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Made in USA – Company Funds Oppressive Regimes’ Surveillance and Censorship Technology
by Ezra Van Auken
The United States may condemn corrupt regimes and vow to change them but did you know the U.S. is one of the top funders to forceful regimes around the world? When it comes to surveillance and censorship technology, the U.S. is a big exporter, as revealed by a Canadian human rights group.
At the Munk School of Global Affairs in the University of Toronto, a team of researchers known as the Citizen Lab Internet found that many oppressive governments have bought their surveillance and censorship equipment from a company located in California called Blue Coat. Research done by Citizen Lab Internet, the New York Times explained, “determined that Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates employed a Blue Coat system that could be used for digital censorship.”
Toronto University’s research team uncovered that many nations including Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela “used equipment that could be used for surveillance and tracking.”
Coming to a focus, the Citizen Lab Internet group states, “Our findings support the need for national and international scrutiny of the country Blue Coat implementations we have identified, and a closer look at the global proliferation of dual-use information and communications technology,” asking for more disclosure on possible civil rights infringements.
“We hope Blue Coat will take this as an opportunity to explain their due diligence process to ensure that their devices are not used in ways that violate human rights,” CLI notes.
A year ago, WikiLeaks released “a database of hundreds of documents from as many as 160 intelligence contractors in the mass surveillance industry,” showing the extensiveness of the market.