Last week my friend Diederik wrote a blog titled “Twittering to End Dictatorship: Ensuring the Future of Web-based Social Movements” in which he expressed his concern that (Western) corporations might facilitate oppressive regimes in wiretapping and spying on their citizens.
Now it appears that his concerns have turned out to be true. As he points on more recently on his blog:
- The Wall Street Journal reports that Nokia and Siemens have supplied Iran with deep-inspection technologies to develop “one of the world’s most sophisticated mechanisms for controlling and censoring the Internet, allowing it to examine the content of individual online communications on a massive scale”. The Washington Post also reported this.
- Siemens has not just sold the “Intelligence Platform” to Iran, but to a total of 60 countries. Siemens calls it “lawful interception”, but in countries with oppressive regimes everything that the government does is lawful.
- The New York Times reports that China is requiring Internet censor software to be installed on all computers starting from July 1st.
Of course, being Nordic, the Nokia Siemens joint venture which developed and sold the monitoring centre to Iran has a strict code of ethics on their website that addresses issues of human rights, censorship and torture. In theory this should have guided their choice of selling equipment to Iran – obviously it has not.
So Diederik and his friends have started a petition to enable people voice their concern over the failure of Nokia Seimens to adhere to their own code of conduct by selling advanced technology to help the government of Iran to control its citizens. I hope it takes off…