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DHS Wants Mozilla To Disable Mafiaafire Plugin, Mozilla Resists 360

Davis Freeberg writes "The Department of Homeland Security is hard at work again, protecting the industry from websites that the big studios don't want you to see. This time they're targeting the Mafiaafire plugin by asking Mozilla to disable the addon at the root level. Instead of blindly complying with the government's request, Mozilla has decided to ask some tough questions instead. Unsurprisingly, when faced with legitimate concerns about the legality of their domain seizure program, the DHS has decided to clam up."
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DHS Wants Mozilla To Disable Mafiaafire Plugin, Mozilla Resists

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  • by The Dawn Of Time ( 2115350 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @06:34PM (#36042182)

    It's good to see that Mozilla is holding strong to their core values. DHS needs more people willing to question what they do. Blind compliance to government demands is anti-American and it saddens me to see so many people simply fall in line.

  • Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @06:37PM (#36042228)

    I'm glad to see that DHS has lots of free time on their hands, now that OBL is dead.

    But if they aren't going to spend time on homeland security, we should disband the monster.

    Probably should anyway...

  • by assemblerex ( 1275164 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @06:38PM (#36042236)
    Because DHS exists in a fantasy land where everything in the world serves the interests of the United States and her wealthy ruling class. Disagree and we'll send a few hookers to blow you, then claim rape and extradite you to Guantanamo.
  • Comment removed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by account_deleted ( 4530225 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @06:41PM (#36042268)
    Comment removed based on user account deletion
  • Consider Donating (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Relic of the Future ( 118669 ) <dales@digitalfre ... org minus distro> on Thursday May 05, 2011 @06:46PM (#36042308)
    Even though this doesn't look like it's going to trial, you might want to consider saying "thank you" by donating [mozilla.org].
  • I hate Government (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @06:46PM (#36042314)

    This story is one of the main reasons why. Instead of doing the job the government was created to do (protect individual rights from thieves, murderers, etc), the politicians/bureaucrats are the ones doing the infringing on those rights.

    "If it were possible to have no government, we would do so. It is only to protect our rights that we resort to any government at all." - Thomas Jefferson.

  • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @06:47PM (#36042318) Homepage Journal

    Yea, I'm not sure on what child pornography or even (the horror!) media/software pirates have to do with National Security either...

  • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @06:51PM (#36042342) Homepage Journal

    rant on: (I agree with you assemblerex, this is not voiced at you)

    Yea, because people with different morals than the population at large are such a risk to National Security that the Department of Homeland Security should be involved. ... what the FUCK people!?

    OK, I get that you think Child Porn is wrong. I personally agree, but even so, what the fuck does that have to do with National Security? The same can be asked about media piracy! You might as well just say it: you're all equating MP3 downloads to terrorism or treason. Once more. What the FUCK!?

  • Yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @06:53PM (#36042352)

    Remember, they're working for you, on your dime.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAAA! Funniest thing I've heard all day. Will anyone who thinks our government is working for us speak up?


    Thought so...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2011 @06:56PM (#36042388)

    this is one of the many reasons why you should use Mozilla's Firefox than Google's Chrome

  • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionary.yahoo@com> on Thursday May 05, 2011 @07:03PM (#36042436) Journal

    Many, if not most humans seem to be authoritarians, who are comforted by the idea of some all powerful authority overseeing things, be it God, the Government, Karma, or the Company. When it looks as though they are not actually authoritarians, it is usually just because they don't like that particular authority. Show them one they like and they will fall all over themselves kissing its ass.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2011 @07:06PM (#36042460)

    Do you really think that DHS cares about the law? They're jack booted thugs, they couldn't be more neo-Nazi if Hugo Boss were designing their uniforms. If they thought that you had something that they really wanted they'd disappear your ass and throw you in Guantanamo Bay with the rest of the "enemy combatants." The only reason you got away with refusing a search is that they probably didn't think you were worth the effort, and by the sounds of it, you aren't. Not because you "know your rights," which DHS has not, does not and never will give a flying fuck about what rights you think you have.

  • by joe_frisch ( 1366229 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @07:06PM (#36042462)

    Hey - I'm, a member of the US "wealthy ruling class" and DHS doesn't serve my interests! I think Mozilla acted completely appropriately.

