How it is bad to sell advanced technology to dictators. How Nokia technology helps Al - Assad finds dissidents


Friday, 05 August 2011
That Nokia Siemens surveillance technology is being used in the bloody hunt for Syrian dissidents is highly likely. This is according to experts, pointing to the close ties between Syria and Iran, where the technology was last sold Iran.

Today, when the Syrian people will be coming out of mosques after Friday prayers, they’ll be looking on their cell phones to see where the demonstrations will take place. These calls and text messages are monitored by the regime through technology, including that sold by Nokia-Siemens.

“Nokia Siemens did not want to say anything as to if they have sold surveillance systems to Syria, or if the technology ended up in the regime's hands in a roundabout way, most probably via Iran,” says Hanna Nikkanen , author of The innocent empire - three reports of the Finnish corporate responsibility (Viaton imperiumi - Kolme kertomusta suomalaisesta yritysvastuusta).

There are several indications that the Iranian secret service and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are in place in Syria to help the government quell the uprising. The brutal repression carried out under the leadership of the paramilitary Basij organization, which made its name when in civilian clothes attacked, shot and kidnapped Iranians during the uprising in 2009 in Teheran.
Similar scenes appear on YouTube clips from cities around Syria.

EU and U.S. have imposed sanctions against the leadership of these groups, as well as against top Syrian military responsible for the carnage. Iran, according to Huffington Post has given Syria a lifeline of the $5.6 billion just in case a collapse of the banking system was to happen, or if management would get short of foreign currency after an oil embargo.


There is also information in the media reporting on the Middle East that Iran has constructed an advanced Nokia Siemens system in Syria to jam the internet and monitor and identify activists who use social media.

It's the same system that was sold to Iran in 2008, and that created controversy when it was used against Iranian dissidents.

“We have said that we regret the sale of the advanced surveillance systems that were sold to Iran,” says Riitta Mard of Nokia's communications department.

Although it would be easy to refute the allegations of Nokia Siemens technology in al-Assad's control, it is difficult to get any information, when Nokia refers to proprietary information and confidentiality practices.

“We do not want to answer any questions about other companies' operations,” says Marten.
Nokia-Siemens has now transferred the business to a new separate company, Trovicore, and says they do not like to answer any questions regarding the monitoring technology.

An anonymous source in the telecommunications industry in Syria told finish newspaper that in addition to international companies such as Nokia Siemens and Ericsson, Chinese Huawei is very active in the Syrian market. He believes that it is the Chinese regime that caters to the more advanced surveillance systems, while Europeans are more focused on conventional telephone traffic.

Nokia-Siemens and other operators selling phone systems where you can make the "lawful interception", which means that police and authorities can eavesdrop on conversations, according to reports.

The thought now is that there is a large gap between what works on the European market with their long tradition of democracy and transparency, and how the regimes in the Middle East use the same technology.

Authorities believe that the issue should be discussed at political level: on how the regulation of exports should be introduced so that dictatorships can not use interception to capture political opponents.
By Team

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