Today I will discuss with you about the news that I was very impressed regarding the sale of a internet traffic monitoring system sold by an Israeli company to the Iranian government. The sold system is the “NetEnforcer” and was sold through the intermediary of a Danish company RanTek A / S.
NetEnforcer bandwidth management devices provide the granular visibility and policy enforcement that network operators need to optimize the delivery, performance and profitability of WAN and broadband services. NetEnforcer devices are deployed in thousands of installations the world over, where they monitor, identify, classify, prioritize, and shape, network traffic per application and per user. But we know Israeli ban this king to commercial busisess with the government in Tehran. According to news agency Bloomberg, the company Allot Communications Ltd. Hod-Hasharon-based would be successful in sales, shipping the goods to RanTek A / S for transit, that after removing the original labels would in turn sent to Iran .
But why would the system was purchased? According to some former employees of Allot, Bloomberg source, the system is in use to monitor internet traffic to intercept any kind of communication, from email to SMS, and the second needs to edit the contents of expressing dissent. The purpose is to identify dissidents and Internet users allow their arrest.
“Such technologies have been used to trace and torturing dissidents in countries like Iran, Bahrain, Syria and Tunisia,” recalls Bloomberg but without specifying who has purchased the product in Iran. The Allot declares itself alien to each other freed from any liability, arguing that the sale is one of many made to its distributors. Executive Director of the Allot company Rami Hadar, has declared that its systems would not be “designated for intrusive surveillance purposes,” but for “the optimization of Internet traffic.”
The authorities in Copenhagen would be in possession of evidence of transactions with Iran, creating irritation to the Israeli Minister of Defense decided to launch an investigation into the facts.
Unfortunately, I can not hold me surprised by events like this, which shows how the business can be greedy dirt.
This events are not isolated, consider for example what is happened in Syria during the repression. Let’s remember that case of Blue Coat Systems Inc., a Sunnyvale, California-based maker of Web security and filtering products that have been used for filterning operations like discovered by Telecomix, a group that fight for online freedom and that has uncovered computer logs that showed the Blue Coat Systems’s devices being used in Syria to filter Internet sites.
Again, in Bahrain, authorities used European equipment to intercept phone calls and text messages of activists, who were confronted with details of their communications while being arrested and tortured. Amid Syria’s uprising, construction moved forward on a $17 million Internet surveillance system built with U.S., French, German and Italian technology.
Personally, I add a further element of analysis that comes from my experience in the field. Appliances are ideal for many different uses and then it is not correct incriminate the producers for a sale, could be a serious mistake.
Crucial is in fact the step of customization of software distributions installed in to the devices. The real problem is to understand how much support give the companies during the tuning and deployment of these systems to the hostile populations. We will soon arrive at the paradoxical decision to apply or not a technological embargo because the total flexibility of these appliances allows the execution of a wide range of operations, including network monitoring.
Which are the dimension of this dirty growing business? It has been estimated that the sales are at $3 billion to $5 billion, that is the price that we are giving to human dignity, all over the world, from Middle East to North Africa
It matters little if at stake there are human victims, but at this point is questionable whether or not to tolerate such attitudes of some companies that can avoid control and the international laws using what I define squalid scams to elude technological embargoes.
Do not entering into the merits of the single event, but considering the damages caused by those Western companies that make profit with governments officially considered hostiles.
Many murderous regimes are using Western technologies for surveillance purpose demonstrating that current legislative framework for controlling this dirty trade is not working.
What have we expect in the next future? We urgently need an official regulation of this trade, instructing severe penalties for those who do not comply with regulations. The European Union already restricted sales of the technology to Syria after Bloomberg News exposed the project in that country.
I hope that Western Governments will fight this massive spy operation and will be more active to guarantee internet freedom and defending human rights … but I’m convinct that this is utopia.