    I think our freedom from unlawful seizure, and our freedom of speech is more important than tracking down people swapping stolen entertainment content,or distributing child porn. (assuming that DHS's actions even helped with either of those - something I'm not sure I believe).

  • by locallyunscene ( 1000523 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @07:07PM (#36042468)
    I'd never heard of it before, but now I'm trying it out.

    Streisand Effect is go.
  • by davide marney ( 231845 ) * <davide.marney@ne ... rg minus painter> on Thursday May 05, 2011 @07:13PM (#36042516) Journal

    12. Under which section(s) of the law is your request authorized, and what are the names and contact information of the DHS agents who are requesting that this action be taken?

  • by rjh ( 40933 ) <rjh@sixdemonbag.org> on Thursday May 05, 2011 @07:27PM (#36042626)

    First, calling them the "Homeland SA" is kind of like referring to "Bushitler." It's both historically ignorant and profoundly offensive to a lot of people. The Sturmabteilung [wikipedia.org] had a career of evil the likes of which I hope to never again see. If you sincerely believe the DHS merits comparison to the SA, then your only choice is to take up arms against your government.

    Second, unless the DHS agents said "screw you and the Fourth Amendment, we're going to search you anyway!", then it sounds as if they obeyed the law just fine. They're allowed to ask you for permission to search your vehicle, and you have the right to say no. Where's the illegality?

  • Re:Source (Score:5, Insightful)

    by StayFrosty ( 1521445 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @07:27PM (#36042632)

    fireICE [mozilla.org]is a rewrite that gets rid of the nag screen and addresses some of the privacy concerns the author had with the original MafiaaFire.

  • Re:Futile at best (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2011 @07:40PM (#36042768)

    It's nice to remember that we can easily install Firefox extensions that are not hosted at Mozilla.org. There is no way to forbid users from installing any particular extension -- even if Mozilla is required to remove the extension in the official listing, we can get it somewhere else.

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lennier ( 44736 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @07:49PM (#36042858) Homepage

    Will anyone who thinks our government is working for us speak up?

    They already have, and loudly. Everyone who votes for one of the two mainstream parties thinks this, or they'd be voicing their displeasure by voting for a third party. That's why third parties exist. The fact that third parties don't get elected means that the majority of US voters don't, in fact, feel enough of a disconnect with the Democrats or Republicans to actually vote them out.

    It's pleasant to think that your views about the unrepresentativeness of mainstream US elected government are widespread and the majority - but the facts don't seem to actually bear this out.

    The majority actually do think their government is working for them - when their party is in power - and are quite happy to turn a blind eye to any abuses of the rights of the other 49% of Americans. The other party is of course committing the most horrible atrocities since Hitler, and creating the biggest constitutional crises since Julius Ceasar crossed the Rubicon, and the other 49% of voters are all evil, stupid, deluded sheep who adhere to a morally corrupt and self-contradictory political philosophy - but their party and supporters are entirely composed of hard-working, honest, shining crusaders for political reform who arrived at all their political positions from first principles derived from the Law of Identity.

    The minority party supporters laugh at this, because they know that it's really only their party who are honest shining crusaders and 99% of the voters who are deluded and philosophically bankrupt.

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pseudonym Authority ( 1591027 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @08:06PM (#36043012)
    Nope, nope, nope. The Teabaggers are ridiculed because they are a bunch of mentally diseased lunatics\idiots being led by mentally disease lunatics\puppets for the ruling class. You don't really think that Glenn Beck wants to stop the DHS from policing the internet, do you?
    99% of them are just there because they think that the 500$ they would save by shutting down all schools would make them rich. And the other 1% are there to convince the other 99% that that is in their best interest.
  • by godless dave ( 844089 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @08:08PM (#36043032)
    Why is the Department of Homeland Security involved in copyright enforcement at all? It's not a national security issue. I can see parts of the Justice Department being involved, and certainly the FCC and the department of commerce. But Homeland Security? Aren't they supposed to defend the country from physical attacks by enemies? Forgive me if this has been asked and answered.
  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @08:12PM (#36043062) Homepage

    Yea, because people with different morals than the population at large are such a risk to National Security that the Department of Homeland Security should be involved. ...

