[tbb-bugs] #30175 [Applications/Tor Browser]: Manually whitelist extensions removed from AMO for purely political reasons in Tor Browser to fight Mozilla's censorship

Tor Bug Tracker & Wiki blackhole at torproject.org
Sat Apr 13 13:48:16 UTC 2019

#30175: Manually whitelist extensions removed from AMO for purely political reasons
in Tor Browser to fight Mozilla's censorship
 Reporter:  cypherpunks  |          Owner:  tbb-team
     Type:  enhancement  |         Status:  new
 Priority:  High         |      Component:  Applications/Tor Browser
  Version:               |       Severity:  Major
 Keywords:               |  Actual Points:
Parent ID:               |         Points:
 Reviewer:               |        Sponsor:
 Mozilla recently removed the Dissenter Firefox add-on, an add-on that
 allows users to make comments on any web page that can be viewed only by
 other Dissenter users, from AMO for "hate speech" (which of course is a
 charge only even possibly related to some of the content its users freely
 posted on it and not any particular sentiment expressed by the program's
 interface, description, etc. itself). This is similar to the charges
 commonly levied against the Tor Project that it promotes child
 pornography, drug addiction, terrorism, hate speech, etc. simply because
 it facilitates the creation of a free and open platform that anyone can
 use anonymously, even those with ill intentions.

 Surely, then, we must recognize the folly in accusing the creators of the
 Dissenter add-on themselves of hate speech (and thus removing their
 extension) simply for the expressions of its users and thus that Mozilla's
 removal of the add-on (in coordination with Google's removal of it from
 the Chrome Web Store, which should tell you all you need to know about the
 shadowy motivations behind it) was arbitrary, unjustified, and unethical.
 The same logic that's been used against Dissenter could easily be turned
 against the Tor Project by Mozilla in order to attempt to hinder the
 creation and dissemination of Tor Browser.

 So my question is this: When is the Tor Project going to condemn this
 unjust censorship of an add-on that merely attempts to aid one of the
 goals of the Tor Project itself (the protection of freedom of expression
 online) from its partner Mozilla, and when is the Tor Browser going to
 provide its users with a convenient means to work around this odious
 totalitarianism from the browser (Firefox) it is based on?

 Leaving the situation as it is, where any add-ons that Mozilla deems to be
 insufficiently politically correct enough are demoted to "temporary add-
 ons" that must be clunkily reinstalled with each browser restart, is
 unacceptable (as is requiring users to entirely disable the protections
 the current system from Mozilla provides because they want to install on a
 permanent basis an extension that was not removed from AMO for being a
 security risk).

 Tor Browser should take a stand against this freedom of expression-hostile
 action from its partner Mozilla by adding to its forked Firefox code a
 "whitelist" of extensions that were removed from AMO purely for
 politically biased reasons, allowing them to be installed in Tor Browser
 normally as if they came from AMO itself. This strikes the right balance
 between preserving the general protections that Mozilla's extension
 security system provides while sending a clear message to Mozilla that the
 Tor Project, at the very least, will not allow Mozilla to censor its users
 or block any extension in its fork of their browser other than those that
 are actively hostile to the user (as opposed to hostile to Mozilla's

 If the Tor Project is truly in favor of freedom online, then it can no
 longer stay silent about big tech censorship. After all, what is the
 meaning of the Tor network if its anonymity can only be used to shout in
 dark isolated corners where nobody can hear you? Dissenter, which has no
 restrictions on accounts registering with or using the Tor network to
 post, opened up the web universally for comment by Tor users, even the
 areas of it traditionally hostile to Tor. Mozilla's actions are a direct
 attack on this newfound freedom. The Tor Project opposed Cloudflare when
 it attempted to restrict the freedom of Tor users. Now it must express
 that same opposition to Mozilla.

Ticket URL: <https://trac.torproject.org/projects/tor/ticket/30175>
Tor Bug Tracker & Wiki <https://trac.torproject.org/>
The Tor Project: anonymity online

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