Homeland Security Demands Mozilla Remove Firefox Extension That Redirects Seized Domains

from the touchy,-huh? dept

Apparently, the folks at Homeland Security are not at all pleased with the very, very simple Firefox extension, called MAFIAAfire, that negates ICE's domain seizures, by automatically rerouting users to alternate domains. Apparently, DHS demanded that Mozilla take the extension down from its listing of Firefox extensions claiming that the add-on "circumvented" DHS's seizure orders. Thankfully, Mozilla didn't just fold, but instead left it up and sent DHS a list of questions concerning the request. The list of questions is really fantastic, as it goes way beyond the direct request to really get to the heart of the questionable nature of ICE's activity with domain seizures:
To help us evaluate the Department of Homeland Security's request to take-down/remove the MAFIAAfire.com add-on from Mozilla's websites, can you please provide the following additional information:

1. Have any courts determined that MAFIAAfire.com is unlawful or illegal in any way? If so, on what basis? (Please provide any relevant rulings)

2. Have any courts determined that the seized domains related to MAFIAAfire.com are unlawful, illegal or liable for infringement in any way? (please provide relevant rulings)

3. Is Mozilla legally obligated to disable the add-on or is this request based on other reasons? If other reasons, can you please specify.

4. Has DHS, or any copyright owners involved in this matter, taken any legal action against MAFIAAfire.com or the seized domains, including DMCA requests?

5. What protections are in place for MAFIAAfire.com or the seized domain owners if eventually a court decides they were not unlawful?

6. Can you please provide copies of any briefs that accompanied the affidavit considered by the court that issued the relevant seizure orders?

7. Can you please provide a copy of the relevant seizure order upon which your request to Mozilla to take down MAFIAAfire.com is based?

8. Please identify exactly what the infringements by the owners of the domains consisted of, with reference to the substantive standards of Section 106 and to any case law establishing that the actions of the seized domain owners constituted civil or criminal copyright infringement.

9. Did any copyright owners furnish affidavits in connection with the domain seizures? Had any copyright owners served DMCA takedown notices on the seized domains or MAFIAAfire.com? (if so please provide us with a copy)

10. Has the Government furnished the domain owners with formal notice of the seizures, triggering the time period for a response by the owners? If so, when, and have there been any responses yet by owners?

11. Has the Government communicated its concerns directly with MAFIAAfire.com? If so, what response, if any, did MAFIAAfire.com make?
It's always nice to see some organizations not just roll over when the government comes calling. Kudos to Mozilla for not just refusing to takedown MAFIAAfire, but for also asking serious questions of DHS. Of course, DHS has refused to respond at all...

Filed Under: dhs, domain seizures, firefox, homeland security, ice, mafiaafire, mozilla
Companies: mozilla


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  1. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 5 May 2011 @ 3:47pm

    Re:

    It is not at all clear if Mozilla could be held legally liable for its extension, but it is clear that as a group located within the US it is generally not a good idea to get "cutesy" with the DHS and the DOJ

    I find this to be an interesting statement on two levels.

    1. I don't see how requesting that a government agency back up its demands with a legal basis is, in any way, shape or form getting "cutesy" with the government.

    2. I find the general sentiment you express here horrifying. You actually think that if the government comes to you and makes a request outside of the law, you should just obey? That seems to run entirely counter to the American way of standing up for what you believe in and not being bullied by the government.

    I really find it sad when people who claim to be patriotic Americans really are just willing pawns of authoritarianism.

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