During the spring of 2009, the Washington Times broke a story saying that Nokia sold software to the Iranian government to enable them to listen to and monitor mobile phone calls and text messages in Iran as well as any mobile internet usage.
These technologies were important organizing tools in the days after the disputed election (the Iranian Internet was essentially cut off completely from the world after the election, and only restored on a piecemeal basis as new blocking capabilities were brought online). Combined with the Iranian regime's eventual decision to simply block sites like Facebook and Twitter wholesale at the border, many of the decentralized organizing tools were dismantled or made risky to use. In Iran, a country that frequently jails dissidents and where regime opponents rely heavily on Web-based communication with the outside world, a monitoring center that can archive these intercepts could provide a valuable tool to intensify repression. (Washington Times 04/13/2009.)
Promotional literature says Nokia Siemens monitoring center's "modular architecture allows the monitoring and interception of all types of voice and data communication in all networks, i.e. fixed, mobile, Next Generation Network (NGN) and the Internet. The MC's [monitoring center's] unified view-concept greatly facilitates investigative work and opens completely new and efficient ways to pursue leads."
The stories of the Iranian government spying on its citizens are numerous. The information acquired by them has been misused and many have been seriously harassed and unreasonably jailed without due process; many have been mistreated while in custody. Some have died in custody.
Finnish Journalist Hanna Nikkanen quotes Nokia's Lauri Kivinen saying that "there's been this perception internationally that we've supplied them [Iran] with internet surveillance equipment, but this is not true." The statement was made on February 20, 2010, but Nikkanen obtained leaked manuals to the equipment in question and concluded, " The surveillance made possible by the Nokia Lawful Interception Gateway (LIG) extends to mobile internet usage. Either Kivinen was lying or his knowledge of his company's core competence field isn't quite adequate."
Nokia's explanations also did not stack up with European leaders. On the 3rd February 2010 a European Parliament Public Resolution (B7-0079/2010) said of Nokia Siemens:
"[The European Parliament] Strongly criticises international companies, in particular Nokia Siemens, for providing the Iranian authorities with the necessary censorship and surveillance technology, thus being instrumental in the persecution and arrest of Iranian dissidents."
The European Parliament even called on the European Commission to immediately ban surveillance tech exports to Iran and other countries where the gear "could be instrumental in the violation of human rights."
Others have also strongly criticized Nokia for breaching corporate ethics and seemingly placing money above people's lives. Many Iranians have already started to boycott Nokia products and further action is planned.
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Thank you very much,
The Reverse The Wave Team