Mozilla Protects Piracy-Enabling Add-On

Browser defends MafiaaFire

Mozilla is fighting the man. The browser giant told U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that it would not remove MafiaaFire from its add-on offerings.

MafiaaFire assists users in circumventing ICE’s efforts to displace websites accused of piracy. Mozilla’s general counsel, Harvey Anderson, kicked up dust by posting about the company’s approach to such government requests, invoking the 'C' word – censorship.

The ICE has been actively working with media and entertainment companies to seize domain names of websites accused of engaging in online piracy. The practice allows government officials to avoid formal litigation procedures and instead compels websites to relocate to another URL. MafiaaFire is not a piracy add-on, however, it simply helps its users by forwarding them to where sites have gone after being evicted.

ICE’s actions have raised eyebrows in a world where Internet freedoms are ardently protected. Anderson said Mozilla has a policy of compliance in responding to legal mandates, however the ICE’s seizure seems to be lacking sound legal backing. Instead of ignoring the request, Anderson asked authorities a series of questions in order to weigh the request's legality. The ICE never responded to the inquiry.

“One of the fundamental issues here is under what conditions do intermediaries accede to government requests that have a censorship effect and which may threaten the open Internet,” Anderson said.