    'Department of Homeland Security' was much easier to ram rod through Congress than "Department of Pretty Much Everything and the Kitchen Sink that isn't Covered by the Other Big Departments'. It has nothing to do with security (that should be obvious). Gotta have a catchy title these days or it just doesn't fly.

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slimjim8094 ( 941042 ) <slashdot3@@@justconnected...net> on Thursday May 05, 2011 @08:22PM (#36043182)

    Wow. No, the objection every thinking person has to the "Tea Party" is that they aren't actually interested in anything specific. What they are interested in, under the guise of "limited government", is more of a corpratocracy (no regulation, no taxes for wealthy, etc). This isn't much of a surprise, considering that the "grass roots" organization is pretty much championed by very large corporations (Fox News)

  • by slimjim8094 ( 941042 ) <slashdot3@@@justconnected...net> on Thursday May 05, 2011 @08:30PM (#36043246)

    The government was created to do a number of things that aren't really relevant nowadays. By the same token, there's a number of things we require of our governments that simply did not exist when they were created. Any thinking person agrees that the FCC, in some form, is a requirement to avoid absolute radio chaos. Similarly, anti-trust laws are pretty hard to argue against - particularly when you look at historical abuses that did, in fact, happen, and how regulation made a big difference.

    So I don't understand this anti-government mentality. I believe that a properly-run government can do things for its people in aggregate that are inefficient in smaller numbers - like health care. Again, it needs to be done properly - but Social Security was done properly, so projects of that scope are clearly possible.

    I don't trust incompetent governments. But why is that a given? It's *our* government, we can make it competent if we really want to.

  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @08:42PM (#36043326)

    I personally consider the rather deep and blatant connection between big media and "National Security" to be a direct [defacto] admission that the US government feels it is in danger of severe insolvency if the intellectual property cartels are broken, and/or, leave the US.

    It is one of the forms of handwriting on the wall that I mention when I say that the US is mortally ill, and in serious danger of economic implosion.

    Heavy handed DHS actions like this on behalf of this industry without proper due process would seem to be an indication of just how serious the insolvency problem actually is. That is why it is a "national security" issue.

    I do not know whether to take comfort in this insight, or to cower in fear at the notion that the economic fortunes of millions of americans might well hinge on the success or failure of a fundementally defective business model, due to the cumulative impact of many short-sighted politicians and corporate empires and their policies.

    Frighteningly enough, it would clearly explain the recent behavior my nation has had on the world stage concerning the adoption and enforcement of draconian worldwide DMCA-Like laws, and heavy handed activities using ICANN.

    That said, as terrible as the consequences would be, I actually DO hope that the DHS is UNSUCCESSFUL, and that the cartels are broken through public dissent, as per tools like the subject of this article, and outspoken civil defiance as seen in the population of Canada. (God I love the citizens of Canada. They are doing the world an unbeleivable favor by being so resolute.)

    The kind of future that would come out of a strongly enforced worldwide DMCA is not the kind of future I want to live in. I would rather see my nation fall, and have the damage contained, than see the very fundemental attribute that makes humans special (Creative intellect, and the freedom to create and share ideas) regulated for monetary purposes of a tiny few, at the expense of the whole world's freedom for EVERYONE else.

    Well done Mozilla! Ask those hard questions! Put feet to fire! I applaud your efforts!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2011 @09:08PM (#36043534)

    Where's the illegality?

    Implied threat of government legal action if they don't comply. Blackmail in other words. Unless they've actually informed the person their will be no direct consequences if they don't comply. 99% of the population would have little to no idea about whether any particular government official can legally do what they do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 05, 2011 @09:17PM (#36043592)
    Sure you can, but the majority of voters appear to be saying "You two, please take turns to fuck me ".

    Term-limits in the USA is just enforced gang-banging ;).
  • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @09:32PM (#36043698) Journal

    I think if you actually took a poll, you'd find that most people aren't voting for one of the two parties. They're voting against the other one. The first-past-the-gate election system has created a nice big hole for tyranny, through perfectly rational decisions by game theory.

    Unfortunately, the usurpers won't ever put in place a system where they likely won't be able to maintain power, so we're going to be stuck with first-past-the-gate until things get bad enough that armed revolution stops sounding crazy. And probably after that, too, because most people are used to it and don't even know of another way to do things...

