Mozilla, the creator of the Firefox web browser, has denied a request from a United Arab Emirates firm — accused of assisting that nation's global cyber espionage operations — to issue security certificates to websites without the supervision of a more trusted group.

Why it matters: Web certificates are a key part of encrypting traffic to and from websites. A malicious group issuing those certificates could snoop on data to the sites it serves.

Context: Jenna McLaughlin of the The Intercept along with Christopher Bing and Joel Schectman of Reuters wrote explosive reports about Dark Matter, the UAE outfit tied to cyber espionage.

  • As those reports were published, Mozilla was considering a request from Dark Matter to be included in Mozilla's list of root certificate authorities — which would give Dark Matter the ability issue certificates.

Details: Since the Reuters report in January, Mozilla has been accepting developer comments on whether it should stop trusting certificates issued to Dark Matter by root certificate authorities, known as intermediate certificates.

  • Ultimately Mozilla "made the decision to revoke trust in Dark Matter’s intermediate certificates and to deny the pending inclusion request," Mozilla said in a statement
  • "We are confident this is the right decision, but it was not made lightly," the statement continued.

Go deeper

21 mins ago - World

The 53 countries supporting China's crackdown on Hong Kong

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Rolex/Pool/Getty Images

China's foreign ministry and state media have declared victory after 53 countries joined a statement at the UN Human Rights Council supporting Beijing's new national security law for Hong Kong — compared to 27 who criticized the law.

The big picture: The list of 53 countries was not initially published along with the statement, but has been obtained by Axios. It is made up primarily of autocratic states, including North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Zimbabwe.

CO2 emissions may have peaked, but that's not enough

Reproduced from DNV GL; Chart: Axios Visuals

More analysts are making the case that COVID-19 could be an inflection point for oil use and carbon emissions, but it's hardly one that puts the world on a sustainable ecological path.

Driving the news: The risk advisory firm DNV GL, citing the pandemic's long-term effects on energy consumption, projects in a new analysis that global CO2 emissions "most likely" peaked in 2019.

U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs last month, while the unemployment rate dropped to 11.1% from 13.3% in May, according to government data released Thursday.

The state of play: While the labor market showed more signs of recovery when the government’s survey period ended in early June, the lag means that more recent developments, like the surge in coronavirus cases and resultant closures in some states, aren't captured in this data.