Nokia and Siemens provided surveillance tools used to bust Iranian activists


26 Responses to “Nokia and Siemens provided surveillance tools used to bust Iranian activists”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Similar situation with US hedge funds investing in Chinese surveillance, previously on bb.

    Thanks hannanik. The link to your full article didn’t come through in your post. Here it is: .

  2. rollerskater says:

    great little fact: Siemens backed the Nazis during WWII.

  3. SednaBoo says:

    #12 rollerskater:

    Siemens made the gas chambers and furnaces for the death camps as well.

  4. Anonymous says:

    they’ve trashed their names as bad as yahoo did with china. when will these companies realize helping tyrants massacre freedom fighters is the WORST PR there is!!!!

  5. Bade says:

    Allow me to point out some facts. Nokia Siemens make (in this case) mobile phone networks. A MANDATORY part of a mobile phone netowrk is the lawful intercept capabilities. They can identify where any mobile phone is that is using the network, record calls made by any mobile, record texts incoming and outgoing and record any data that the phone transmits. The capabilities of the lawful intercept boxes are finite, it cannot monitor every phonecall or data session (all SMS are stored unencrypted in the SMSC – never use a text for any reason, they are not safe and far more expensive than a phonecall). I have stood up in court in the UK explaining the boxes and how we know the data is accurate and this has lead directly to many convictions for illegal activities. It is simply a part of the price of using a mobile. The abuse of this power is the issue, not the existance of the network.

    The only way Nokia could avoid putting in such a box was not to sell the the network in the first place. That would mean no texts, no mobile tweets, no camraphone pictures of the horrors committed right now. I think a network is better than no network.

  6. hannanik says:

    Bade, this is NOT about the lawful intercept capabilities as such, but a separate surveillance system that archives & analyses all the data gathered THROUGH lawful interception. Nokia Siemens Networks admits as much.

    If you have time for a PDF, read their own promotional material. We’re talking about highly effective data mining: for example, possibly millions of phone calls monitored by speech recognition software that raises an alarm when it encounters certain keywords and patterns.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What company delivered the motorbikes the Basji are riding?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Siemens proved by the past that they know how to collaborate, I’m surprised about Nokia in this case.. but business is business and humanity is humanity. THe consummer will judge.

  9. hannanik says:

    Feel free to delete if this is too spammy. I’m plugging my own article.

    This morning, I interviewed Nokia Siemens Networks’ spokesperson Riitta MÃ¥rd.

    She refused to give any details about the surveillance system her company sold to Iran, even if the information could help protesters. “We do not release this information about our clients.”

    A moment ago, NSN sent out a press release with some of the information that MÃ¥rd refused to give me earlier. They’re claiming that they only sold voice monitoring of local calls, no surveillance of the Internet or of international calls. I have no idea how reliable this information is, but I’m glad to see that there’s public pressure about this, and that it’s making the company react.

    Other highlights of the interview:

    How did you take Iran’s political situation into consideration when negotiating this deal?

    “Extraordinary circumstances like the ones in Iran right now cannot be predicted – it can happen anywhere.”

    But it hasn’t exactly been a surprise. The fact that the government keeps a close watch on the opposition has been well known for years.

    “We don’t set conditions like this to our clients. Companies can’t act like that, alone. And after all we’re talking about a system that was designed to increase people’s own safety.”

    How was [NSN's corporate responsibility] policy reflected in the deal with Iran?

    “We do indeed have a strict ethical code for our business partners, and we’ve been very actively making sure that your suppliers don’t use, for example, child labour. We use this code to choose who we buy from.”

    But not who you sell to?

    “In Iran’s case, there was no such impediment.”

  10. cholten99 says:


    As a fellow ORG member I’m appalled if this is true but as an employee of Nokia I’m fairly sure it’s not (or at least not as it is drafted). Well, if it is then we (Nokia employees) should be raising hell about it internally.

    If you’re about in London and would like me to find someone here you can speak to in person about it I’ll do my best…

  11. BadStoryDan says:

    AFAIC, ‘Surveillance’ and ‘Data Mining’ are two totally different tasks. Surveillance is concerned with eavesdropping on a known target’s calls or other communications. This, OTOH, is eavesdropping on EVERYONE and seeing what you can find. Not OK.

  12. mdh says:

    With any luck this will prove that all the surveillance in the world won’t snuff liberty.

    Alternately, it’s beta testing.

  13. The Jones Ultimatum says:

    BURN your Nokia.
    Liberate yourself.

  14. hannanik says:

    Argh. Link missing from my original post. Here goes:

    Nokia connects – now in Iran

  15. Anonymous says:

    rot in hell NOKIA

  16. Anonymous says:

    boycott Nokia-Siemens technologies

  17. Takuan says:

    if they made it, they know the vulnerabilities and work arounds. Well?

  18. Nword says:


    When did people start expecting large multinational companies to act in ethical or political manners?

    These companies sell a tool, which will make them money. As long as the tool they’re selling has legitimate uses (and it does), it’s kinda hard to blame them for doing what business does best.

  19. Bloodboiler says:

    Germans (Siemens) claiming they were just following orders? That sounds familiar.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Is there software that would allow Iranian citizens to thwart this deep-packet data mining through a re-configuration as to how the data is put together? If this software was to be open-sourced and if the information as to its availability was circulated, it might prevent deaths and imprisonment.

    Jeff Newman

  21. Bade says:

    Intersting PDF Hannanik, it seems like a commercialised version of ECHELON for countries who are not in the US/UK/AUS intelligence gathering alliance. I do think data mining is a bad thing, but nearly everything has been monitored for decades. It is the use and abuse of that info that is heinous.

  22. Intersection says:

    nword… You are right, corporations mostly have no souls and they are mainly just trying to make money. But, we as citizens and consumers often do have souls and we every day we make decisions with our spending and investments. It is up to regular people to raise hell as users of a company’s goods. This is how we keep companies honest and provide them with the concience that our economic system doesn’t provide itself.

  23. hershmire says:

    Isn’t there a US law that forbids US companies* from doing business with Iran since the US have official sanctions against them? Shouldn’t the US just tell Siemens & Nokia they can’t do business within its borders if they want to sell surveillance technology to Iran?

    *Yes, I know they aren’t US companies, but they have US subsidiaries.

  24. Anonymous says:

    How else would the USA get their intelligence if Nokia/Siemens don’t give it to them (via their subsidiaries)?
    The USA has asked the Australians to intercept domestic US telephone conversations for them, something they themselves are not lawfully allowed to do. They have asked the Turks and Estonians to torture suspects for them, because, oh wait, they did do some of it themselves…

  25. Anonymous says:

    That’s what you get when corporatism gets out of control; many of us warned about that and got labeled as commies.
    Surprise! If you don’t put limits to the power of corporations you get something that’s nearly identical to extreme communism in the way common people is getting screwed from those in power.

    The economic world follows rules that don’t take into account the rights of people because the economic world is a system where the dominant creature is the corporation, not the human being, as people couldn’t care less about ants in the normal world.
    In this context, one could state that there’s no such thing as democracy in any “western” developed country because economic development requires being strongly integrated into that corrupt system.

  26. Anonymous says:

    these f’ing multinationals – it is the same as selling gas to the Nazis or machetes to the Hutu govt in Rwanda in 1994 and saying “well we sold it for lawful means, and if committing genocide is lawful in those countries it is not our fault.”

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