I installed iTunes, in order to manage my music collection and sync to my iPod, why did Apple think it was OK to add the iTunes Application Detector plug-in to my Firefox web browser without asking me?"

"Why did Microsoft think it was OK to sneak its Windows Live Photo Gallery or Office Live Plug-in for Firefox into my browser (presumably) when I installed Microsoft Office?"

"What makes Google think it's reasonable behaviour for it to slip a Google Update plugin into Firefox when I installed Google Earth or Google Chrome (not sure which one caused this) without asking me first?"


The exec likens the plugins to Trojan horses, malicious codes that are installed on victim computers without consent.

Dotzler calls the way they are installed as "sneaky, underhanded, and wrong."

He concludes: "Microsoft, stop being evil. Apple, stop being evil. Google, stop being evil. It's really simple. Ask first!"

Previous Next  

9 user comments

129.11.2010 20:48

I agree, for major companies like Microsoft or Apple to slipping their addons into the browser without any notice is very upsetting to me as well. Especially when my browser crashes because of an unknown plugin that was installed by them.

229.11.2010 21:26

OMG i love this article, i would not be surprised about this with every major company breaching privacy at least once but if they are going to sneak their marketing software on consumers they should at least give us a removal option.

But then again these are the companys that run most of the show being the major OS providers so in a way, we are just going to get fingered by the man again.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 29 Nov 2010 @ 21:27

329.11.2010 22:38

Great one...but why is it so easy for them to do? Shouldn't Mozilla implement some kind of protection scheme? While they are at it, they could add their own hidden plugins that totally disable Chrome, iTunes, and Internet Explorer!



430.11.2010 10:22

It's just the bloatware that comes with any installation. They're kinda like BonzaiBuddy, but easier to remove.

530.11.2010 12:00

I think that some people forget that some or most programs have a "Custom Install option that would allow the installer/user the option to not install the bloatware/add ons. But instead of choosing the "Custom Install" option most choose "Standard/Recommended Install"

Now I'm aware that not all programs offer the "Custom Install" option but most do.

Now, on the other hand I am also against any programs that do not offer you the option to opt out of a piece of bloatware and decides to just install itself anyway.

It's like alot of programs have that "Ask.com" toolbar that auto installs.

So, in closing...for anyone who installs software on their or a PC, be sure to choose "Custom Installation" and not "Standard/Recommeded" install when possible.

630.11.2010 12:09
JGringo
Inactive

Totally agree!!!!!

73.12.2010 13:19

Seems to me the easiest solution for this would actually lie in Mozilla's hands. Just implement into the browser software a warning to the user if a toolbar is being attempted to install. That way, the user can select to install it if they actually implemented the install themselves or deny it if one suddenly comes up. A way to check on startup of the browser, too, in case it's not open at the time of software installation. Just a little note saying X toolbar wants to be installed.

83.12.2010 22:12

i have to step in here and say i am not aware of any google app or plugin installing without asking first.

i have used computers since 87 and have a degree in the field of computers. i have build and installed hundreds of systems and who knows how many system repairs.

i always install a few open source programs and google applications such as chrome to help the end user run a more stable system.

yes i do like google. they have yet to fail me. google isn't a perfect company and i know that. but i don't see why google is included here.

let me add, microsoft really pi**es me off. their installers have the fine print asking if you want this or that installed. they slide it under crap like ie8. it asks if you want to automatically check for updates on install but just below it forces the install of their malware removal tool. really really irritating and stupid.

93.12.2010 22:21

I have come across a numbers of applications/utilities that do ask you but go on ahead and install the plugin even if you opt out !

BTW as an aside I find CCleaner from Piriform perfect for removing even the most stubborn application including unwanted componets from Windows itself.

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive