I like Mozilla Firefox very much. It is my go to browser as I have already documented in several posts. That’s why I got quite upset with Mozilla’s latest decision to include a third-party app, called Pocket, into Firefox version 38. And did so without asking for my, the user’s, consent.
What is Pocket?
Pocket is an online app that works very much like a bookmarking tool but in the cloud. So your bookmarks are available to you in your Pocket account from any device with internet access.
Pocket is quite popular among Mozilla Firefox users. The Pocket add-on has been downloaded more than 250,000 times.
Why Integrate Pocket into Firefox?
For whatever reason Mozilla made the decision to integrate this app into its browser.
There are several problems with this decision.
Foremost is the security concern. I praised Mozilla Firefox because of its modularity. I can install add-ons that make my browsing more secure. But is this specific add-on secure?
Sure, Firefox is open-source, so I can go and check the code. But how many users will do that? And how many users can do that — in other words, what percentage of Firefox users is code-literate enough to check and understand Firefox’s source code?
Then, there is the question of motivation. There are dozens of add-ons to Firefox that have more users than Pocket. Actually, Pocket is number 64 in the list of extensions sorted by number of users. Is there a deal going on about which Firefox users are not being informed?
Firefox users can install as many security add-ons as they desire, if Mozilla can sell them out by integrating third-parties that could collect personal information. I am not saying this is going on right now, but one has to wonder what will come next…
But what gets to me most is the fact that I, as the user, am not being asked before installing the Firefox 38 update whether I wish to have Pocket available. I am simply blessed with this PUP (potentially unwanted software) whether I like it or not, whether it is useful to me personally or not. This is the kind of arrogant behavior that gets many software packages uninstalled or deleted from my computer right away.
However, I like Firefox too much to let it go just now. But I will be much more vigilant about Mozilla’s next steps.
Pocket cannot be removed because it is integrated to Firefox within its code. But it can be disabled, so that the glaring red icons don’t follow you around all the time.
To disable Pocket, type and enter
about:config into Firefox’s address bar.
Then click on the
A list of Pocket-related configuration settings will appear.
Double-click on the three
The names of these settings are:
browser.uiCustomization.state. And delete the contents (called string value) of the setting. After you delete the string value and click
This last step is important because without it, the View Pocket List icon would still be available in Firefox’s bookmarks menu.
Not happy about this step Mozilla, not happy at all.
Update (June 16, 2015)
The author of the Pocket add-on removed it from Firefox’s database of add-ons. Because that’s what was so wrong with this whole thing…
Now the integration of Pocket into Firefox is all cool.
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