[IRP] Fwd: WSJ: Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology

Max Senges maxsenges
Tue Jun 23 18:32:53 EEST 2009

Hi Robin, Hi Phillip

Phillip Roberts wrote:

> I note partcularly the following paragraph:
> "Internet censoring in Iran was developed with the initial justification of
> blocking online pornography, among other material considered offensive by
> the regime, according to those who have studied the country's censoring."

It is the same argument in China and even in Germany

 @Robin or someone who knows: What happend to the idea of creating a
red-light district and have all porn go to .xxx? I remember it did not pass,
but i don't remember the reasons. Was there problems with that approach?


> Phillip
> On Mon, Jun 22, 2009 at 4:25 PM, Robin Gross <robin at ipjustice.org> wrote:
>> FYI:
>> Begin forwarded message:
>>  *From: *Thiru Balasubramaniam <thiru at keionline.org>
>> *Date: *June 21, 2009 11:11:40 PM PDT
>> *To: *Vera Franz <vfranz at osf-eu.org>, Robin Gross <robin at ipjustice.org>,
>> James Love <james.love at keionline.org>, Manon Ress <
>> manon.ress at keionline.org>, Brad Biddle <brad.biddle at intel.com>, Nick
>> Ashton-Hart <nashton at consensus.pro>, Sachiko Muto <sachiko.muto at gmail.com>,
>> Malini Aisola <malini.aisola at keionline.org>, Rishab Ghosh <
>> rishab.ghosh at gmail.com>, Daniel Dardailler <danield at w3.org>
>> *Subject: **WSJ: Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology*
>>  * The Wall Street Journal
>>    * JUNE 22, 2009
>> Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology
>> By CHRISTOPHER RHOADS in New York and LORETTA CHAO in Beijing
>> The Iranian regime has developed, with the assistance of European
>> telecommunications companies, one of the world's most sophisticated
>> mechanisms for controlling and censoring the Internet, allowing it to
>> examine the content of individual online communications on a massive scale.
>> Interviews with technology experts in Iran and outside the country say
>> Iranian efforts at monitoring Internet information go well beyond blocking
>> access to Web sites or severing Internet connections.
>> View Full Image
>> Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology
>> AFP/Getty Images
>> An undated screen grab from an Internet video shows a young woman
>> identified only as Neda, who has become an iconic image of the violence
>> during Iranian protests over the nation's disputed presidential election.
>> Because of reporting restrictions in Tehran, the incident could not be
>> independently verified.
>> Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology
>> Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology
>> Instead, in confronting the political turmoil that has consumed the
>> country this past week, the Iranian government appears to be engaging in a
>> practice often called deep packet inspection, which enables authorities to
>> not only block communication but to monitor it to gather information about
>> individuals, as well as alter it for disinformation purposes, according to
>> these experts.
>> The monitoring capability was provided, at least in part, by a joint
>> venture of Siemens AG, the German conglomerate, and Nokia Corp., the Finnish
>> cellphone company, in the second half of 2008, Ben Roome, a spokesman for
>> the joint venture, confirmed.
>> The "monitoring center," installed within the government's telecom
>> monopoly, was part of a larger contract with Iran that included mobile-phone
>> networking technology, Mr. Roome said.
>> "If you sell networks, you also, intrinsically, sell the capability to
>> intercept any communication that runs over them," said Mr. Roome.
>> The sale of the equipment to Iran by the joint venture, called Nokia
>> Siemens Networks, was previously reported last year by the editor of an
>> Austrian information-technology Web site called Futurezone.
>> The Iranian government had experimented with the equipment for brief
>> periods in recent months, but it had not been used extensively, and
>> therefore its capabilities weren't fully displayed -- until during the
>> recent unrest, the Internet experts interviewed said.
>> "We didn't know they could do this much," said a network engineer in
>> Tehran. "Now we know they have powerful things that allow them to do very
>> complex tracking on the network."
>> [Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology]
>> Deep packet inspection involves inserting equipment into a flow of online
>> data, from emails and Internet phone calls to images and messages on
>> social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Every digitized packet
>> of online data is deconstructed, examined for keywords and reconstructed
>> within milliseconds. In Iran's case, this is done for the entire country at
>> a single choke point, according to networking engineers familiar with the
>> country's system. It couldn't be determined whether the equipment from Nokia
>> Siemens Networks is used specifically for deep packet inspection.
>> All eyes have been on the Internet amid the crisis in Iran, and government
>> attempts to crack down on information. The infiltration of Iranian online
>> traffic could explain why the government has allowed the Internet to
>> continue to function -- and also why it has been running at such slow speeds
>> in the days since the results of the presidential vote spurred unrest.
>> Users in the country report the Internet having slowed to less than a
>> tenth of normal speeds. Deep packet inspection delays the transmission of
>> online data unless it is offset by a huge increase in processing power,
>> according to Internet experts.
>> Iran is "now drilling into what the population is trying to say," said
>> Bradley Anstis, director of technical strategy with Marshal8e6 Inc., an
>> Internet security company in Orange, Calif. He and other experts interviewed
>> have examined Internet traffic flows in and out of Iran that show
>> characteristics of content inspection, among other measures. "This looks
>> like a step beyond what any other country is doing, including China."
>> China's vaunted "Great Firewall," which is widely considered the most
>> advanced and extensive Internet censoring in the world, is believed also to
>> involve deep packet inspection. But China appears to be developing this
>> capability in a more decentralized manner, at the level of its Internet
>> service providers rather than through a single hub, according to experts.
>> That suggests its implementation might not be as uniform as that in Iran,
>> they said, as the arrangement depends on the cooperation of all the service
>> providers.
>> Related Video
