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Senators Want To Punish Nokia, Siemens Over Iran 392

fast66 writes "After hearing about Nokia-Siemens sale of Internet-monitoring software to Iran, US Senators Schumer and Graham want to bar them from receiving federal contracts. They planned the action after hearing about a joint venture of Nokia Corp. of Finland and Siemens AG of Germany that sold a sophisticated Internet-monitoring system to Iran in 2008. According to, Schumer and Graham's bill would require the Obama administration to identify foreign companies that export sensitive technology to Iran and ban them from bidding on federal contracts, or renew expiring ones, unless they first stop exports to Iran."
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Senators Want To Punish Nokia, Siemens Over Iran

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  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @11:59PM (#28524043) Journal

    The Senators don't appear to be proposing a total ban on these companies, simply a ban on them bidding for government contracts. If you want to, you can still buy their products, but I don't see a problem with a government ban. I just wish it were more evenly applied so that companies selling such technology to any regime that is going to use it to violate essential liberties is blocked from bidding on government contracts.

  • by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:18AM (#28524129)
    I think this is also because Nokia sold more than net limiting technology. Apparently they also sold devices which pick up the EMR's emitted by cell phones which allowed police to home in on any person who has a phone on their person - especially to those who are making calls/texting/transmitting data. To my knowledge such technology is not in use in China (currently).
  • by lsdi ( 1585395 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:27AM (#28524197)
    Those actions turn the US into a less competitive country and will not stop people from having cell phones, software, etc wherever they live. I don't think Nokia cares very much about federal contracts right now.
  • by mehtars ( 655511 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:46AM (#28524337)
    The US isn't forcing the foreign competition to do anything. All its saying is if they want to continue to sell to Iran, the cannot sell to the US Gov't. That is all. They can, however, continue to even do business in the USA. Iran and North Korea are still the two biggest threats-- one is controlled by a crazed manic depressive dictator, and the other by a group of theocrats hell bent on creating a nuclear weapon.

    Additionally, I am not saying that it was right for the US to go into Iraq in the first place. But to continue to destabilize the region, is probably not in the best interest Iraq.

    I would have to disagree with you regarding Israel. Israel is only acting in self determination after numerous incursions by Hamas, a group funded by Iran.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:55AM (#28524393)

    That is bullshit [] (forgive linking to a press release, but Nokia Siemens Networks doesn't even make equipment as described).

    It looks like Nokia Siemens sold exactly the things which the USA forced them to include in their system and nothing more. Most of the legal interception requirements have been driven by the US in the first place.

  • About as stupid as these senators apparently. I mean really....

    Siemens, not bidding on federal contracts?


    uh huh mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    my side hurts now. Maybe these senators don't realize, but either directly or indirectly, you'd be hard pressed to find a federal contract that didn't support Siemens somehow. They're a $120 billion a year company making a gazillion little gadgets most senators never heard of, used in everthing from bulldozers to fire alarms.

    This is all political bullshit.

  • Heaven forbid (Score:5, Informative)

    by kalpaha ( 667921 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @01:26AM (#28524589)
    How dare they sell equipment to implement legally required (and specified by ETSI and 3GPP standards) capabilies for the mobile networks: []
  • by Alphager ( 957739 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @01:57AM (#28524747) Homepage Journal

    I think this is also because Nokia sold more than net limiting technology. Apparently they also sold devices which pick up the EMR's emitted by cell phones which allowed police to home in on any person who has a phone on their person - especially to those who are making calls/texting/transmitting data. To my knowledge such technology is not in use in China (currently).

    This is bog-standard technology implemented in any modern network. It's used by 911-operators to home in on your location if you are unable to speak (or cut off) and used by police to follow suspects (in addition to a GPS-Tracker in the car). There's nothing specialy made for repressive regimes; it's just technology which also may be used to suppress people.

  • by da_matta ( 854422 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @02:00AM (#28524763)
    As stated in the linked article:
    - It's a piece of standard 3GPP (=GSM) equipment for lawful intercept, i.e. to allow law enforcement to wiretap calls (according guidelines set by local law).
    - It only handles voice calls and does not allow internet traffic monitoring, let alone deep packet inspection.
    - The equipment is compliant with EU and UN export regulations

    Also, it's much less of a privacy threat than the mechanisms currently in place in US, UK (and I'm sure EU).
  • by Unipuma ( 532655 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @03:31AM (#28525209)

    Actually, the EU is doing its work, and fining companies who abuse their monopoly. []
    (Which, in case you were wondering is an European company) []
    (Also European)

    It doesn't matter what country your company is from, if you abuse the rules, they go after you. They might even go after all those bank bailouts: []

  • by bigtomrodney ( 993427 ) * on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @04:19AM (#28525453)

    The US has an embargo on Iran and Nokia Siemens broke it.

    Nokia Siemens is a joint venture with its headquarters in Finland. The two contributing companies are Nokia, who were founded and are headed in Finland and Siemens were founded and are headed in Germany. The United States of America set an embargo on the country and yet all others are expected to follow - this is what's wrong with the American outlook.

    I'm just glad I've been able to buy Cuban cigars legally in my country all along.

