Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Encryption Communications Government United States IT

US Gov't Assisted Iranian Gov't Mobile Wiretaps 161

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the good-for-the-goose dept.
bdsesq sent in a story on Ars Technica highlighting how the US government's drive for security back doors has enabled the Iranian government to spy on its citizens. "For instance, TKTK was lambasted last year for selling telecom equipment to Iran that included the ability to wiretap mobile phones at will. Lost in that uproar was the fact that sophisticated wiretapping capabilities became standard issue for technology thanks to the US government's CALEA rules that require all phone systems, and now broadband systems, to include these capabilities."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Gov't Assisted Iranian Gov't Mobile Wiretaps

Comments Filter:
  • Meh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @04:33PM (#33727926)
    America, eventually everything is our fault. What's next? Are we going to get blamed for fast food? The Olsen twins? NBC 'Must See' TV?
    • Re:Meh (Score:5, Funny)

      by EdZ (755139) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @04:52PM (#33728200)
      Those were all you guys?! Man, dick move America.
      • by game kid (805301)

        Well, it does allow for an interesting scenario: The Olsen Twins choke on fast food because they were kept too intrigued (or drowsy) by 'Must See' TV to wash it down as they ate, and NBC and the food guys then permanently shut down their businesses in tribute to the ex-Michelle Tanners.

        • Well, it does allow for an interesting scenario: The Olsen Twins choke on fast food because they were kept too intrigued (or drowsy) by 'Must See' TV to wash it down as they ate, and NBC and the food guys then permanently shut down their businesses in tribute to the ex-Michelle Tanners.

          And it was as if millions of voices suddenly cried out for joy, and were never silenced.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      If you really want to see Europeans get pissed off, just try to claim that an American invented ANYTHING.
      • by c6gunner (950153)

        That's not true. They'll let you have the invention of the nuclear bomb, because then they can blame you for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although they'll be quick to point out that you couldn't have done it it without "Zionist scientists".

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      I'm pretty sure Lindsay Lohan is all our fault too. Fortunately, in the case of Justin Bieber, we can always blame Canada!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by c6gunner (950153)

        I'm pretty sure Lindsay Lohan is all our fault too. Fortunately, in the case of Justin Bieber, we can always blame Canada!

        No way! He's a result of your "culture"! It's not our fault that you Americans have completely saturated our entertainment networks in order to brainwash our children!

    • Re:Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @05:04PM (#33728348)

      What's next? Are we going to get blamed for fast food? The Olsen twins? NBC 'Must See' TV?

      I don't know about being blamed for everything, the USA can be blamed for quite a few nasty things, you don't get to be a superpower without doing nasty things, it comes with the territory and so does being blamed for it. As for the rest of your comment: yes, yes and yes.

      • by yyxx (1812612)

        I don't know about being blamed for everything, the USA can be blamed for quite a few nasty things, you don't get to be a superpower without doing nasty things,

        The US didn't want to become a superpower. It became a superpower because Europe's and Asia's superpowers imploded and left behind a worldwide mess and power vacuum. The US just filled the vacuum. Unlike France, Germany, the Netherlands, or the UK, the US didn't need do "nasty things" to achieve that position. The US has made plenty of mistakes si

    • Fast food has been the staple of US bashing for ages now. No, I'm not joking.

  • Double Standard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MetalliQaZ (539913) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @04:34PM (#33727932)

    Can you believe that the story features alarming reactions to Iran being able to spy on its citizens, without worrying that the US is doing the same thing. There is an implication with this /. post that the technology wasn't dangerous until it fell into Iran's hands. The US isn't guilty of enabling Iran. The US is guilty of intrusive policy.

    -d

    • Re:Double Standard (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @04:37PM (#33727976)

      The US isn't guilty of enabling Iran. The US is guilty of intrusive policy.

      No, it's actually guilty of both. Iran wouldn't have this capability without the intrusive policy pushed by the government.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MetalliQaZ (539913)

        Why stop at wiretapping equipment? Without the efforts of the US, Iran wouldn't have F-14 Tomcats either.

      • If the technology wasn't developed for the US, it would have been developed for the other countries. Greece, UAE, Iran, Saudi Arabia, whatever.

        This technology was put into the systems because the companies wanted to sell systems in these countries and they wouldn't have been allowed to do so if they didn't put it in.

        Iran's tapping of phones in their country can be placed squarely on the shoulders of Iran's government, not on the US.

      • We're all in this together. Soon we'll win them over, and those pesky people will learn NOT TO FUCK WITH THEIR GOVERNMENTS!

