Packets, Please: Government monitoring and #IranElection

Wired reminds us that we can rail against and complain about the intrusive, privacy-destroying and free-speech-threatening monitoring that Iran has been employing against the protestors over the past few months, but we have to remember two things. First, US and European companies provided the hardware and software to Iran for them to do this. Second - our own government does the same thing, and we should stop it.

Regarding the first problem, bipartisan Senators are proposing a ban on government contracts to companies caught selling such technology to Iran, and it's technically illegal for US companies anyhow (which might not be stopping everyone, and appears to be using Secure Computing's (now McAfee) SmartFilter according to the Open Net Initiative's testing.

Secure Computing's archived site at The WayBack Machine has one of the most ... diverse ... customer lists that you could ever hope for. It lists satisfied customers like Alvin ISD, Brigham Young University, the Department of Defense plus all the branches of the US Military, banks, NASA. However, the customers who "prefer not to disclose the products they use to secure their networks." are more interesting, and include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and of course, Iran. These are hardly new contracts, Saudi Arabia has been filtering their Internet using Secure Computing since 1999 (more on the policy implications

As for the second problem, the US has been finding ways to peek at Internet traffic for years through ECHELON, and email-monitoring tool, and more recently with the Bush regime's warrant-less wiretaps (which Obama has as yet failed to get rid of).

This is all to say that we can't get honestly upset at Iran for monitoring and filtering its Internet while also being complacent about our own government doing the same to us. But when did a little cognitive dissonance stop policy or public opinion?


i don't hate the technology, but it is being used in a way that limits peoples freedoms, which is wrong. nice post, i hope the word gets out.