Western hi-tech helps Iranian regime monitor and censor dissent
Ironically, the technology used to filter out child porn and other inappropriate content is used by totalitarian regimes to censor dissent and keep an eye on dissidents. It’s a shame that “intelligence solutions” for the Iranian oppressive regime are readily provided by the West.
Iran’s Web Spying Aided By Western Technology by Christopher Rhoads and Loretta Chao (WSJ)
The Iranian regime has developed, with the assistance of European telecommunications companies, one of the world’s most sophisticated mechanisms for controlling and censoring the Internet, allowing it to examine the content of individual online communications on a massive scale.
… in confronting the political turmoil that has consumed the country this past week, the Iranian government appears to be engaging in a practice often called deep packet inspection, which enables authorities to not only block communication but to monitor it to gather information about individuals, as well as alter it for disinformation purposes, according to these experts.
The monitoring capability was provided, at least in part, by a joint venture of Siemens AG, the German conglomerate, and Nokia Corp., the Finnish cellphone company, in the second half of 2008, Ben Roome, a spokesman for the joint venture, confirmed.
All eyes have been on the Internet amid the crisis in Iran, and government attempts to crack down on information. The infiltration of Iranian online traffic could explain why the government has allowed the Internet to continue to function — and also why it has been running at such slow speeds in the days since the results of the presidential vote spurred unrest.
In the 2005 presidential election, the government shut down the Internet for hours, blaming it on a cyberattack from abroad, a claim that proved false, according to several Tehran engineers.
Nokia Siemens Networks provided equipment to Iran last year under the internationally recognized concept of “lawful intercept,” said Mr. Roome. That relates to intercepting data for the purposes of combating terrorism, child pornography, drug trafficking and other criminal activities carried out online, a capability that most if not all telecom companies have, he said.
The monitoring center that Nokia Siemens Networks sold to Iran was described in a company brochure as allowing “the monitoring and interception of all types of voice and data communication on all networks.” The joint venture exited the business that included the monitoring equipment, what it called “intelligence solutions,” at the end of March, by selling it to Perusa Partners Fund 1 LP…
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