The Wall Street Journal is reporting extensively on the sale of advanced web monitoring equipment to Iran by a joint venture of Germany’s Siemens and Finland’s Nokia.
Interviews with technology experts in Iran and outside the country say Iranian efforts at monitoring Internet information go well beyond blocking access to Web sites or severing Internet connections.
Instead, in confronting the political turmoil that has consumed the country this past week, the Iranian government appears to be engaging in a practice often called deep packet inspection, which enables authorities to not only block communication but to monitor it to gather information about individuals, as well as alter it for disinformation purposes, according to these experts.
Much of this technology comes from the joint venture, which now has blood on its hands. Siemens has “been there and done that” (profited from fascism) and should have known better, but it didn’t.
In any case, if you can construct advanced equipment of this nature, there’s a good chance you know how to jam or override it. The joint venture should provide this information as quickly as possible to people and organizations that can do something about this before it is used for even more nefarious purposes (when Iran gets the bomb). Other high technology companies should immediately desist from dealing with Iran. That includes General Electric, whose record on Iran is checkered at best. Technology companies who do not do this voluntarily should be boycotted. Due to Twitter, etc., this is probably happening already. A significant number of people – myself included – will not be thinking of Nokia for their next cell phone.
Giving advanced equipment to the mullahs is sort of like handing a loaded machine gun to Charles Manson.
UPDATE: Credit is due Eli Lake who was already reporting extensively on Siemens and Iran in an April edition of the Washington Times.
AND: Apparently Nokia constitutes 41.2% of the current smartphone market. I just bought an iPhone 3GS. I recommend it.