Mozilla says spyware sold to governments masquerading as Firefox

May 1, 2013 at 6:39 PM

REDMOND, Wash., May 1 (UPI) -- Mozilla says it has sent a cease-and-desist letter to a British company it alleges sells spyware disguised as its Firefox browser to governments.

A report by citizenlab.org said 36 countries including the United States host servers for FinFisher, a type of surveillance software sold by Gamma International in Britain to governments that utilize it in criminal investigations and allegedly for spying on dissidents, Ars Technica reported Wednesday.

In a company blog, Mozilla said it has sent a cease and desist letter to Gamma "demanding that these illegal practices stop immediately," alleging the FinFisher software, also known as FinSpy, is "designed to trick people into thinking it's Mozilla Firefox."

The spyware "uses our brand and trademarks to lie and mislead as one of its methods for avoiding detection and deletion," Mozilla posted, and is "used by Gamma's customers to violate citizens' human rights and online privacy."

When contacted, Gamma had no comment on Mozilla's cease-and-desist letter, Ars Technica said.

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