Mozilla takes legal action against spyware from UK company Gamma imitating its Firefox browser. Privacy International has also filed for judicial review of HMRC’s refusal to release information on Gamma exporting its FinFisher surveillance technology to repressive regimes.
The Citizen Lab is an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs, at the University of Toronto. Its report, For Their Eyes Only: The Commercialization of Digital Spying, reveals FinFisher Command & Control servers that are currently active, or have been present, in 36 countries. They have also identified a FinSpy sample that appears to be specifically targeting Malay language speakers, masquerading as a document discussing Malaysia’s upcoming 2013 General Elections, and instances where FinSpy makes use of Mozilla’s Trademark and Code. The latest Malay-language sample masquerades as Mozilla Firefox in both file properties and in manifest. This is similar to samples discussed in previous reports, including a demo copy of the product, and samples targeting Bahraini activists.
Mozilla's Alex Fowler says "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." It has sent a cease and desist demand to end these "illegal practices" immediately.
Privacy International submitted a 189 page dossier of evidence claiming that the same UK company, Gamma International, has illegally breached export regulations, but HMRC has refused to disclose any information, thus triggering judicial review proceedings as a last resort.