French software firm selling 'gay-detecting' spyware faces backlash

Fireworld is met by wirespread criticisms for its software that can detect gay sons.

French software company Fireworld is facing a widespread disapproval from the public after it introduced a computer surveillance software that would allow parents to detect if their son is gay or not. The company later admitted its mistake, saying that the articles they published to launch the monitoring tool are for search engine optimisation purposes.

In two articles published on its website recently, which are now deleted, Fireworld has described the spyware to help "determine whether or not your son is gay". By installing it, parents will have remote access to their son's computer and control it, take screenshots, see real-time activities and log keystrokes.

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"Family is fundamental. That's why the sexual orientation of your children, directly responsible for the continuation of your family, is very important to you", states one of the articles.

One of the monitoring tool's functionalities allows parents to steal passwords to grant them access to gay websites or private messages on social media networks, including Facebook, to know if their son has been in contact with other gay boys. The company even further detailed some tell-tale signs to know whether a boy is gay or not like he might be more interested in theatre than football.

Paris-based LGBTQ rights group L'Amicale des jeunes du Refuge was quick to pick the article and shared them on Twitter which was then retweeted by French secretary of state for equality Marlène Schiappa.

"Homophobia and sexism have their roots in the same gender stereotypes", writes Schiappa in French.

The LGBTQ community and supporters have not let this controversy pass. On Twitter, some of them express their sentiments over Fireworld's insensitive action.

Fireworld has immediately issued an apology and admitted the mistake it committed.

"We apologise to users who could have felt affected or hurt by this", says Fireworld in a statement. "These two articles had the sole aim of improving internet SEO [search engine optimisation] on Google and were not intended to be read by humans".

Fireworld went on to say, "As human beings, we make our mistakes and once again the point here was not in any way to adversely affect anybody. Again, we offer our most sincere apologies to all those who could have felt themselves hurt by this content".