Siemens and Nokia Helped Iran Dictatorship with Web Spying

Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Internet cafe in Tehran

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)
See all 12 comments


Mona 13 years ago
Shame on you Nokia, we will never buy your products.
Mike 14 years ago
Shame on Nokia and Siemens.
firefly 14 years ago
NOKIA-SIEMENS Thanks helping Islamic regime to put IRANIANS in jail & kill them...Iranians never forgive you. Be sure!
maikel 14 years ago
Siemens helps dictatorships Nokia helps dictatorships SHAME! leechs leechs leechs leechs leechs leechs leechs leechs leechs leechs leechs leechs leechs leechs leechs leechs leechs
reza 14 years ago
shame on you to sell iranian people's freedom against money.shame shame shame on you.
amir 14 years ago
Nokia-Siemens joint venture has traited iranians by providing the Islamic murderer regime spying capability.We will not forget and forgive them. They are now sharing murder,torture and putting in jail the iranians.
azar 14 years ago
money money money, how sweet is it ?, and this time at what cost? Nokia enjoy the BLOODY Iranian money for now. WE SHALL NOT FORGET THIS.
mahdi 14 years ago
by by Nokia, by by Siemens
Bijan Baba Koohi 14 years ago
Go to hell Nokia and Siemens. No friends of Iranian people will ever buy any of your damned products.
green wave in iran 14 years ago
death to Nokia Ziemens.Iranian people have stoped buying the mobile phones.

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