Permission Inspector is a new extension for the Firefox web browser that provides details on permissions that the installed Firefox extension requested.
Firefox displays a permissions prompt when users install extensions from the Mozilla Add-ons Store or from elsewhere; the listed permissions are requested explicitly by extensions to extend the available functionality (all extensions share access to certain functions that are permitted by default).
While users may verify permissions during the installation dialog, requested permissions are not listed on Firefox’s about:addons page. The page is the management interface for extensions, themes and other components.
I’m not aware of an option to list extension permissions in Firefox. Firefox users can visit the extension’s page on Mozilla’s Firefox Add-ons Store as they are listed in the sidebar there.
Permission Inspector is a Firefox extension that changes that; it displays all extra permissions that installed extensions require to function. Even better: it lists some permissions that are not listed on Mozilla AMO or during installation of the extension.
Just click on the Permission Inspector button in the Firefox interface to open the local management page.
The page is divided into the Extensions and Permissions tab. Extensions list the description of the extension and its requested permissions. Firefox add-ons that are installed but disabled show only the description but no permission information.
System add-ons, extensions installed by Mozilla automatically, are not listed on the page.
The Permissions page lists each requested permission and the extensions that requested them. It offers a different view and gives you options to check specific permissions that you consider critical or problematic.
It lists the permission name, e.g. Notifications, and then the extensions that have that permission.
Closing Words and verdict
Permission Inspector is a useful extension; it is actually something that should be integrated in Firefox to provide users with the information that it provides.
It displays all permissions of all extensions installed in the browser. There is room for improvement though. I’d like to see links to about:addons, an extension’s management page in Firefox, and an extension’s page on Mozilla AMO.
A rating system of sorts might also be useful to look into; not all permissions are equally problematic for users, and Permission Inspector could use a rating system and provide filters or sort options to list the most problematic extensions at the top of the listing.
Permission Inspector is not the first extension of its kind. We reviewed Project Insight in 2018 which offers similar functionality.
Now You: How do you handle extension permissions?
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