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Google and Mozilla block suspected Kazakhstan snooping

(Image credit: Pixabay)

The government of Kazakhstan has tried to force its citizens to install a certificate which would allow it to snoop in on their activities, but browser builders (opens in new tab) are having none of it.

Google, Mozilla and possibly Apple have already moved in to block these attempts, the media have reported earlier this week.

The government of the former Soviet country, who generally has a poor record of human rights, at least by international standards, says its forcing of the certificate was a “security upgrade”.

The Ministry of Digital Development, Nur-Sultan, said the country’s telecom operators were “enhancing protection” from hackers, online fraud and similar cyberattacks, but browser builders beg to differ.

They argue the certificate would allow the government to intercept internet traffic and basically see anything anyone was doing online. Google and Mozilla said they’d issue “a technical solution” which would render such certificates useless.

"We will never tolerate any attempt, by any organisation - government or otherwise - to compromise Chrome users' data (opens in new tab)," said Chrome senior engineering director Parisa Tabriz.

"We have implemented protections from this specific issue, and will always take action to secure our users around the world."

Mozilla senior director of trust and security Marshall Erwin said: "People around the world trust Firefox to protect them as they navigate the internet, especially when it comes to keeping them safe from attacks like this that undermine their security.

"We don't take actions like this lightly but protecting our users and the integrity of the web (opens in new tab) is the reason Firefox exists."

The media are saying that APple has also blocked Kazakhstan government-issued certificates from Safari.

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.