Why Is The DHS Trying To Meddle With Firefox?

As we all know, Osama Bin Laden took a bullet IN! THE! FAAAAAAACE! and is now deader than Freddie Prinze Jr.’s career, two things that deserved to die and will not be missed now that they’re gone. But this leaves the Department of Homeland Security in a quandry. What are they going to do, now that their flailing attempts to invade your privacy no longer have a boogeyman? Try and stop illegal torrenting, that’s what! We’ll tell you how, plus how Amazon just kicked Apple’s nards for a field goal, below.

We’re DHS and We Control The Internet! DERP!

First, in the most hilariously retarded and hamhanded news you’ll read all day, the Mozilla Foundation received a phone call from the Department of Homeland Security demanding that they shut down the plugin MafiaaFire. Why? Because we’re DHS, that’s why!

The real motive can be found in what MafiaaFire does: you see, the Department of Homeland Security has been tasked with seizing the domain names of sites that violate copyright. They may not be able to get at the site directly, but they can seize the name and force it to a new domain.

MafiaaFire automatically tracks when a domain is seized and what domain the site you want sets up shop in next, and just redirects you. Basically it saves you five seconds of Googling.

Obviously, the DHS hates this, but they still think it’s the Bush administration over there: they’re used to being mindlessly obeyed. They also obviously had no authority to do this, as evinced by the fact that they made a phone call, which they knew wouldn’t be recorded, instead of an email, which would probably be Exhibit A in any court case.

Unfortunately for them, Mozilla isn’t incredibly stupid, and sent the DHS a list of questions for them to answer, including the million-dollar one: “Is Mozilla legally obligated to disable this add-on?”

Since the answer to that question is “No”, oddly, DHS hasn’t gotten back to them! We greatly look forward to the conclusion of this story, but we can guess what DHS is going to say:

iOS Now Free of the Tyranny Of iTunes

Hey, remember Amazon’s Cloud Player? Since it’s not like they promoted that or anything, we’ll just quickly recap and tell you: basically, you store your music on a server Amazon owns, and then play it back on whatever device you want.

Amazon’s been trying really hard to tackle Apple in the MP3-selling game: dropping DRM before Apple did, using a file format that’s actually compatible with any other player than an iPod, and recently dropping the price of popular hits to 69 cents right when Apple jacked them to $1.29 a pop. OK, we’re literally talking a sixty-cent difference, but it racks up.

Now, Amazon has ever-so-quietly rolled out iOS support for its Cloud player, which pretty much means that you can store your music on an external server and listen to it without touching an Apple product, although why you’d be on something with iOS if you hate Apple that much is on you.

In the short run, it’s just Amazon driving a big pointy boot right in Apple smooth white plastic and brushed aluminum codpiece. But it also means for the first time there’s some real competition on an Apple device in this area.

Bet they’re just overjoyed about that.


  • Department of Homeland Security learns the hard way nobody respects their authoritah! (CNET)
  • Amazon pulls an end-run around Apple on their own tightly controlled platform, while Adobe seethes with jealousy. (Yahoo!)



  • Hey, speaking of Apple, did you know that the Chinese are just as insane about the iPad as we are? So much so, in fact, that there was a massive fight at the Beijing Apple store that shattered the glass door and sent four people to the hospital. Now that’s brand loyalty! (Washington Post)
  • Meanwhile, Apple became the world’s most valuable brand, worth $153 billion compared to Google’s paltry $111 billion. Amazon, meanwhile, beat out Wal-Mart. All this courtesy some attention-grabbing marketing agency. (PCWorld)



  • iTunes users download an average of 2.5 million songs per day. Most of those courtesy of those little Starbucks free-MP3 handouts. (SlipperyBrick)
  • On the other hand, Amazon made $3 billion last quarter. We’d start giving out free server space with that kind of cash, too. (SeekingAlpha)