A software company is selling computer keylogging tools to parents to ‘out’ their teenage children.
The outrage comes from French company Fireworld, which sells malware to parents to snoop on their kids’ computers without their knowledge.
The company published an article on its website to sell its spy tool, encouraging parents to use it to find out if their kids are gay.
It says: “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.”
It claims that the tools “will help you determine whether or not your son is gay” because many children “prefer to be discreet on the subject”
The company offers to install a “special program on your son’s computer” that will secretly monitor web activity and log keystrokes, capturing his passwords.
It directs parents who have installed the tools to check whether their children have visited “gay forums”, as well as hacking into their social media accounts and rifling through their messages to find any “sent to other gay boys”.
It adds: “If you managed to hack his Facebook account, it would be just a matter of minutes to determine whether or not your son is gay.
“You will perhaps never be grandparent and you won’t have the happiness to know your grandson.”
The piece, which used a picture of gay actor Colton Haynes, explains other ‘clues’ that a boy might be gay including an interest in theatre instead of football, an earring in his right ear, and a fashionable look.
The article does encourage parents to “accept” their gay children…”as he does not wear dresses and lipstick”.
LGBT charities have slammed the outrageous invasion of privacy. The illicit use of such tools is often considered cyber crime.
In a statement, Fireworld said: “We apologise to users who could have felt affected or hurt by this.
“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.
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“Know that we regret not having reflected on the consequences of this type of content, and that we have immediately withdrawn it.
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.”
A separate statement claimed they had been produced by an “outside company”.
The article has been deleted – but the company’s English-language website continues to flog tools to help parents snoop on their kids without references to sexuality.
It now says: “Computers are one of the most common ways to access the Internet, search engines, social networks, news and more. But do you really know what [your children] are actually doing?
“Would you like to install a PC spy software program to keep tracks on him/her, and discover what he/she is really doing on his/her computer? Using Fireworld; you can discretely spy on his/her computer, however far away you are.”
It also continues to offer the tools to people who suspect their partner is cheating.
To do so would likely be considered a crime in the UK.