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Dealing with the Devil

Check out the guest blog post written by CDT’s Leslie Harris and John Morris for discussing the recent Nokia boycott in Iran and telecommunications companies doing business with oppressive international regimes:

Some Nokia customers in Iran are attempting to organise a boycott of the wake of charges that the company assisted the government in tapping cell phones and interfering with text messages during the recent political protests.

While a boycott may encourage Nokia to rethink how it does business in difficult markets, switching cell phone providers is unlikely to provide Iranians with more protection against government snooping. Indeed, wiretapping capability is not unique to Nokia Siemens Network, the independent joint venture providing equipment and service in Iran. Those capabilities date back to a governmental mandate imposed by none other than the US Government itself. Fifteen years ago, the US Congress – at the request of the FBI – mandated that telephone networks, and the equipment manufacturers that build their equipment, MUST build flexible wiretapping capability into the equipment. That law, the “Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act” (CALEA), led to similar mandates around the world. A few years ago, the FBI came back and successfully demanded the CALEA wiretapping mandates be extended to some Internet services.

To read post in it’s entirety, click here.

You can also let Leslie know what you think about the post by sending her a message on her brand new Twitter feed by following @Leslie_Harris.