Firefox Add-on ‘Undoes’ U.S. Government Domain Seizures

The seizure of file-sharing related domain names by the US Government hasn't been as effective as the entertainment industries had hoped since many of them simply continued their operations under new domains. To make these type of domain transitions go more smoothly, an anonymous group has coded a simple Firefox add-on that automatically redirects users to these new homes.

mafiaafireThe seizures of file-sharing related domain names by the US Government in recent months have stirred up a lot of controversy. Despite heavy critique from various sides, the end is not yet in sight.

ICE director John Morton confirmed last week that the seizures will continue in the coming years. But at the same time the authorities amp up their anti-piracy efforts, those in opposition are already coming up with ways to bypass them.

One of these initiatives is the “MAFIAA Fire” add-on for Firefox that was officially published today. The plugin, which will support the Chrome browser at a later stage too, maintains a list of all the domains that ICE (hence the fire) has seized and redirects their users to an alternative domain if the sites in question have set one up.

To start the ball rolling the add-on’s developers have redirected some of the seized sites for which they know the alternate domains, such as Torrent-Finder.com and Rojadirecta.com. In addition, they are offering webmasters the option to register an alternate domain in anticipation of an eventual domain seizure. These domains will then be verified and the site owners can “activate” them in case they’re needed.

TorrentFreak got in touch with the MAFIAA Fire developer, who told us that this is just the beginning. Inspired by a quote from John Gilmore who once said “the Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it,” they are determined to retaliate against these and other censorship attacks.

“This is just a start, now that we have opened this can of worms people can expect many add-ons, extensions and plug-ins from us,” TorrentFreak was told. “Our goal is to reverse governments attempts to censor the Internet, and nearly anything the anti-piracy people put up to protect their dinosaur business models.”

“Imagine the old game of whack-a-mole, now imagine playing on multiple machines all around you at the same time.”

“We really are tired of the corruption at the highest levels of government by these people. Enough is enough. There is a time to moan and there is a time to take action – and taking action has been long overdue,” the MAFIAA Fire developer said.

According to the add-on developer, something has to be done to stop the Internet from falling under the control of the entertainment industries or other hidden agendas. This add-on is a small step, but a start according to him.

“Governments around the world are either censoring for the entertainment companies never ending woes, or using that as an excuse to slowly get more control over the internet for their own agendas – and trampling over our rights in the process.”

“Our right to privacy should outweigh any outdated business model, unfortunately average Joe cannot afford a $10,000 plate dinner to speak to their representatives and his voice is drowned out by the vultures who have been doing this for decades,” he concluded.

Aside from redirecting seized domains, the MAFIAA Fire developer is also planning something for the websites of the various anti-piracy agencies worldwide. For this project, he is encouraging people to send in the domains of anti-piracy sites around the world, and more specifically, the country they’re operating from.

The MAFIAA Fire add-on can be downloaded from Mozilla and the official website, which also features a FAQ for those who want to know all the juicy details. The add-on code itself will be open source and released to the public in a few days.

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