Starting late last year the ICE department within Homeland Security started seizing domains whether they were legal or not. This prompted a couple of developers came up with a clever add-on for Firefox, called MAFIAA Fire, that will redirect users to alternate sites, if set up, of those that have been seized by ICE.
Well, it appears that Homeland Security caught wind of the add-on and went to Mozilla to have the add-on taken offline.
“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.
“Our approach is to comply with valid court orders, warrants, and legal mandates, but in this case there was no such court order,” Anderson explains.
According to Anderson complying with the request without any additional information would threaten open Internet principles. So, instead of taking the add-on offline they replied to ICE with a set of 11 well-crafted questions.
Interestingly enough, Mozilla never heard from ICE again.
Right on Mozilla, this almost makes me want to actually start using my installed version of Firefox.
I said almost.