Torture of dissidents in Bahrain enabled by Nokia Siemens, charges Bloomberg report

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20 Responses to “Torture of dissidents in Bahrain enabled by Nokia Siemens, charges Bloomberg report”

  1. How can you blame a systems manufacturer for adhering to local government requirements? Without adding interfaces for law enforcement access, NSN wouldn’t be able to sell equipment to Germany, the UK and other “more civilized” countries either. And the same requirements applies to any systems manufacturers, be it Huawei, Sony Ericsson or whoever.

    It’s really the same interfaces that you are now heavily complaining about in the Bahrain case. You can’t require tools to have certain features and then blame the tools maker if someone abuses these features.

    This stuff wasn’t developed for Bahrain, it was developed to satisfy your own government’s need to spy on criminals and terrorists. Think about it.

    • Palomino says:

      And if there was a story of how a planned massacre of innocent school children was averted because of the text messages gleaned by this program, it probably never would have been reported. 

      ALL surveillance equipment and programs can be misused. From binoculars to spy planes. I hate to say this, but it’s the user, not the program or device. Sure, we could lock it all up like bingo daubers. 

      HOWEVER, I would be interested in who requested this type of program to be researched and developed. Usually, this is a bid for contract type product, like fighter jets. 

      FINALLY, any smart person, either a mass murder or human rights citizen, would assume these text’s are not private. There already exists a vast network of disposable phones and secret codes sent by text. Not a smart move on his part. Just because the information or goal he has is 100% moral, true and right doesn’t mean it’s even close to 1% moral, true and right for others. Therefor, even truth and good information may need to be delivered subversively. 

      Re-read the entire story, but replace this new high-tech software/hardware with a homing pigeon and falcon.

      “It was amazing,” he says of the messages they obtained. “How did they know about these?”  It seems that I purchased an American how-to-book on  training homing pigeons and they purchased an American how-to book on falconry and they trained their falcon to intercept my pigeon.

      • cat says:

        Without secrecy, there is no free world. If all communications are open to secret police, then opposition is always impossible. 

        Recall that before the last Royal Wedding, the cops “pre-arrested” those they identified would be trouble – I assume from watching their communications. Now “pre-arrest” is always possible. What’s next?

        If such technology existed in 1775, there would have been no American Revolution.

        • Pete Harbeson says:

          The next american revolution will just have to be a bit more clever, it seems.

        • wygit says:

          I think it’s only recently that people expect to be able to communicate, in the clear (as in unencrypted), over a public communications system, without an authority being able to eavesdrop.

          Heck, Julius Caesar used ciphers. So did his enemies.

    • cat says:

      I can blame them. That was the whole point to take away from WWII. The corporations that bond to the governments are as guilty when their toys kill and maim people. If you don’t want the blame, don’t enable spy software – and don’t do business with the government of that country. If you make less money, so be it. Money is NOT all.

      Some company made the camps for the Reich, you know. 

      That’s the point we keep making about corporations – unlimited power, but *no responsibility for their actions*. And yes, being government licensed creatures, they are beholden to more than profits – they are beholden to the people who permit them to exist. We are their bosses, not the other way around.

    • Jimbo says:

      They didn’t just sell the equipment; NSN *still* provides technical and back-end support to Bahrain for the surveillance equipment, as the article also pointed out.

  2. Palomino says:

    http://www.nokiasiemensnetworks.com/about-us/sustainability/ethics-and-human-rights

    We carry out due diligence to help ensure that the communications technologies we provide are used to respect, and not infringe, human rights. Our aim is to be a privacy-aware company that adheres to strict standards and is committed to providing solutions that help our customers better protect consumer privacy. Read more about our approach in our Sustainability Report.

  3. wygit says:

    I could see saying “Surveillance enabled by Seimans”, but how exactly was thw software used to assist in the torture?

    When I see something like “Computers loaded with Western-made surveillance software generated the transcripts wielded in the interrogations ” I’m wondering if the bad guys rolled up the transcripts and struck the dissidents?

    Is this surveillance software anything every other government in the world isn’t using? Are the communication companies only supposed to sell the software for GOOD surveillance?

  4. geekandwife says:

    If only they had used pseudonyms…

  5. 96mouchoirs says:

    let’s talk about IBM and the holocaust…

  6. Takashi Omoto says:

    I have yet to be proven that this “monitoring software” Nokia Siemens sells is anything more than the bog-standard implementation of CALEA, found in the management console of any network operator in the US since 1994:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_Assistance_for_Law_Enforcement_Act

    • tobergill says:

      Agreed. The Feds – and any other law enforcement agency -  can monitor your voice text and data communications, and  all service providers are required to give them the access. In my experience it is not easy for them to obtain the necessary warrants though. Good oversight is the key to curbing abuse of this kind of thing.

  7. sisyphus321 says:

    So … NSN should do what? Surveillance products are a matter of regulatory compliance, the same as frequency stability or out-of-band emissions performance. Are you suggesting that NSN should cease operations? If so, I hope you also advocate that all manufacture of rubber hose should also cease, due to the possibility that their products could be useful to those who would violate human rights.

  8. donovan acree says:

    I can see peoples point when they say “this is the same software we use in country X so what’s the big deal?”.
    I think the big deal is that in this case it is being used to facilitate human rights violations. And of course, NSN were not required to sell Bahrain anything. Also, from reading these articles, it sounds as if NSN was aware of the human rights issues and divested themselves from the Bahrain operation. They knew it was wrong but only acted after the fact.

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