Mozilla: government spyware disguising itself as Firefox

Mozilla has called on a commercial spyware company to stop masquerading as its Firefox browser to avoid detection on people’s computers.

The action comes after a report from human rights group Citizen Lab claimed that Gamma International, a controversial surveillance software company, was using Firefox as a mask to hide its FinSpy software, which is used by governments to snoop on citizens.

British-based Gamma disguises its surveillance tool — which can be installed covertly, and then access key-strokes, activate webcams and record Skype calls — as Firefox so that users don’t delete it, Mozilla said.

We’ve sent Gamma a cease and desist letter today demanding that these illegal practices stop immediately, Mozilla said in a blog.

We cannot abide a software company using our name to disguise online surveillance tools that can be — and in several cases actually have been — used by Gamma’s customers to violate citizens’ human rights and online privacy.

Mozilla stressed that the two software packages remained separate and that FinSpy did not affect Firefox itself or the way the browser operated. Gamma’s software is entirely separate, and only uses our brand and trademarks to lie and mislead as one of its methods for avoiding detection and deletion, Mozilla said — via

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