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[liberationtech] The worrisome trend toward liability in networking technology

Jacob Appelbaum jacob at appelbaum.net
Tue Nov 8 10:18:36 PST 2011


On 11/08/2011 04:00 AM, Katrin Verclas wrote:
> What then is your all's take on company efforts such as this: 
> 
> http://community.websense.com/blogs/websense-insights/archive/2011/11/01/websense-statement-on-improper-use-of-technology-for-suppression-of-rights-and-in-violation-of-trade-sanctions.aspx
> 
> or on Nokia Siemens Network's human rights policy and internal due diligence? 
> Are companies starting to self-regulate with any effect, or are these simply PR moves? I have my opinions but wonder what y'all think...
> 

It's similar to GNI - it's largely human-rights-washing nonsense.

Nokia is partially responsible for crushing the Iranian democratic
uprising. Who cares if they renamed to Trovicor? They were still
sponsoring ISS World 2011 in Washington, DC. Blue Coat is the same for
Syria with different technology but they don't even have the decency to
discuss what is really happening.

AreaSPA is currently responsible for planning to do the same in Syria
and offering them support in an ongoing manner - they can sell off
divisions and outsource support but the _impact_ is the same.

If they sold machetes to Rwanda during a major conflict would they also
argue that it's dual use? Only if they have their head up their asses!

IBM had a lot of fall out from this kind of behavior after their
business in the second world war. These are not new quesitions and we
know the answer - the world will hang, perhaps literally, people who
assist in mass crimes against humanity.

If you want to improve human rights in this space we must think beyond
the obvious space:

  Do not build wiretapping equipment (especially at-scale monitoring)
  Do not build censorship technology
  Do not sell tracking services (for law enforcement purposes)
  Resist CALEA and CALEA-2 legislation
  Reject the concept of "lawful interception"
  Improve legislation that makes it a serious crime to do the above
  Improve international legislation that prosecutes the above crimes

We must resist surveillance and censorship at every turn - when we build
it "here" it's actually a trickle down effect that enables it "there" -
wherever here and there may be today.

CALEA is an example of how so called "lawful interception" creates
"self-regulation" - if you're not CALEA compliant, you're not going to
be purchased - so wiretapping is part of the infrastructure to compete
in the "free market" - it's a rough cycle.

The US has created some of these externalities and now we're seeing a
lot of those mistakes play out with disastrous consequences. The
corporations involved make these choices for profit based motivations -
we have to hit them where it hurts, economically, to end this madness.

All the best,
Jake



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