>> Iran's government is a combination of democracy and Islamic theocracy.
>> Take a look at the power structure.
>> View Interactive
>> The difference, at least in part, has to do with scale: China has about
>> 300 million Internet users, the most of any country. Iran, which has an
>> estimated 23 million users, can track all online communication through a
>> single location called the Telecommunication Infrastructure Co., part of the
>> government's telecom monopoly. All of the country's international links run
>> through the company.
>> Separately, officials from the U.S. embassy in Beijing on Friday met with
>> Chinese officials to express concerns about a new requirement that all PCs
>> sold in the China starting July 1 be installed with Web-filtering software.
>> If a government wants to control the flow of information across its
>> borders it's no longer enough to block access to Web sites hosted elsewhere.
>> Now, as sharing online images and messages through social-networking sites
>> has become easy and popular, repressive regimes are turning to technologies
>> that allow them to scan such content from their own citizens, message by
>> message.
>> Human-rights groups have criticized the selling of such equipment to Iran
>> and other regimes considered repressive, because it can be used to crack
>> down on dissent, as evidenced in the Iran crisis. Asked about selling such
>> equipment to a government like Iran's, Mr. Roome of Nokia Siemens Networks
>> said the company "does have a choice about whether to do business in any
>> country. We believe providing people, wherever they are, with the ability to
>> communicate is preferable to leaving them without the choice to be heard."
>> Countries with repressive governments aren't the only ones interested in
>> such technology. Britain has a list of blocked sites, and the German
>> government is considering similar measures. In the U.S., the National
>> Security Agency has such capability, which was employed as part of the Bush
>> administration's "Terrorist Surveillance Program." A White House official
>> wouldn't comment on if or how this is being used under the Obama
>> administration.
>> The Australian government is experimenting with Web-site filtering to
>> protect its youth from online pornography, an undertaking that has triggered
>> criticism that it amounts to government-backed censorship.
>> Content inspection and filtering technology are already common among
>> corporations, schools and other institutions, as part of efforts to block
>> spam and viruses, as well as to ensure that employees and students comply
>> with computer-use guidelines. Families use filtering on their home computers
>> to protect their children from undesirable sites, such as pornography and
>> gambling.
>> Internet censoring in Iran was developed with the initial justification of
>> blocking online pornography, among other material considered offensive by
>> the regime, according to those who have studied the country's censoring.
>> Iran has been grappling with controlling the Internet since its use moved
>> beyond universities and government agencies in the late 1990s. At times, the
>> government has tried to limit the country's vibrant blogosphere -- for
>> instance, requiring bloggers to obtain licenses from the government, a
>> directive that has proved difficult to enforce, according to the OpenNet
>> Initiative, a partnership of universities that study Internet filtering and
>> surveillance. (The partners are Harvard University, the University of
>> Toronto, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford.)
>> Beginning in 2001, the government required Internet service providers to
>> install filtering systems, and also that all international connections link
>> to a single gateway controlled by the country's telecom monopoly, according
>> to an OpenNet study.
>> Iran has since blocked Internet users in the country from more than five
>> million sites in recent years, according to estimates from the press-freedom
>> group Reporters Without Borders.
>> View Slideshow
>> [SB124561206327535087]
>> In the 2005 presidential election, the government shut down the Internet
>> for hours, blaming it on a cyberattack from abroad, a claim that proved
>> false, according to several Tehran engineers.
>> Several years ago, research by OpenNet discovered the government using
>> filtering equipment from a U.S. company, Secure Computing Corp. Due to the
>> U.S. trade embargo on Iran, in place since the 1979 Islamic revolution
>> overthrew the U.S.-backed shah, that was illegal. Secure Computing, now
>> owned by McAfee Inc., at the time denied any knowledge of the use of its
>> products in Iran. McAfee said due diligence before the acquisition revealed
>> no contract or support being provided in Iran.
>> Building online-content inspection on a national scale and coordinated at
>> a single location requires hefty resources, including manpower, processing
>> power and technical expertise, Internet experts said.
>> Nokia Siemens Networks provided equipment to Iran last year under the
>> internationally recognized concept of "lawful intercept," said Mr. Roome.
>> That relates to intercepting data for the purposes of combating terrorism,
>> child pornography, drug trafficking and other criminal activities carried
>> out online, a capability that most if not all telecom companies have, he
>> said.
>> The monitoring center that Nokia Siemens Networks sold to Iran was
>> described in a company brochure as allowing "the monitoring and interception
>> of all types of voice and data communication on all networks." The joint
>> venture exited the business that included the monitoring equipment, what it
>> called "intelligence solutions," at the end of March, by selling it to
>> Perusa Partners Fund 1 LP, a Munich-based investment firm, Mr. Roome said.
>> He said the company determined it was no longer part of its core business.
>> ?Ben Worthen in San Francisco, Mike Esterl in Atlanta and Siobhan Gorman
>> in Washington contributed to this article.
>> Write to Christopher Rhoads at christopher.rhoads at wsj.com and Loretta
>> Chao at loretta.chao at wsj.com
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> Thiru Balasubramaniam
>> Geneva Representative
>> Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
>> thiru at keionline.org
>> Tel: +41 22 791 6727
>> Mobile: +41 76 508 0997
>> Robin Gross, Executive Director
>> 1192 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA  94117  USA
>> p: +1-415-553-6261    f: +1-415-462-6451
>> w: http://www.ipjustice.org     e: robin at ipjustice.org
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