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When Add-Ons Wage War

May 16, 2009, 18:02 (7 Talkback[s])

"Palant, meanwhile, took exception to his extension being bypassed and instructed the individual who maintains AdBlock Plus' list of filters -- the means by which the blocking is achieved -- to add a new filter specifically designed to block ads on NoScript's domain. AdBlock filters are generally rather generic, blocking any images from URLs used by ad providers -- users have the ability, though, to craft their own rules, and even to use the extension to block normal HTML elements on a page. Once Maone discovered that Palant was circumventing his circumvention, he introduced new methods to block the ads. The AdBlock Plus filter maintainer -- known only as Ares2 -- retaliated with more and more severe filters until eventually the NoScript website was inaccessible to users of AdBlock Plus.

"Until this point, the dispute was fairly transparent -- users are able to view, alter, and disable the filters enabled in their browser, and Maone's actions to circumvent the extension on his site would have been apparent to any AdBlock Plus user who visited the site. However, once Ares2 introduced filters that broke his site, Maone left transparency behind. He introduced new code into NoScript which disrupted the operation of AdBlock Plus -- something made possible by the broad ability Firefox extensions have to alter not just the content of websites, but the browser itself, and any other add-ons that might be installed."

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