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @09:32PM (#36043700) Journal

    ‘Odd,’ said Arthur, ‘I thought you said it was a democracy?’

    ‘I did,’ said Ford, ‘It is.’

    ‘So,’ said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, ‘why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?’

    ‘It honestly doesn’t occur to them,’ said Ford. ‘They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.’

    ‘You mean they actually vote for the lizards?’

    ‘Oh yes,’ said Ford with a shrug, ‘of course.’

    ‘But,’ said Arthur, going for the big one again, ‘why?’

    ‘Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,’ said Ford, ‘the wrong lizard might get in.’

    Basically, I think you're overestimating the number of people who actually genuinely support either party. 'Voting for' isn't the same as 'supporting', or even 'agreeing with'.

  • Security concerns (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jimmyswimmy ( 749153 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @10:56PM (#36044054)

    One of the commenters on the FF extension suggested that the extension introduces a serious vulnerability into your browser - by downloading the XML file containing the list of sites to be redirected, you are basically offering that website the ability to redirect "youtube.com" to "nastysexxxxxychix.com" or whatever. Certainly this would be unpleasant on a work computer, but it could also be used to send you to a malicious site. He also pointed out that every 15 times the extension is actually called you are sent to a "Help Us" page where they probably ask for donations.

    The same commenter forked the extension to another called FireIce which has a hardcoded list of sites. I think the ideal way would be with a user-configurable list which the user can easily update from a website as desired, rather than automatically downloading an XML file without user input.

    This other extension - which I haven't tried and cannot endorse - is at https://addons.mozilla.org/da/firefox/addon/fireice/ [mozilla.org]

  • by snero3 ( 610114 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @11:01PM (#36044076) Homepage

    I agreed with you up until I read Now I'm willing to bend that a little bit, like if a mass murderer just escaped from prison at no time should the Law be bent. It doesn't matter what the reason is. If the law is wrong, make a new one, vote it in etc... Bending the law just to suit a certain situation is stupid.

  • by Dhalka226 ( 559740 ) on Thursday May 05, 2011 @11:07PM (#36044092)

    Name one right being oppressed, and who grants it if applicable.

    The right to due process, granted explicitly by the US Constitution, as well as the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty -- a tenant of the US judicial system pretty much since the beginning.

    These seizures aren't part of any investigation, so it's not akin to a search warrant. They're seized because the government and a judge unilaterally decided their operators are guilty. The're not even bothering to try to prosecute the owners, a pretty clear indication that they don't feel they have a case capable of garnering convictions. These operators were given no notice of the investigation or the court hearings, no chance to defend themselves against the charges and, given that at least 80,000 of these seizures are on suspect grounds, it's pretty clear that it was done with no reliable evidence to begin with. When provided evidence that their seizure was in the wrong (a la dajaz1.com), ICE makes no move to so much as investigate it, much less return the property that they have stolen.

    Moreover, it allows the US government to seize the property of non-US citizens who may not be violating any laws in their own jurisdiction, even with the attempts to ram silly treaties through their teeth. In several cases, the sites were already declared to be legal by their local court systems. But because the .com and .net registries happen to be here, the US feigns jurisdiction over these people and their actions, essentially declaring itself the sole world arbiter of legality.

    Or for another explanation:

    In contrast to ordinary copyright litigation, the domain name seizure process does not appear to give targeted websites an opportunity to defend themselves before sanctions are imposed. As you know, there is an active and contentious legal debate about when a website may be held liable for infringing activities by its users. I worry that domain name seizures could function as a means for end-running the normal legal process in order to target websites that may prevail in full court. The new enforcement approach used by Operation In Our Sites is alarmingly unprecedented in the breadth of its potential reach...

    For the Administration's efforts to be seen as legitimate, it should be able to defend its use of the forfeiture laws by prosecuting operators of domain names and provide a means to ensure due process. If the federal government is going to take property and risk stifling speech, it must be able to defend those actions not only behind closed doors but also in a court of law.

    -- US Senator Ron Wyden

  • Re:Police state. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by X.25 ( 255792 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @12:29AM (#36044434)

    Now that Osama bin Fucktard is gone, it is time to take this police state back.

