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.
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)
- Top Stories
- Unusual News
- Where is the Money Going?
- U.S. and the World
- Appointments and Resignations
- Latest News
- Scientists Denying Human-Caused Climate Change Fade from Existence…Except in the Media
- How the Obama Administration Charged 3 Pacifists with Violent Acts of Sabotage
- Worst Overcharging Hospital in U.S.
- Attorney Argues Georgia Should Ignore Federal Judge in California Because State Has Gay Marriage
- United States Trade Representative: Who Is Michael Froman?