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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Past Fervor Over Child Pornography may be Culprit if Iran Protests Fail

(photo (c) The Telegraph, UK)

It may sound like a grand leap, but it's really not. Here's why:

Last year, European telecom partners Nokia Group and Siemens AG, of Finland and Germany, respectively, sold the government in Tehran sophisticated Internet-traffic surveillance and control (and manipulation) equipment under the auspices of helping it combat child pornography.

Who's going to argue with that?

Trouble is, now the European systems are being used to block information from entering and exiting the country, and thereby supporting Pres. Mahmoud Ahmadenijad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.

In fact, as reported in the
Wall Street Journal, thanks to Nokia's and Siemens' multi-million-dollar contract to help Tehran protect its citizenry against kiddie-porn, Iran's Internet control-and-capture system can even intercept, read, and alter (for disinformation and other purposes) anyone's (and presumably everyone's) Facebook updates, blogs, and twitter postings as they go out into cyberspace, then neatly pack the data back up and send them on their way--all within a nano-second.

That's the reason for the parenthetic use of the word "manipulation" in one of the paragraphs above. That capability is why some experts are saying Iran's Nokia-Siemens technology puts China's much ballyhooed Great-Firewall-of-China censoring program to shame as an Internet quashing instrument.

By the way, check out this paragraph from Nokia's Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) 20-F filing, and note the acknowledgment of U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Of course, Nokia is a Finninsh firm, and is therefore not bound to adhere to U.S. sanctions. But at least (thanks to Franklin Roosevelt's 1934 financial regulations regime) because it does business in the United States and sells stock here, the company had to go on record acknowledging that the United States considers the Iranian government to be a sponsor of terrorism.

In Nokia's own words, from its SEC filing...

" Sales in sanctioned countries—Devices & Services,

NAVTEQ and Nokia Siemens Networks

...We are a global company and have sales in most countries of the world. We sold mobile devices and services through Devices & Services and network equipment through Nokia Siemens Networks to customers in Iran, Sudan and Syria in 2008. NAVTEQ did not have any sales to customers in these countries from the completion of our acquisition of NAVTEQ on July 10, 2008 to December 31, 2008. Our aggregate sales to customers in these countries in 2008 accounted for approximately 1.6% of Nokia’s total net sales, or EUR 791 million. Iran, Sudan and Syria are subject to US economic sanctions that are primarily designed to implement US foreign policy and the US government has designated these countries as 'state sponsors of terrorism.'" (Nokia's full 20-f filing is here)
A final Thought:

When multinational companies and governments team up to protect the public from pictures of child abuse, it's always good to examine the companies' quest for profits, and the governments' drive to stay in power, and ask what the respective parties' real motivations are, and what unintended outcomes might arise.

Consider too, when dictators win, every child is an abuse victim...and so are their parents.


Anonymous said...

This is happening in Germany as well. This is what the European Pirate Parties are fighting.

or in English:

John Wolf said...

Hey dude. John Wolf here. Love the blog!

Let's link to eachother: