UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

June 23, 2009

BIG FEDERAL CONTRACTORS HELPING IRAN SPY ON ITS CITIZENS

Washington Times - Two European companies - a major contractor to the U.S. government and a top cell-phone equipment maker - last year installed an electronic surveillance system for Iran that human rights advocates and intelligence experts say can help Iran target dissidents.

Nokia Siemens Networks, a joint venture between the Finnish cell-phone giant Nokia and German powerhouse Siemens, delivered what is known as a monitoring center to Irantelecom, Iran's state-owned telephone company.

A spokesman for NSN said the servers were sold for "lawful intercept functionality," a technical term used by the cell-phone industry to refer to law enforcement's ability to tap phones, read e-mails and surveil electronic data on communications networks. In Iran, a country that frequently jails dissidents and where regime opponents rely heavily on Web-based communication with the outside world, a monitoring center that can archive these intercepts could provide a valuable tool to intensify repression.

Since 2005, Siemens had done more than $900 million worth of business with the U.S. government and employs about 70,000 people in the United States. Nokia is one of the leading mobile handset providers in the United States.

A spokeswoman for Siemens AG, Elizabeth Cho, said that Siemens "retains only a non-controlling financial interest in NSN, with the day-to-day operations residing with Nokia." She added that Siemens has been "exiting out of the telecom business" throughout the last five years.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home