  • by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @04:32AM (#28525509)
    Unfortunately, the embargo does not cover that. European companies like Nokia and Siemens are bound by Council Regulation 423/2007, which forbids the export of the following things:
    - Military goods of any kind
    - Services relating to maintenance, preparation, production or use of military goods
    - Just about anything related to nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles

    I just read through the damn thing (151 pages in the German version) and software is only covered where it is used for the design, operation or maintenance of nuclear enrichment facilities or military weapons, especially guided missiles. Unless I overlooked something (unlikely as the appendices are simple tables) or the embargo is covered by an additional regulation I am not aware of Nokia and Siemens did not violate the embargo.

    The morality of providing filtering technology to Iran aside, I just can't see what the States are trying to accomplish here. They try to punish companies from other countries for something that wasn't illegal at the time. In the best case we have an ex post facto situation with jurisdictional issues, in the worst case we have "screw the rules, we want your money".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @04:36AM (#28525525)

    This is bull shit. Cisco sold the same type of stuff to China.

    And never forget what IBM sold to the apartheid government of South Africa.

  • by SlowMovingTarget ( 550823 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @01:49PM (#28531817) Homepage

    Many in the USA subscribe to a theory of American exceptionalism. ... The theory is pretty simple: when America does something, it's OK. ...

    That is not what American Exceptionalism is about. "American exceptionalism refers to the theory that the United States occupies a special niche among developed nations in terms of its national credo, historical evolution, political and religious institutions and unique origins." - American Exceptionalism [].

    The idea of Nixon-style exceptionalism (a priori exceptionalism as discussed in the Wikipedia entry) is held only by a few, and often thrown out as a strawman, like you just did. You can disagree with the notion all you like, just don't distort the expressed views of those who do.

    Condemnation of Iran's actions and punishment of Nokia and Siemens for sanction violations makes sense. Iran is using this technology to directly curb free expression. None of the U.S. government entities mentioned in this discussion do that. They may listen in, but they aren't turning around and cracking skulls as a follow up. Saying that the NSA and FBI are somehow equivalent to Iran's government and militia is ridiculous.

    Americans get waterboarded more often by other American soldiers as part of their training regimen. Is that torture? Should their instructors be thrown into jail for giving them this training? There was no circumvention of legal frameworks, the three people who were waterboarded were done so within the framework of the law. Change the laws, but don't be dishonest about the ones we have. (And no, I'm not claiming the waterboarding was "right" because we did it.) Also, remember that the treatment American soldiers and civilians already get from the enemy includes real torture (stabbing, cutting, twisting limbs until dislocation or until they break, and beheading).

  • You want to declare yourself Jewish out of the blue, fine, do it. There's a word for people like that - poser. You get to be accepted as Jewish 2 ways - your mother is Jewish, or you work your ass off learning Jewish tradition.

    The matrilinear qualification for Jewishness has nothing to do with scripture or the exegesis of scholars.

    It was an imposition by the Romans after their occupation of Judea as a tributary kingdom, in the 1st century, BCE. When the kingdom became a Roman province, sometime after 63 BCE, the requirements of the Roman census called for the enumeration of Jews, as a distinct population. As with other subject peoples under Roman law, this determination was made by declaration of the mother's ethnological identity.

    All other forms of heredity and lineage of the ancient Hebrew and later Aramaic peoples are patrilinear, as described by scripture and validated in practice through the scant historic record. After all, Abraham was 10th generation in descent from Noah, and 20th generation in descent from Adam in the Torah. The line of mothers in this, beyond the story of Eve, is not even considered worthy of record by the compilers in Babylon. The names of Noah's sons are recorded as important - the name of his wife is obscured to record.

    What other colonial imposition has been so rapturously embraced as a part of Jewish tradition so completely, that it has become the central argument in answering the fundamental question, "Who is a Jew?" In fact, determining who is a Jew by matrilinear derivation is unsupported by the Patriarchs and Prophets. It runs contrary to the examples of the righteous in the Torah, and is likely contrary to the command of G?d.

    This Roman principle has been used to make modern scriptural arguments about the issue of Abraham through Sarah and Hagar, to support current geo-political agendas in Palestine and the Middle-East. It can be quickly determined that these are specious arguments that run contrary to the law of Moses, used for condoning fratricide. In the view of the scripture, all that is important about Issac and Ishmael is that they are both the sons of Abraham, while the matter of maternal portion is merely incidental.

    Not until the Christian era, where the Roman law becomes a "fact-on-the-ground", do we first discover matrilinear assignation. Jesus is described as "Joshua ben-Miriam" by Jews and some Christians. This was an appellation preferred by Jews, as it stressed a non-divine origin of the supposed Prophet and Messiah, contrary to Christian claims and in conformity with the adoption of Roman census definitions. After the 1st century CE doctrine of Virgin Birth became popular, Christian usage of "ben Miriam" neatly avoided the question of a parental relationship with Joseph for the Christ - who was theologically determined to be sired by G?d, alone. By this time, determining Jewishness by the mother's bloodline had passed from a draconian imposition to folklore and custom. It is not endorsed by prophecy or scholarship, theology or revelation.

    I think, in short, that the claim of many - if not the majority - of those who identify themselves as "Jewish" has little actual validity, when using the standard established from Abraham through his descendants. This self-declaration of Jewishness, which you dismiss as posturing, differs little from the reality of self-declared Jewishness that derives from the application of a Goyish law, to ancestors lost in history.

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