Wall Street Journal says Siemens-Nokia helps Iran tap Internet users: exaggeration?

According to the Wall Street Journal, a joint venture between mobile phone companies Nokia and Siemens built a "monitoring centre" within the Iranian government’s telecom monopoly enabling authorities to inspect and intercept Web traffic.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article reported that Nokia-Siemens' system uses "deep packet inspection" technology, which allows cyberpolice to open packets of information sent online to censor or supervise Web users. The respected US broadsheet quoted a Nokia-Siemens spokesman as confirming that the company provided this technology, adding that "if you sell networks, you also, intrinsically, sell the capability to intercept any communication that runs over them".

The Wall Street Journal article was cited by dozens of US media outlets, and has begun making waves on social networking websites. Several groups on Facebook have begun calling for a Nokia and Siemens product boycott.

FRANCE 24 contacted Ben Roome, the spokesperson of the joint venture also reached by WSJ. He categorically denies that his company provided Iran with any type of technology enabling authorities to intercept or filter Internet content. According to Roome, Nokia-Siemens sold Iran a system which solely provides the capability to conduct voice monitoring of local calls on its fixed and mobile network. However, Roome remained evasive when asked whether Nokia's technology enabled Iran to intercept and block SMS messages.

The sale of a phone-tapping technology to Iran by Nokia and Siemens is therefore confirmed. It doesn't seem, however, that the European companies participated in the creation of an internet surveillance centre, as the WSJ seems to imply.


"Whether it's phone or Internet tapping, the ethical problem remains"

Andres Roman is a Chilean political science fellow at the London School of Economics. He created a Facebook group calling for the boycott of all Nokia-Siemens products.

I didn't read about the sale in the Wall Street Journal, I heard about it on the BBC. It makes no difference whether Nokia-Siemens technology is helping Iran tap phones or the Internet, the ethical problem is the same. I understand selling phone interception capability to democratic countries, where there are checks and balances. But in a country like Iran, China or Burma, the law does not protect citizen's private life."


You think just because

You think just because you're in a "democracy" nobody is watching?

And FRANCE24 runs an

And FRANCE24 runs an email-taping website..why do you need our emails FRANCE24?,esp since you blackmail us with them in order to have a voice on your censoring leftist website?

I think that the big

I think that the big companies like Nokia should consider that people are their main costumers and as a user, I will not purchase their products again. This is my personal belief that as some countries, namely Iran, are obviously irresponsible nations and the citizens’ data are used in order to crack down people's freedom and to monitor their every move to keep the dictatorship intact, companies should not help them in any way. I hope that the reactions of Nokia's customers made them change their ways in the future.

You need to boycott at&t and

You need to boycott at&t and Verizon and their subsidiaries by the same token and logic.

This poster is right. Look

This poster is right. Look at America, our phone and internet companies were complicit and provided the know how and technology to the Bush Regime to tap/intercept our phones AND monitor internet/e-mail usage.

Not that Nokia and Seimens and all these companies should not be held accountable by their customers and countries, simply that change starts at home.


So, tell me whom did Bush shoot and maim within his own state as Ahmadinejad does? An unbalanced comparison probably not worth a comment but there are ones who would catch up without further thinking

I understand the apparent

I understand the apparent violence is of no comparison, but simply because you do not hear about violence does not mean it is not happening. There are plenty of people in Guantanamo who were being abused and tortured that were put there after illegal wiretaps and no trial in the US. Furthermore, there are many documented cases of abuses of power using technology in state and local law enforcement.

It is interesting you would say "not worth a comment" because that is what mainstream media has decided about these prisoners. Also, I said that all the companies should be accountable, why defend American violence to attack violence in Iran? It exists extensively in America, it even exports it.