The add-on maintains a list of all the domains that ICE (hence the antidote, ‘fire’) has seized and redirects their users to an alternative domain if the sites in question have set one up. The developers told TorrentFreak that they coded it to demonstrate the futility of the domain seizures, which they find objectionable.
Homeland Security’s ICE unit got wind of the add-on and almost immediately took action to have it taken offline. Although the add-on can be hosted anywhere, they asked Mozilla to remove it from their repository just a few days after it first appeared there.
“Recently the US Department of Homeland Security contacted Mozilla and requested that we remove the Mafiaa Fire add-on,” explained Mozilla General Counsel and Vice President of Business Affairs Harvey Anderson. “The ICE Homeland Security Investigations unit alleged that the add-on circumvented a seizure order DHS had obtained against a number of domain names.”
However, where ICE might have expected a swift take down from Mozilla, the legal and business affairs department of the tech company was not planning to honor the request so easily.
“Our approach is to comply with valid court orders, warrants, and legal mandates, but in this case there was no such court order,” Anderson explains.
According to Anderson complying with the request without any additional information would threaten open Internet principles. So, instead of taking the add-on offline they replied to ICE with a set of 11 well-crafted questions.