In a joint statement, Apple, Google, and Mozilla said they would block the Kazakhstan government’s root-certificate, which is designed to spy on its citizens.
According to many critics, in late July, citizens were forced to install a certificate that gave the government root access to the network traffic on their devices. In doing so, the government would be allowed to intercept and snoop on citizens’ browsing activity — primarily Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
But now, the browser makers are pushing back by taking steps to block the certificate.
“We will never tolerate any attempt, by any organization—government or otherwise—to compromise Chrome users’ data. We have implemented protections from this specific issue, and will always take action to secure our users around the world,” Parisa Tabriz, senior engineering director for Chrome, said in a statement.
Apple said it had also taken action to “ensure the certificate is not trusted by Safari, and our users are protected from this issue,” said a spokesperson.
Although the Kazakhstan government has since announced that move was part of what it is calling “system testing” and citizens can remove the certificate, and as use the internet as normal. Both Google and Mozilla said its measures would stop the data-intercepting certificate from working — even if it’s still installed.
Apple said, a block went into effect invisibly and no action is needed by users.