Mozilla pulls a popular paywall circumvention tool from Firefox add-ons store


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/11/29/but-not-chrome.html


#2

I use Firefox and Bypass Paywalls is still active in my extensions manager. Shows latest version as of Oct 29th. Going to turn off automatic updates just in case.


#3

Devils advocate:
If a news site has a Terms of Service that says you can’t bypass their soft pay wall then it could be seen as a violation of the CFAA. Alternately if a cookie could be considered “a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work” then circumventing it could run afoul of the DMCA Section 1201(a)(1).
/Devils advocate

I strongly feel that it shouldn’t be against the law, but I could see how a lawyer looking to show that he is doing his job by raking up bogus take down stats could threaten Mozilla over this.


#4

Bummer. I knew it wouldn’t last forever. That’s why I have slowly migrated my news reading to nofeenews.com


#5

Any add on that deletes cookies can function as this, I use cookie autodelete which nukes all the cookies (except the few I whitelist) and to my surprise kills many soft paywalls as well. Thought those walls would use something not as easily circumvented as cookies, but whatever, it works.


#6

So this extention just automated the two steps of right clicking and selecting “Open Link in New Private Window”? That’s not too big a loss.


#7

This is a bummer. Note that the Wayback Machine at archive.org is also useful for this purpose, and bonus, you can prevent your machine from ever making contact with sites that mine data. Alternately, though this is a less ideal solution, you can sometimes use read-it-later apps like Pocket to view articles.


#8

here you go:

https://web.archive.org/web/20170907215156/https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/android/addon/bypasspaywalls/versions/

(jah, its the 2017-versions; the 2018-snapshot doesnt seem to work)

dont click on “download now” but rightclick on it and then “save under…”. works like a charm.

and btw to all; archive.org needs donations and unlike wikipedia these days, they really need them.

edit/ hrmph. the term “android” somehow slipped trough my perception, kinda embarrasing, but it seems the .xpi is for both “normal” and android, so it should work. either way, here is the correct link to all versions (snapshot from sep. 2018, versions are downloadable with rightclick as mentioned):

https://web.archive.org/web/20181001171100/https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/bypasspaywalls/versions/


#9

If ignoring the cookie is able to bypass the control, how is it effective?

I know this has been hashed out in court, but it pisses me off that the definition of “effective” has delved so far into the realms of philosophical masturbation that it no longer is scrutable to any non-lawyer or student of the law if they wanted to figure out what they’re doing is illegal.


#10

Can anyone confirm that the Chrome Extension linked to in the article is legit? It has 70 users, and is only a few weeks old. Plus the github account differs from the Firefox version’s “Iamadamdev” account and is literally called “OpenSource-Developer”, which is just a little too on the nose.
Could just be free software forking as designed, mind.


#11

The github repo of the Chrome Extension linked to seems legit, but unrelated to the firefox extension that was removed. A cursory look at the code there showed no red flags; most PRs are from Pavan Jadda. I didn’t extract the Chrome Store extension to insure it matched, though.

The Firefox developer made a chrome extension you can install from GitHub.; I’ve installed that instead.


#12

web.archive.org
“The add-on could not be installed because it does not match the add-on Firefox expected.”
FF 63.0.3
Any more suggestions?


#13

sorry, seems like a no-longer-working-addons-after-FF-57-issue. after 57, only addons with the new WebExtensions APIs are working. maybe a FF-fork? Im still using FF47, cause I hate the new ones and want to use my old addons.


#14

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