Leave DRM out of Mozilla – open letter to Andreas Gal

Just as Defective By Design encourages anyone who likes the internet and the open web to do, I have emailed Andreas Gal (CTO at Mozilla) to present my views on why EME/DRM should not be implemented into Mozilla products:

Hello Andreas,

I’m an avid Mozilla (Firefox, Thunderbird and recently also Firefox OS) user, using both your original versions and on some machines the differently branded products like Iceweasel and Icedove. Thanks to the free and open nature of Mozilla, many volunteers can deliver quality applications on platforms which are not in Mozilla’s primary interest to maintain.

However, when I first read about the W3C seriously thinking about standardising proprietary mechanisms (i.e. EME, Encrypted Media Extensions) into the open web me and many others felt it was kind of the beginning of the end of a free and open era of technology. Even my less technically skilled friends have cried out in fear when it was clear that their ‘Ctrl+S’ feature (or right-click and “Save link as”) would likely disappear in the future.

For the reason we who criticize Digital Restrictions Management do it so strongly is not only about standing up against major, monopolistic players like Adobe and Netflix. Our criticism doesn’t stop at whether platform independence should be encouraged (will the proprietary mechanisms ever run on the same wide variety of platforms as Mozilla’s software?). We also wish for
Mozilla to stand with us in this fight against decreased control of software and hardware.

When data and algorithms which pass through a machine cannot be controlled, inspected and debugged properly by its administrative user – and a software we’ve learned to love and trust lets this happen right under our noses – why should we continue to have faith in its developer? Despite whatever “sandboxes” these black boxes are contained within, since they act only as makeup on a pig.

I believe this is a turning point for Mozilla. The trust you have gained from being the best, most open and free solution for
web and email usage (and development!) over time is at a risk. I still believe you are going to do what’s best for the open
nature of the internet and the users who have put their faith in you.

Thank you,
Mikael Nordfeldth
GNU social developer
XMPP/email: mmn@hethane.se

Signed with my OpenPGP key 0xB52E9B31.

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