Big Content has used one of the US’s more powerful security outfits in a desperate attempt to shut down a plug-in for Firefox.
The Department of Homeland Security apparently wrote to the Mozzarella Foundation and demanded that it remove the MafiaaFire add-on that allowed web surfers to access websites whose domain names were seized by the government for copyright infringement.
Homeland Security’s remit is to save the US from September 11 style terror attacks so therefore Mozzarella removing the the add-on should make the US safer from people flying planes into its landmarks.
Quite how Homeland Security ended up defending Big Content’s flaccid online business model and dedicated its resources to keeping movie moguls from losing their fourth mansion is anyone’s guess.
Needless to say Mozilla told the spooks to go forth and multiply until it could explain why it should do so.
Mozzarella also asked if government considers the add-on unlawful and whether Mozilla is “legally obligated” to remove it. Two weeks have passed since Mozzarella asked the spooks to explain themselves and it has not heard a dickie bird.
Writing in his bog, Harvey Anderson, Mozilla’s lawyer, said that one of the fundamental problems is under what conditions do intermediaries accede to government requests that have a censorship effect and which may threaten the open internet.
The add-on redirects traffic from seized domains to other domains outside the United States’ reach. Since last year, the U.S. government has seized at least 120 domains in an antipiracy assault known as “Operation in Our Sites.” The domains are taken under the same federal statute used to seize drug houses.
Many of the seized sites have been redirected by their owners to domains being hosted where the United States cannot legally touch them
The add-on has been downloaded more than 6,400 times but we suspect that after the publicity it will be downloaded a lot more.
One of the questions that Americans should be asking is why it is paying the US government to use its elite anti-terror cops to help Hollywood. Haven’t they got terrorists to be chasing and if they haven’t what right do they have to exist?