      • No, it's actually guilty of both. Iran wouldn't have this capability without the intrusive policy pushed by the government.

        Now that is something you can only assume, but without the policy Nokia would have a lot more explaining to do.

    • Can you believe that the story features alarming reactions to Iran being able to spy on its citizens, without worrying that the US is doing the same thing.

      Of course I can. This country focuses on things like should we extend tax breaks, and for whom, and should the government require health care. No one seems to care that the NSA is still wiretapping phones without a warrant. I especially like how the tea partiers carry around signs decrying "big government", and their examples of that are things like health care. Those people don't care that their phones are being monitored without court supervision. So apparently they don't care much for the separation

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      correction: its not 'the US' its ANY powerful country that has the will and means to 'monitor' its citizens.

      any country. name one (seriously) that you think is above this.

      I really can't name a single tech-aware country that has not tried or succeeded in tapping its general population to whatever extent it feels necessary.

      this is not a bush thing or obama thing. its a HUMAN NATURE thing and has always been this way. the only thing new is that we have the tech means to easily invade each others' privacy.

    • I'm not sure what you mean by "The US isn't guilty of enabling Iran. The US is guilty of intrusive policy."

      It seems to me that the US is enabling the US to spy on Iranians. ;)

  • by linumax (910946) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @04:41PM (#33728030)

    I'm Iranian and I'm very pissed off about the regime abusing the the technology, however, I can't put all the blame on the US government. A lot of the tracking/wiretapping tech (well, virtually any technology) have dual uses. For example, if a family member of mine gets kidnapped I'd like the police to be able to locate him/her easily by tracking a cellphone. Or if a bunch of suspects are doing something against the law and there's justified need to tap their phones and/or internet I'd like the police to be able to obtain a warrant and have access to the technology to do their job. So it's not funding the development of technology or requiring it's inclusion in the products that is the problem.

    Now, if the US had the ability to prevent the regime from accessing the tech and they didn't do anything about it, well, that's not really nice.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by decipher_saint (72686)

      Exactly! It is not the tool, it is the arm that wields it.

    • by GooberToo (74388)

      Not to mention removing increased capabilities prior to foreign sale is common practice for a lot of hardware. Ultimately, the government has zero culpability here. The fault lies squarely with the manufacturers of the equipment. Besides, even if it was an add on feature, chances are countries like Iran would pay the up charge.

      There are only two solutions which would have prevented this situation. One, allow no manufacturer to sell their telcom equipment to Iran. Two, don't allow Iran to have telcom equipme

      • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @04:53PM (#33728204)

        The fault lies squarely with the manufacturers of the equipment.

        The fault lies with the people who were forced by the US government to put backdoors into their products so that the government can spy on people? lolwut?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by GooberToo (74388)

          Not at all. For that line of argument to have merit you'll first have to prove countries such as Iran, North Korea, China, almost endless list, etc., have neither the inclination or clout to establish demand for such features in the first place. Without a doubt, they absolutely do.

          No matter how you look at it, this is not an US government problem. Even if the US government did not have such a mandate, I'm 100% certain there is enough interest from other governments around the world to justify such features

          • by Thing 1 (178996)

            Using this backward logic, assuming you drive a vehicle, are personally responsible for every vehicle related death in the world because you established demand for vehicles.

            Nonono. It's all the sun's fault.

          • by khallow (566160)

            As I said, the fault squarely rests with the manufacturers.

            I agree. If nobody made cell phones, then there wouldn't be backdoors in cell phones. Now, if on the other hand, you're claiming that these manufacturers forced the US government to force them to install backdoors, then that's an interesting pretzel of logic. I'm sure some future AI historian will get a kick out of it.

      • by GooberToo (74388)

        Guess people don't like knowing their useless excuse to blame the government is just that - useless. Especially then they are, gasp, not to blame.

        Overrated? How is a thoughtful, polite, and completely topical post which is fairly unique in its view point, over rated? Moderators need to do a much better job that this.

      • by jd (1658)

        Blame isn't binary, despite every effort by lawyers to convince you otherwise. Your responsibility is directly proportional to the degree your action contributed to the result, no more and no less. If the US Government's actions were 25%, 33% or 50% responsible for the feature being present in the hardware exported to Iran, then the US Government should be accorded 25%, 33% or 50% of the blame respectively.

        Nor is responsibility limited to immediate one-step cause-and-effect. Distance dilutes responsibility

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by GooberToo (74388)

          If there exists at least one direct chain of causes-and-effects, regardless of how long that chain is,

          Read my other replies. Blaming the US Government is completely arbitrary. Do you seriously believe every other government in the world has wiretap facilities ONLY because of the US's mandate? Nothing could be father from the truth or more silly would you state it plain and simply. But, that's what the article and others would have us believe.

