[IRP] Iranian Police Seizing Dissidents Get Aid Of Western Companies

Ben Wagner Ben.Wagner
Mon Oct 31 23:11:36 EET 2011

This is some very good reporting on the human rights impact of exporting ICTs. I've just included the introduction here as the whole article is quite long but it's well worth reading the whole piece here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-31/iranian-police-seizing-dissidents-get-aid-of-western-companies.html

Iranian Police Seizing Dissidents Get Aid Of Western Companies
The Iranian officers who knocked out Saeid Pourheydar?s four front teeth also enlightened the opposition journalist. Held in Evin Prison for weeks following his arrest early last year for protesting, he says, he learned that he was not only fighting the regime, but also companies that armed Tehran with technology to monitor dissidents like him.

Pourheydar, 30, says the power of this enemy became clear as intelligence officers brandished transcripts of his mobile phone calls, e-mails and text messages during his detention. About half the political prisoners he met in jail told him police had tracked their communications and movements through their cell phones, he says.

?This is a commerce of death for the companies that place this technology in the hands of dictatorships,? Pourheydar says.

Even as the pariah state pursued a brutal political crackdown, including arrests and executions surrounding its contested 2009 elections, European companies supplied Iran with location tracking and text-message monitoring equipment that can turn mobile phones into tools for surveillance.

Stockholm-based Ericsson AB, Creativity Software Ltd. of the U.K. and Dublin-based AdaptiveMobile Security Ltd. marketed or provided gear over the past two years that Iran?s law enforcement or state security agencies would have access to, according to more than 100 documents and interviews with more than two dozen technicians and managers who worked on the systems.

Ericsson and Creativity Software offered technology expressly for law enforcement use -- including a location- monitoring product proposed by Ericsson in early 2009 and one sold this year by Creativity, according to the interviews.
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