Western countries should limit access to the latest technological developments for dictators.
By Daniel Calingaert
Western countries should limit access to the latest technological developments for the dictators.
When news broke last month that Swedish telecommunications company TeliaSonera had collaborated with Eurasian dictatorships, it should have come as no surprise. The firm reportedly gave the security services of Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Uzbekistan complete access to their countries' telecom systems, thereby facilitating intercepts of telephone calls and text messages. This collaboration, sadly, fits a pattern.
Nearly three years ago, Nokia Siemens was reported to have sold a sophisticated internet monitoring system to Iran. Since then, news of many other technology sales to repressive regimes has emerged. Most of the autocratic states in the Middle East -- those rated Not Free in Freedom House's Freedom in the World report -- have received U.S. or European technology to censor internet content or monitor online communications.
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