2011-05-11

Mozilla: It Has a Spinal Cord

I know I'm a little late with this news, but that's because I was kind of busy earlier in the week. Anyway, the news (Nate Anderson, Ars Technica) is that the US government (specifically, the Department of Homeland Security) tried to force Mozilla to remove an add-on for Firefox called MAFIAAFire. The DHS a few months ago seized tens of thousands of website domains without a warrant and without due process; only a few (countable on two hands) of those were truly harmful in any way, while the vast majority of those sites were perfectly legal. MAFIAAFire, whose name jabs at the RIAA and MPAA (frequently referred to as the "MAFIAA" in technology circles), essentially redirects searches for the old domains to the new domains where the content is now hosted. The DHS claims that such redirection violates the orders regarding the original seizures.

Thankfully, Mozilla is not backing down. Not only is it not removing the extension, but it's also asking tough questions of the DHS and the Immigration & Customs Enforcement agency which also took part in the domain seizures; it's asking about the legality of the seizures and whether there's any real law forbidding something like MAFIAAFire.

If nothing else, this is why I proudly use Mozilla Firefox and why I plan to continue using it for the foreseeable future. Companies like Google and Facebook have obliged to ridiculous demands such as this; keep up the awesome work, Mozilla!

(UPDATE: For the last 24 hours, Blogger had stopped working. I saw that there were a few comments on this post, but I didn't have time to properly respond to each one. When I did have time and came back, Blogger had shut down temporarily. It seems like Blogger has removed all content (posts and comments) written on May 12. Don't worry, I was not the one who removed those comments. I apologize for that inconvenience, and I was a bit irritated by it too.)

3 comments:

  1. There should be a clear law on which basis some institution tries to force the action. If there is no law there should be no force.

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  2. And there should be no law if the authority attempting the action has no basis for their authority.

    If the initial seizures were illegal (the American government only has powers DERIVED from the RIGHTS of the American people - no RIGHT to do something (seize your neighbor's property (domain) without their consent, no ability to bestow that privileged power to your government or its agents), then the government needs to answer for its crimes... Not continue its criminal march through America by attacking anyone or anything that stands in the path of its criminal pursuits.

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  3. And this shows why companies/foundations like Mozilla need to relocate themselves offshore pronto. This country is a fascist nation and is quickly sliding into a fascist autocracy much like Nazi Germany. Companies/foundations like Mozilla need to relocate their operations to freer countries like Canada or anyplace in Europe (Switzerland is a good choice), where they can be free of non-legal orders and seizures. As their operations are entirely on the internet, they can safely give the finger to the DHS and USG while continuing to distribute their software to Americans.

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