Chromium: Deprecating the API uBlock Origin and uMatrix Depend Upon


Seems like Chromium is shifting to remove an API, webRequest, in favor of a more limited version, declarativeNetRequest. In doing so, it is implicitly favoring the API of a more limited, commerical net blocking utility over more open-source, non-commerical rivals. Gorhill summarized the top-level effect of the change really well here, I think:

Extensions act on behalf of users, they add capabilities to a user agent, and deprecating the blocking ability of the webRequest API will essentially decrease the level of user agency in Chromium, to the benefit of web sites which obviously would be happy to have the last word in what resources their pages can fetch/execute/render.

I hear very little discussion about what a user agent really is, and about the right of users to manage, shape and ultimately control what code is downloaded and run on a computer that they have purchased. As Cory Doctorow concluded in perhaps my favorite of his many excellent works, Lockdown: The coming war on general-purpose computing

Freedom in the future will require us to have the capacity to monitor our devices and set meaningful policies for them; to examine and terminate the software processes that runs on them; and to maintain them as honest servants to our will, not as traitors and spies working for criminals, thugs, and control freaks.

Chromium: Deprecating the API uBlock Origin and uMatrix Depend Upon