Cloud Firewall addon for Firefox in desktop/phone


#1

Hello FSFTN,
I am Gokulakrishna. I created the “Cloud Firewall” addon for Firefox to help enable everyone to easily replicate Kashmir Hill’s research series “Life without the big tech” which inspired me to build it. I reused Dhruv’s data from his VPN he built for Kashmir’s research. I had met some of FSFTN Chennai folks back in 2016 Software Freedom Day in the event location and also in FSFTN office. (After that, I couldn’t participate in FSFTN Chennai for other reasons that are not related to FSFTN)

GPLv3 source is in Gitlab. Yes, Gitlab is itself hosted on Google Cloud. Please review the readme.md file!

It’s just 5 weeks after its first release, I’d gladly welcome and take any feedback, issue reports or feature requests comments and feedback if you take it for a spin !

If you wish, you can boost this toot in your Mastodon for reach visibility : https://framapiaf.org/web/statuses/101727497214557035 or this tweet if you are on Twitter, you can retweet this tweet https://twitter.com/gKrishnaKS/status/1103019156251668480

Purpose and Goal of this addon : Replicate Kashmir Hill’s research “Life without the tech giants” in browser without complex VPN setup.

Defaults and Idea for how to use : Note that this addon is ENTIRELY user-choice. Upon install, the default mode is “Allow all clouds”. Also another default, the block switch states are NOT persisted across browser restarts. For users who wish to persist the setting, they can do so from settings page. Also note that having block switches enabled, will break sites (on browser side only, i.e client side only). So good idea to use this addon in a new Firefox Profile solely for research purpose. (command “firefox -p”, create profile)

Common questions :

  • It’s not a hosts/filter list based “ad/tracker blocker” addon. We already have
    the fantastic UblockOrigin for it and I would never want to compete with it as I am a big fan and promoter of UBO too and its advanced mode!
  • It’s literally a firewall - looks at IP for both address bar URL and also the 1p/3p resources and blocks the connection if and only if user chooses to block a cloud and IP of URL bar hostname or 1p/3p resource match the
    bundled IP address ranges owned by a cloud which the user chose to block.
  • User can choose to enable persistence of block/allow rules across browser restarts, in Settings page. By default upon install, it does not block anything. And by default, it does not persist allow/block rules across restarts.
  • Chromium (Chrome, Brave, Opera, Vivaldi etc) is not supported because it does not provide to extensions an API that resolves DNS to IP the way firefox does {Refer compatibility table here https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Add-ons/WebExtensions/API/dns/resolve#Browser_compatibility) which Firefox provides to addons } And I would never want any of my 3 addons to make a network call from addon code - so I don’t want to add an option for DOH/DOT type DNS --> IP resolution from addon code.
  • DO NOT USE THIS ADDON WITH ANY KIND OF PROXY ADDON. TBB is not supported and also not supported for use with “Proxy addons” in
    addons store. If someone can show me in issue #18 - https://gitlab.com/gkrishnaks/cloud-firewall/issues/18 how to use
    TBB’s DNS resolver from another addon, I could do it - PR welcome for it
    too! (I am aware users are not supposed to use addons apart from
    official bundled ones in TBB by its developers, but nothing stops a user
    from installing stuff from AMO and this is a feature request from advanced user)

Example Feedback from users :
Also see feedback received in /e/ forum: https://community.e.foundation/t/cloud-firewall-block-g-e-amazon-facebbok-microsoft-apple-cloudflare/2834

News:
This addon is featured in these places:

  1. Paula Kreuzer’s article on “How to Live without the big tech” here : https://write.privacytools.io/paulakreuzer/how-to-live-without-google-and-other-evil-tech-giants
  2. Paul from alternativesTo tried it and created a separate listing page here : https://alternativeto.net/software/cloud-firewall
  3. This addon is featured as a HUMANE TECHNOLOGY in “Humane Tech Awesome List” here : (https://github.com/humanetech-community/awesome-humane-tech/blob/master/README.md)

#2

@gkrishnaks beyond the functionality of your add-on itself, what I like is the transparency.

  1. Transparency of the Code (FLOSS Licensing)
  2. Transparency of actions that the add-on undertakes. For every action the add-on performs I love the way you inform it to the user via notifications.