Developer uBlock Origin removes Finnish Easylist for abuse of power

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Raymond Hill, the developer of uBlock Origin, has removed the Easylist Finland filter list from his adblocker. Whoever maintains the list had blocked a number of websites as a political statement. Hill thinks that’s not the place for that kind of expression.

The blocked websites belong to Finnish trade unions, which are currently in conflict with the Finnish government, according to The Register. The addition was reported by a user, whereupon Hill decided to remove the filter list completely from his app. However, this update has not yet been published on the Firefox and Chrome add-on stores at the time of writing.

Hill responds to the report with the words ‘unless a filter list is clearly presented with a political position as its primary objective, I consider this a breach of trust’. The default filters supplied with uBlock Origin are not maintained by Raymond Hill itself. This is done by external volunteers, who gain a lot of power by bundling with uBlock.

According to The Register, the entire filter list has since been removed from its hosting site and a Facebook page about the filter list has also disappeared. The Finn behind the list could not be reached for comment.

Maintainers of such lists do not only have the power to make a political statement. For example, Adblock Plus, another well-known ad blocker, is known to require some major advertisers to pay to get on its “acceptable ads” list, even though the ads already meet that list’s criteria.

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