Thursday, June 25, 2009

Iran/China Buy Technologies to Block Access

"The Wall Street Journal" has reported that European companies Siemens (Germany) and Nokia (Finland) have supplied the software for surveillance of telecommunications in Iran through a "joint venture" Nokia Siemens Network. Nokia confirmed the sale of its technology using "deep packet inspection" (DPI), which allows interception of all kinds of communications, such as emails, phone calls, images or messages posted on social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc). DPI is generally used to grade data on the Internet (sending an email on high priority for example).

China's MIIT on 8 June this year said that it had given companies operating there six weeks to fit their computers with new software - Green Dam Youth Escort - paid for by the government to protect "young people" from"harmful" content online. Since March it has been downloaded more than 3 million times, is apparently used in 2,279 schools and installed in some 518,000 computers. Chinese companies Lenovo, Inspur and Hedy have reportedly already installed the software on more than 52 million computers.

The Open Net Initiative says that the software "has an influence that goes well beyond the protection of young people: the filtering options include blocking political and religious content" (download the study in PDF on RSF's website). So far only Microsoft has shown concern about the effects on the free circulation of information as a result of installing this software.

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