Western companies sold phone spy equipment to Iran

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
For about a year now, political dissidents in Iran have suspected that the Iranian government’s ability to spy on private communications has intensified, covering for the first time cell phone and instant messaging exchanges. Last Monday it emerged that two European telecommunications hardware manufacturers are actually behind the Iranian government’s increased surveillance capabilities. The Wall Street Journal reports that Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) sold Iran Telecom –Iran’s government-owned telecommunications provider– a sophisticated surveillance system, in the summer of 2008. NSN is an engineering partnership between Finland’s Nokia Corporation and German hardware manufacturer Siemens AG, Europe’s largest engineering firm. Siemens AG has several contracts with the US government, says The Wall Street Jounral, which also quotes NSN spokesperson Ben Roome, who insists the surveillance system was sold to Iran in order to facilitate “lawful intercepts” by Iranian authorities. Interestingly, the NSN sale of surveillance hardware to Iran appears to be perfectly legal, as there are “virtually no restrictions on the export [to Iran] of high-tech equipment [by Western firms] that can be used to monitor or control free expression”.

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About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

2 Responses to Western companies sold phone spy equipment to Iran

  1. navid says:

    what a shame !! (to both parties of this business)

  2. Anonymous says:

    At this point, what distinction can be made between the Iranian, British, or U.S. Governments in regard to this issue?

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