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Mozilla refuses US request to fillet Firefox

Mozilla's legal eagle Harvey Anderson has refused to pander to a request from a US Government agency after it asked the Firefox outfit to take down a URL redirection plug-in.

MafiaaFire, which automatically redirects Firefox users to a new Internet address if a web site's original domain name is seized by the authorities for whatever reason, probably came to the attention of the Department of Homelands Security through lobbying by US anti-copyright-theft organisations the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (MIAA). The Big Media organisations are often collectively referred to as the MAFIAA because of their heavy-handed tactics and ability to keep powerful politicians in their pockets, hence the add-ons name.

MafiaaFire maintains a database of seized demains and simply redirects Firefox users to the replacement which in some case may be a hard-to-remember numerical DNS entry along the lines of 123.456.7.8. All it does is save Firefox users the trouble of manually resetting the hosts file to point to the new domains, but the DHS obviously thought that was enough to warrant an intervention.

"The ICE Homeland Security Investigations unit alleged that the add-on circumvented a seizure order DHS had obtained against a number of domain names," Anderson wrote. "Our approach is to comply with valid court orders, warrants, and legal mandates, but in this case there was no such court order," he added.

Anderson has prodded the DHS further by asking it if any court had found MafiaaFire unlawful or whether it had a valid seizure order, but has so far received no reply.

The add-on's creator remarked: "Hat's off to Mozilla for sticking up to them, at first we were afraid if Mozilla would even host it due to it's controversial nature but they truly backed up their open source supporting words with actions."