    And you couldn't do that while Osama was alive because... ?

  • by Puff_Of_Hot_Air ( 995689 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @01:06AM (#36044576)
    I think you would find Kohlberg's stages of moral development [wikipedia.org] an interesting read. In essence, most people are at Stage 4, which essentially is "belief in authority". Unfortunately, there are as many Stage 2 "I'm just in it for myself" arseholes as there are Stage 5 and Stage 6 "Only the just laws should be obeyed" enlightened thinkers. We need more people to level up.
  • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ildon ( 413912 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @01:08AM (#36044586)

    They build my bridges, fix my roads, fund companies who provide power and water, make sure that water is clean and drinkable, police the streets, protect the people. Government does some good things. It's mostly local and state government, but it's still government.

  • by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Friday May 06, 2011 @04:01AM (#36045146)

    The first amendment doesn't give you the right to violate all laws.

    Likewise: Copyright has no right to violate my first amendment rights. Have you read the Constitution? search for the phrase "congress shall make no law", then read up and get back to me...

    Additionally: Three words, PEER TO PEER. This is really how the entire Internet works: at the packet level, we're all peers & there is no "client" or "server" (that's application level thinking); Ergo, taking down servers can also mean taking down clients, and until it does, and you have a workable solution to the Streisand Effect, bans will do nothing but piss people off and cause more of whatever behavior triggered the ban in the first place. (We're all servers).

    In short: damage from censorship will always be routed around until instant-bans of all information holding parties is possible and in practice. However, once that happens, there are much bigger problems to deal with, eg: FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS.

    I can encode any information as a rather large decimal (base 10) number, numbers can't be patented or copyrighted. In fact, I've even written a program that encodes and decodes in such a way (arbitrary bit-length & radix integer math) -- It's terribly inefficient in decimal mode; in Hexadecimal (base 16) it's blazingly fast, but it doubles the output size... You can avoid the size bloat by encoding & decoding your NUMBERS in base 2 --- Oh, wait binary numbers are what's claimed as infringing copyright. (How is this not a 1st amendment issue?)

    The great thing about math is that adding some large number, then subtracting it later yields the exact same origin number, and numbers can be represented in any base but still remain equivalent. XOR, multiplication, division & subtraction are all also reverse-able. My big-math package doesn't blink twice when you tell it to add the fractional component of PI to say, a Be-Dulls.MP3 file, minding the input's significant digits when limiting output... Subtraction of the same yields the original information...

    Should I be prohibited from distributing PI's remainder + some arbitrary value? Isn't that a substantial transformation, and doesn't the resulting output rely much more heavily on my addition and transformation than the original? If I'm prohibited from distributing such a number in totality, can I be prevented from distributing individual bits or digits one at a time a few times per day via twitter? Surely a small fraction of decimal digits transformed to be unusable for the original data's purpose is not a copyright infringement, it's fair use, and would be a violation of my 1st amendment right to restrict me in such a way -- All digits can be represented as some be-dulls.mp3 byte + or - some other digit...

    Surely breaking the info up and transmitting it + (PI-3) renders it a separate work, no-longer coverable by copyright... You can't copyright a single word, ergo a single bit is even less subject to copyright (if not, I claim Zero! -- no monopoly here!).

    How large of a piece of data is a copyrightable? 4 bits? Surely not, 1024 bytes? 1500 bytes? Surely not, in terms of a song this is just a fraction of a second of music, clearly a fair-use.

    So, If I'm allowed to distribute 1500 bytes at a time, and transformed by an arbitrary integer math operation, what's to say I can't also claim fair use on each 1500 byte SSL XORed Internet packet?

    To say that copyrights do not limit freedom of speech is moronic at best -- That's exactly what copyrights do; Perhaps they were never intended to do so -- In that case, let's reform or obliterate the offensive laws. Pehaps you don't see what's going on in the summary? The government is trying to get people to restrict the freedom of speech rights of others voluntarily, because they have no legal authority to do so

  • by exekewtable ( 130076 ) on Friday May 06, 2011 @08:33AM (#36046246)

    If you follow the money, I think you will find it is also in the direction of stopping people transporting large amounts of cash and valuables in and out of the country. Nothing to do with terrorism at all.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley