Home News Siemens and Nokia Helped Iran Dictatorship with Web Spying
Siemens and Nokia Helped Iran Dictatorship with Web Spying Print E-mail

 

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

 

When the government of Iran bought a new mobile phone network last year from two European telecommunications giants, it got a great two-for-one deal: expanded Internet and wireless coverage for its citizens…and the capability to spy on them.

As part of the communications system sold in 2008 by Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture of Siemens AG, the German conglomerate, and Nokia Corp., the Finnish cell phone company, Iran purchased a “monitoring center” that allows government snoops to perform what’s known as deep packet inspection—which gives authorities the power to do everything from blocking communications to gathering information about users.
This spying capability was only used sporadically this year—until the recent unrest that followed the contested presidential election. Security experts say Tehran has been “drilling” into what Iranians are saying and sharing via the Nokia Siemens Networks, and the government is even outdoing the likes of  China, which is infamous for its attempts to control Internet usage by its citizenry. Whereas Chinese officials have spied through a decentralized process involving multiple Internet service providers, Iranian spies have centralized their snooping through a single center, the one provided by Nokia Siemens.
Company representatives say all they did in providing the network was give Iranians the ability to communicate. But in its own brochure, Nokia Siemens prides itself in allowing “the monitoring and interception of all types of voice and data communication on all networks.” Since doing business with Tehran, the joint venture has sold off its “intelligence solutions” division to Perusa Partners Fund 1 LP, a Munich-based investment firm
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology (by Christopher Rhoads and Loretta Chao, Wall Street Journal)
Hi-tech Helps Iranian Monitoring (by Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC News)
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