          I'll happily agree the US' guilt is greater than zero, but its still so small, its not worth discussion in the least. To then create an article whereby guilt is 100%, i

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        I wish I had mod-points. Awesome couple of posts there, man. It's sad that I am no longer surprised when the only intelligent comment on the entire thread manages to receive a score of zero.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by ClintJCL (264898)
      You're Iranian, and you're brainwashed by Iranian culture. Everyone knows cellphones are trackable, and this has nothing to do with backdoors. Those kidnappers are simply going to throw the cell phone out the window, or remove the batteries. You just sacrificed your rights for nothing, idiot.
      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        Note to self: throw cellphone out of window next time.
      • by linumax (910946)
        Thank you for calling me idiot, brainwashed, etc. Also attacking my culture. That pretty much settles how much validity there is in your argument.

        But to add up to that, you picked up on my rather weak first example and failed even to consider second one.

        Also, thanks to the moderators for giving +3 insightful to a comment that includes nothing but ad-hominem and according to signature is possibly just a troll.
    • I would rather have the choice of whether or not to enable these features. IMHO, the federal government has long since lost the right to say, "trust us" when it comes to these sorts of "surveillance society" issues because they have proven time and time again that they are incompetent and cannot be trusted. The same is true for law enforcement. Indeed, there are so many stupid laws these days it's enough to make one nostalgic for the days when people wore guns on their hips and weren't obligated to retreat
    • A lot of the tracking/wiretapping tech (well, virtually any technology) have dual uses. For example, if a family member of mine gets kidnapped I'd like the police to be able to locate him/her easily by tracking a cellphone.

      The frustrating thing about the holes punched in our constitutional rights in America is that decisions of when to trample privacy rights are made by the feds. They're not so keen to preemptively foil a kidnapping or murder plot. If your family members are held, you can passionately beg

    • Yes technology always gets the bad rap. A hammer can be used to build a house for someone, or bash someones brains in. When it comes to newer technology people are fearful when they can't understand the tools as easily as a hammer. But it's the same premise, the tools can better humanity or be used to destroy it.

      I believe the US has a motive for allowing all regimes to track their people. I believe at the heart of most government in the world today is hatred against it's enemy the people.

  • "Actions often have unintended consequences...

    More at 11"

  • and everything can be used for good and bad.

    Of course the US is not using their spying technology on its friends and allies! Never ever - or maybe just when its necessary?

    to get the one or the other contract before the others do....

    Look up whats in you router and switch firmware - maybe you too have a Trojan Boot Loader in it!

    • by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @05:35PM (#33728640)
      You've got it backwards. The US is prevented by law from using it's spying technologies to spy on it's own citizens. However, it is perfectly legal to use it to spy on British citizens, while the British government uses similar technology to spy on American citizens, and then they just trade information. Voila -- perfectly legal!
  • by Apple Acolyte (517892) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @05:06PM (#33728356)

    A very interesting story. I wasn't aware of this CALEA law until I just read about it in a previous story in Slashdot, and it's very disturbing that the increasingly tyrannical rule (albeit a mostly soft tyranny for the time being) of the US Federal government and it's concomitant level of imperial arrogance has supposedly endowed an even more evil regime to further terrorize the world. If the US made Ahmadinejad's (YM"SH) life easier, government officials should be prosecuted and punished under the anti-treason provisions of the Constitution, but then again that can be said about many aspects of the US's ruling elite.

    We must strenuously oppose any more encroachments on liberty and privacy, including the latest attempts by the Barack Hussein Obama regime to mandate backdoors in nearly all communication devices. This is a far more severe threat to our lives than ACTA. I can live without secular entertainment, but I don't want to live in a perpetual police state. We have to be mindful of the possibility that multi-national tyrannical forces are coordinating their efforts to bring a form of superlative form of international fascism (think 1984) in which all of humanity is shackled and enslaved.

    Call me an alarmist if you wish - I am very alarmed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I work in the 'comms' (networking) field in the bay area. I can't interview for a job that doesn't seem to *include* some form of DPI or calea side to it.

      if you are using any kind of networking gear that is rackmount and more than a month's rent, chances are it has calea wiretapping 'modes' to it. or, its purchasable if you are the right kind of entity, so to speak.

      there are also networking boxes that intercept the SSL transport and give users a false sense of security (ignore the mitm, that cert looks ve

    • Yes I've had to read on CALEA too. Scary stuff. I think multi-national/international is a key point that no one, even alarmed people, like to admit might be possible.

