There’s an interesting post at torrentfreak.com explaining how Mozilla refused to take down a Firefox add on after Homeland Security’s ICE unit asked them to.
The add on in question called “MAFIAA Fire” maintains a list of all the domains that the ICE unit has taken off line. It also redirects the user to an alternative site if the sites in question have set one up.
ICE regarded the add on as circumventing their rules and exposing a vulnerability in their anti-piracy strategy … and wanted Mozilla to remove it from their list of available add ons.
Mozilla on the other hand was making a statement with the add on about Internet censorship and demonstrating very effectively the silliness of domain seizures.
When Mozilla was requested by Homeland Security to get rid of it because it circumvented a seizure order DHS had obtained against a number of domain names … it refused to bend over and present itself to the DHS boot.
Instead, it’s legal counsel Harvey Anderson replied that Mozilla’s policy was to comply with valid court orders, warrants, and other legal documents, but in this case there were none. Mozilla he said had no intention of complying with their request because to do so would threaten open Internet policies. Way to go Harvey!
He also submitted a list of 11 questions to the DHS to answer. So far … they haven’t answered the questions, or bothered Mozilla since. I have posted a link below that you can visit to see the list of very interesting questions he posed to the ICE unit.
The developers of the Mozilla add on said they applauded the stance taken by Mozilla over the add on and for them to have examined the content of ICE’s request rather then just the envelope in which it was sent. They have backed up their support of open source with action. Mozilla also is a non profit based organization supported by an army of faithful followers which means the feds have less leverage with it then say an Apple or a Google where they can easily threaten their bottom line.
The MAFIAA Fire (love that name) add on is also now available on the Chrome browser. We’ll see if it stays there very long.