Mozilla (opens in new tab) has announced that it will work alongside Google, Microsoft and Apple to help protect the privacy of internet users in Kazakhstan.
The country's internet service providers (ISPs) recently informed their customers that they would have to install a government-issued root certificate on all of their devices in order to continue accessing internet services.
However, when a user installs the certificate, they are choosing to trust a Certificate Authority (opens in new tab) (CA) that enables the government to intercept and decrypt network communications sent from their web browser (opens in new tab).
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If this sound familiar that is because ISPs in Kazakhstan tried the exact same thing last year and at the time, the Firefox maker said the move directly contradicts Principle 4 of the Mozilla Manifesto (opens in new tab) which states: “Individuals' security and privacy on the internet are fundamental and must not be treated as optional”.
Blocking Kazakhstan's root certificate
To protect the privacy of internet users in Kazakhstan, Mozilla, Apple, Google and Microsoft have all agreed to block the use of the government's root CA certificate in their respective browsers.
This means that the certificate will not be trusted by Firefox even if a user has it installed on their devices. When attempting to access a website that responds with the certificate, Firefox users will now see an error message stating that the certificate should not be trusted.
In a new blog post (opens in new tab) explaining its policy regarding the certificate, Mozilla urged users in Kazakhstan to look into VPN (opens in new tab) services or the Tor Browser (opens in new tab) to access the web without restrictions.
The company also encouraged users that have installed the government root certificate to remove it from their devices and to immediately change the passwords to their online accounts. This can easily be done by using Firefox's built-in password manager (opens in new tab).
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