Iran’s Internet Censoring Technology Developed by European Companies

Monday, June 22, 2009

carte-web-en

While the U.S. may not be meddling in the internal affairs of Iran but that hasn’t prevented Europe from showing similar restraint.

The Iran government has developed — with the assistance of European telecommunications companies, one of the world’s most sophisticated systems for controlling and censoring the Internet, allowing it to examine the content of individual online communications on a massive scale.

Interviews with technology experts inside Iran and outside the country say Iranian efforts at monitoring Internet information go well beyond blocking access to Web sites or severing Internet connections.

The monitoring capability was provided, at least in part, by a joint venture of Siemens AG, the German conglomerate, and Nokia Corp., a Finnish cellphone company, in the second half of 2008, says Ben Roome, a spokesman for the joint venture. The “monitoring center,” installed within the government’s telecom monopoly, was part of a larger contract with Iran that included mobile-phone networking technology, Mr. Roome said.

Deep packet inspection involves inserting equipment into a flow of online data, from emails and Internet phone calls to images and messages on social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Every digitized packet of online data is deconstructed, examined for keywords and reconstructed within milliseconds. In Iran’s case, this is done for the entire country at a single choke point, according to networking engineers familiar with the country’s system. It couldn’t be determined whether the equipment from Nokia Siemens Networks is used specifically for deep packet inspection.

Iran is “now drilling into what the population is trying to say,” said Bradley Anstis, director of technical strategy with Marshal8e6 Inc., an Internet security company in Orange, Calif. He and other experts interviewed have examined Internet traffic flows in and out of Iran that show characteristics of content inspection, among other measures. “This looks like a step beyond what any other country is doing, including China.”

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6 Responses to Iran’s Internet Censoring Technology Developed by European Companies

  1. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    Any American who holds stock in Siemens or Nokia is tacitly aiding and abetting oppression of the Iranian people.

    If you’re one of those Americans, think about divesting yourself of this stock.

  2. retahyajyajav says:

    Iran is the 5th largest oil producer on earth.

    This gives them serious coin to purchase whatever technology they need to oppress their people and control the flow of information into and out of the country.

    Too bad Siemens and Nokia don’t say enough and refuse to sell the regime anymore internet blocking technology. The shareholders should pressure them to do precisely this.

  3. DMason says:

    I think retahyajyajav is correct. The shareholders should pressure Siemens and Nokia but, a problem here is the number of mutual funds who include these firms in their cafeteria of companies. My guess is, most Americans don’t even know they own shares in Siemens and Nokia.

  4. Fran says:

    Oh hell- our own country still has warrentless wiretapping going on. Governments run roughshod over our civil rights & there is not a whole lot we can do about it. It is still happening with the *Change we can believe in* administration at the helm. Also the US has a military surge going on in Afghanistan, 18 US soldiers have died there this month.
    Are you hearing anything about the surge in Afghanistan on the news???
    Governments manipulate the media, and ours is equally guilty, they just use different methods.

    Despite the media back out, people did still transmit images and video.

    As one blogger put it:

    The revolution will be broadcast on you tube.

    I heard a report that madman Ahmadinejad was saying that “Terrorist cells” have been planted amongst the protestors- that this is about him responding to terrorists in Iran.

  5. libhomo says:

    Every dictatorship has deals with sleazy corporations. It reminds me of how Prescott Bush and his Wall St. buddies kept trying to do business with Hitler after WWII started.

  6. sandraraven says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

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