Jillian York at the EFF rounds up the recent reports of US and European tech companies that are selling surveillance technologies to foreign governments, presumably for use against their citizens. Some of the relationships:
Nokia-Siemens sells surveillance software to Bahrain.
Amesys and VASTech SA sell to Libya.
Bluecoat sells deep packet inspection tools to Syria.
Netfirms turns over information about US citizen to Thailand.
Cisco and Nortel sell surveillance technology to China.
York sums it up:
What’s chillingly clear is that significant portions of the worldwide Internet are under surveillance using invasive technologies produced by American and European companies, who are in large part free to export technology that could be used for censorship or surveillance. The general lack of meaningful controls means that the privacy and safety of individuals has been left to corporations, through the promotion of the “corporate social responsibility” concept, and also through the rule of law. But clearly, important questions remain about the kind of pressure that it takes for corporate social responsibility to be meaningful, as well as the validity in relying on the rule of law in countries where it is weak or non-existent.
Who is watching the corporations? DOS talks about Internet Freedom around the world, but it seems to be only the NGOs who are putting any pressure on tech companies about the human rights implications of what they’re selling to whom.