Nokia accused of selling spy equipment to Iran

cablesA comprehensive electronic surveillance system that was sold by the Nokia Siemens Network Group to Iran is capable of spying on almost all electronic communications, according to its brochure.

“The system can monitor all voice and data communications very efficiently. In addition, it can snatch messages with content considered suspicious,” according to Professor of Data Network Technology at the Aalto University, Jukka Manner.

The system monitors internet communications in addition to text and multimedia messaging, mobile and landline telephone calls, instant messages, e-mail communications, telefax communications, data transfer over the mobile network and mobile telephone positioning. “What more would anyone need for monitoring?” asks Manner.

Helsingin Sanomat reports that Nokia Siemens has confirmed that the brochure the newspaper acquired for the Monitoring Center was of the same system sold to Iran. However, the company adds that the version sold was a trial version and did not have the capacity for internet surveillance.

Lauri Kivinen, Nokia Siemens Networks Head of Corporate Affairs and soon to be Director General of YLE, has been criticised in the media for failing to be aware or honest about his company’s dealings. Kivinen, who has also been criticised by advocates of free speech, has maintained that there was a misperception about the Iran deal.

Nokia Siemens Networks has previously sold the network surveillance equipment under the Trovicor brand, an offshoot of Siemens, in 2008. That same year saw the company deliver the surveillance equipment to Iran Telecom. Prior to the joint venture, network equipment had also been sold by Nokia Networks to the same Iranian operator.

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