      How do we raise the alarm for others?

  • by Caerdwyn (829058) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @05:11PM (#33728412) Journal

    Here on Slashdot there tends to exist the mindset of "blame the shooter not the gun" and the corollary "and certainly don't blame the maker of the gun". For most civil libertarians, those are axioms: that tools are value-neutral, and you criminalize their improper use, not their mere existence or the act of manufacture. Good so far. Lifetime NRA member here. Gun-totin' agnostic clinging to the Constitution.

    In this case, though, we are blaming the tool AND the user AND the manufacturer. Why is it different to blame tools collectively (governmental) compared to individually? I have my own thoughts on this, and I believe it IS different. However, it takes a couple of layers of abstraction to reach that difference (specifically, that collective actions are almost always restrictive in nature while individual actions are almost always permissive in nature, and that freedom requires that permissiveness wins over restriction in all but the most severe cases).

    I'd like to believe that the reactions against the existence of CALEA are reasoned rather than reactive. When you ask someone whether they favor or oppose something, if the answer you get is a frothing hind-brain reaction, that person's opinion is instantly valueless. And if that person was on the "correct" side (strictly by chance, it would seem), it becomes that much easier to dismiss ALL people with that opinion. "Yeah, you're a jingoistic , just like all the rest. I'm not even going to listen to you."

    The good guys have to be the adults.

  • everytime someone comments on something saying that 'best place to live' propaganda that people are brainwashed with in america is bullshit, some idiots cant cope up with the reality and mod the comment down, flamebait or troll, even if the comment provides examples and insights.

    im wondering, what needs to happen, before someone can realize that they have been lied to.
    • by fotbr (855184)

      You do realize that "best" is not synonymous with "perfect" right? And that what you value in a place to live isn't the same as what everyone else values?

      Is the USA perfect? Hell no. Would I want to live anywhere else? Not really -- everywhere else that I'd even consider has more tradeoffs than I'd like.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by unity100 (970058)
        relevance ? 'best' means the top place in a group. and in the group of 250 or so countries (or whatever) on earth, america doesnt have that title. but it is touted.

        if you think everywhere else you'd 'even' consider has more tradeoffs than you'd like, it means you either dont know shit about countries other than your own, or a zealot, brainwashed rightwinger that has been conditioned to hate various things, so that you wont wake up.
        • by yyxx (1812612)

          relevance ? 'best' means the top place in a group. and in the group of 250 or so countries (or whatever) on earth, america doesnt have that title. but it is touted.

          Yes, the US is best (or close to it) if you value both civil liberties and a high standard of living. And it is probably the only one of those countries that you can realistically immigrate to and become part of (Norway and Switzerland, for example, are nice in many ways, but you can't really become Norwegian or Swiss, even if you are lucky enou

  • Now the FBI is proposing a similar requirement that would require online service providers, perhaps even software makers, to only offer encrypted communication unless the companies have a way to unlock the communications.

    Requiring providers to only offer encrypted communications unless they have a way to decrypt them? Shouldn't that say "..to only offer encrypted communications if they provide a way to decrypt them?"

    I'm just an engineer, so what do I know about grammar.

  • That was kind of the point behind all of the hue and cry here on /. and elsewhere about the government's drive to have backdoors installed in everything. First, I don't trust either of the last two administrations to have the ability to listen in on any conversation -- data or voice -- any time they wish without having to get the warrants authorizing the wiretaps. Second, even if I did trust either of these administrations (which I don't, just to be clear), there is absolutely NO fricken way to guarantee
    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      You ain't seen nothin' yet. Just wait 'til President Hillary takes office... then it will be damn near impossible for a decent, hard-working man like Bill to get a blowjob under the table without the government finding out about it!
  • It's been alleged that the PROMIS [wikipedia.org] software was backdoored by American spy agencies (or somesuch) and sold abroad.

    The Wikipedia article referenced above doesn't mention the backdoor allegations; you'll need to dig deeper (into less reliable sources?) for that.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      Could PROMIS even be coded back in the day given the disconnected, isolated, bespoke systems of the day?
      Sure you could have it ask are you MS, Unix .... Wang ... telco database... then pop in via some backdoor.
      On the other side you would be in control of some huge dumb plaintext database no matter the OS/code/language?
      It sounds more like a search device for a set of known US databases at the time.
      They would be exported to friendly nations around the world, so it would seem epic to 'google' for someone at
      • "It sounds more like a search device for a set of known US databases at the time."

        That sounds about right.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

Working...