Mozilla defies Kremlin, restores banned Firefox add-ons in Russia

Browser maker decided not to follow Putin's orders. Well done

Mozilla has reinstated certain add-ons for Firefox that earlier this week had been banned in Russia by the Kremlin.

The browser extensions, which are hosted on the Mozilla store, were made unavailable in the Land of Putin on or around June 8 after a request by the Russian government and its internet censorship agency, Roskomnadzor.

Among those extensions were three pieces of code that were explicitly designed to circumvent state censorship – including a VPN and Censor Tracker, a multi-purpose add-on that allowed users to see what websites shared user data, and a tool to access Tor websites.

The day the ban went into effect, Roskomsvoboda – the developer of Censor Tracker – took to the official Mozilla forums and asked why his extension was suddenly banned in Russia with no warning.

"We recently noticed that our add-on is now unavailable in Russia, despite being developed specifically to circumvent censorship in Russia," dev zombbo complained. "We did not violate Mozilla's rules in any way, so this decision seems strange and unfair, to be honest."

Another developer for a banned add-on chimed in that they weren't informed either.

The internet org's statement at the time mentioned the ban was merely temporary. It turns out wasn't mere PR fluff, as Mozilla tells The Register that the ban has now been lifted.

"In alignment with our commitment to an open and accessible internet, Mozilla will reinstate previously restricted listings in Russia," the group declared. "Our initial decision to temporarily restrict these listings was made while we considered the regulatory environment in Russia and the potential risk to our community and staff.

"We remain committed to supporting our users in Russia and worldwide and will continue to advocate for an open and accessible internet for all."

Lifting the ban wasn't completely necessary for users to regain access to the add-ons – two of them were completely open source, and one of the VPN extensions could be downloaded from the developer's website. ®

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