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[liberationtech] Belarus/Ericsson/GSM

Dr Abbas Milani amilani at stanford.edu
Mon Jan 17 08:00:51 PST 2011


We know of people inside Iran who in prison were shown an electronic map, showing exactly where their phones were at the time of certain demonstrations. In Iran of course the operator is the regime and the regime is the operator! a

Sent from my iPad
Abbas Milani
Stanford University
6507214052

On Jan 17, 2011, at 6:55 AM, Cyrus Farivar <cfarivar at cfarivar.org> wrote:

> For what it's worth, Nokia Siemens Networks basically said the same
> thing about the kit they sold to Iran pre 2009 election.
> 
> -C
> 
> On Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 2:41 PM, Luke Allnutt <AllnuttL at rferl.org> wrote:
>> 
>> Dear All,
>> 
>> I'm a journalist from RFE/RL working on a story about the recent crackdown
>> in Belarus. Our Belarus Service is reporting that hundreds of cell phone
>> owners are being summoned for interrogation by police and the KGB because,
>> on December 19, they were using their phones at the site of the
>> antigovernment protest.
>> 
>> We are trying to ascertain whether the phone operators were asked to supply
>> the information about their customers' phone calls or whether the KGB was
>> able to track these calls on their own. Both scenarios seem plausible.
>> 
>> If anyone has any insight into what might have happened here and how easy it
>> would be for the KGB to get that location data on their own, it would be
>> much appreciated.
>> 
>> My second question, if I may, would be about Ericsson, who have supplied
>> Belarus operators with GSM equipment. I spoke via email to Ericsson, and
>> from what I can make out, the GSM equipment they've supplied Belarus with is
>> pretty standard and contains capabilities for "lawful intercept," which they
>> say is entirely in keeping with worldwide standards and norms.
>> 
>> I've spoken to a few experts to try to ascertain whether Ericsson is doing
>> anything inappropriate here. Should they, for instance, sell different
>> equipment to countries with less-than-democratic records? How difficult
>> would it be for Ericsson to reengineer their systems so lawful intercept
>> capabilities were taken out? And how difficult would it be to put those
>> things back in?
>> 
>> I apologize if these questions seem overly simplistic or off-the-mark. I
>> have only a fairly limited understanding of the engineering questions; thus
>> why I'm turning to you people.
>> 
>> If anyone would have the time to answer my questions on list or off list, I
>> would be hugely grateful. Many thanks for your time.
>> 
>> Best Wishes,
>> 
>> Luke
>> 
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> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> ----------------------------------------
> Cyrus Farivar
> "suh-ROOS FAR-ih-var"
> 
>  Freelance Technology Journalist
> cfarivar at cfarivar.org
> 
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