In December, Mozilla came under flack for pushing a game through its in-browser study tool. Although the app, named 'Looking Glass', never collected any data from users’ browsers, people did not appreciate the company deploying it without permission. Now, Mozilla has created some guidelines for future SHIELD studies to avoid future gaffes.
To summarise, future SHIELD studies must be designed to answer a specific question to evaluate ideas and features; studies should respect user privacy in accordance with the data collection policies; studies should adhere to the scientific method for answering complex questions; all studies now have to come with a Product Hypothesis Document, outlining the overarching research question the study is trying to answer; and finally, all studies must be named accurately and reflect the general theme of the study to help assure users that the study is legitimate.
In a statement, Nick Nguyen from Mozilla, said:
“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 we’re making sure we’re going to specifically evaluate future studies based on this criteria to ensure that we don’t repeat our mistakes.”
Going forward, users should only receive legitimate studies from Mozilla.
Have you switched browser because of this or will you stick it out with Mozilla? Let us know how the gaffe affected you in the comments!