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Questions raised about Silicon Valley's ties to terrorist regimes

Chris O'Brien (via SMH) | July 10, 2013
The University of Toronto's Citizen Lab has released a report focusing on Blue Coat Systems and how its technology apparently is still part of Syria's state-sponsored telecommunications networks and is being used in Sudan and Iran.

Motorola Mobility noted that although Future Information Technology in Iran claims to distribute its products in that country, that is not the case. Motorola has been trying to get the Iranian company to remove the claims from its website. 

Many other tech companies got caught up recently in a larger probe involving allegations that China-based Huawei and ZTE were reselling various technologies from US companies to places like Iran.

In the case of Blue Coat, the Sunnyvale, California, company makes technology that enables monitoring of computer network activity. Although it can be used to help secure networks, it can also be used to keep tabs on the activities of users. 

News of ties between Syria and Blue Coat are not new. Citizen Lab has reported on them previously. And in April, the Office of Export Enforcement of the Bureau of Industry and Security and the US Department of Commerce settled with a third-party vendor for $US2.8 million for its role in selling Blue Coat technology to Syria.

In a statement, David Murphy, chief operating officer at Blue Coat, said the company couldn't comment on the latest report. But he repeated the company's support for trade restrictions and embargoes to such countries. 

"We take reports about the presence of Blue Coat technology in embargoed countries very seriously," Murphy said in the statement. "We have been aware of the presence of our appliances in Syria and have been actively co-operating with the US government since 2011 as part of its investigation into the illegal transfer of our products to Syria by third parties."

 

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