Homeland Security Wants Mozilla to Pull “Domain Seizure” Add-On

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Torrent Freak
May 10, 2012

Homeland Security’s ICE unit is not happy with a Firefox add-on that allows the public to circumvent the domains seizures carried out during the past several months.

In an attempt to correct this ‘vulnerability’ in their anti-piracy strategy, ICE have asked Mozilla to pull the add-on from their site. Unfortunately for them Mozilla denied the request, arguing that this type of censorship may threaten the open Internet.

Last month we were the first to draw attention to a nifty Firefox add-on called “MAFIAA Fire.”

The add-on maintains a list of all the domains that ICE (hence the antidote, ‘fire’) has seized and redirects their users to an alternative domain if the sites in question have set one up.

The developers told TorrentFreak that they coded it to demonstrate the futility of the domain seizures, which they find objectionable.

Homeland Security’s ICE unit got wind of the add-on and almost immediately took action to have it taken offline. Although the add-on can be hosted anywhere, they asked Mozilla to remove it from their repository just a few days after it first appeared there.

“Recently the US Department of Homeland Security contacted Mozilla and requested that we remove the Mafiaa Fire add-on,” explained Mozilla General Counsel and Vice President of Business Affairs Harvey Anderson.

“The ICE Homeland Security Investigations unit alleged that the add-on circumvented a seizure order DHS had obtained against a number of domain names.”

However, where ICE might have expected a swift take down from Mozilla, the legal and business affairs department of the tech company was not planning to honor the request so easily.

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