Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Privacy Government News Politics

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Senators Want To Punish Nokia, Siemens Over Iran

Comments Filter:
  • by chill ( 34294 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:06AM (#28524077) Journal

    What about selling to non-oppressive regimes? These systems, and similar ones by Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, Narus [] and others are in widespread use throughout the U.S., Europe and the rest of the "free world".

    Been there, installed that.

    Hell, I know of one system that uses a MySQL database to store the warrant and tap info. The interface is an Apache module. The front end is rather ugly closed source GUI written in Israel which sends the info via an HTTPS POST.

    Narus' key products were based on Snort and Wireshark, just on custom super-computer class hardware.

    Gotta love FOSS. With all the hacking tools available for Linux/BSD, including source code, who needs custom code?

  • by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:07AM (#28524081)

    China does not threaten to bomb israel or destabilize iraq.

    None of the politicians mentioned that this economic protectionism was religious based or had anything to do with nuclear warfare. Though China is a very dangerous military threat to India and is a police threat to its own citizens.

    And from the article:

    Nokia Siemens said in a statement that the equipment it provided to Telecommunications Co. of Iran, the country's fixed and mobile network operator, is designed only to conduct lawful intercept of traffic by law enforcement organizations.

    Unlike in America, where the government and the phone companies can monitor all traffic without legal requirements.

    This hypocrisy is just people being bad and lying out loud about it.

  • Oh I see (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:20AM (#28524139)

    Speaking up in favor of protestors is seen as meddling but sending out a strong signal that if you sell anything hi tech to Iran your stuff will be shunned by the U.S. will have no impact whatsoever.

    The horse may have left the barn, but if we nuke the barn from orbit we can be sure no future horses will even be born. Or something like that.

  • Godwin's Law (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ChunderDownunder ( 709234 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:21AM (#28524151)

    IBM, allegedly, collaborated with the Nazis.

    Corporations making a quick buck through trading with 'the enemy' is nothing new.

  • and in Germany? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:31AM (#28524235) Homepage Journal

    So, now that we here in Germany have introduced Internet censorship (via the crazy Zensursula von der Leyen law, your choice whether "crazy" applies to the law or the person) - will the US senators punish the companies that supply the infrastructure for that as well?

    Oh wait, Germany isn't a "rogue country", right? We don't go by facts, we go by political climate, don't we?

    I'm looking forward to an embargo...

  • by fluch ( 126140 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:51AM (#28524373)

    As far as I have heard Nokia and Siemens did just sell the same technology they are forced by the "good countries" to implement already for years. So what is the problem?!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:52AM (#28524379)
    So basically, this is the US trying to force foreign companies into executing the US political agenda.

    In all honesty, isn't this what any form of boycott is about?

    While there may be hypocrisy in the move I don't think the US government should be forced to use any business any more than the citizens should. Boycotting businesses that work outside of your ethical scope is a fantastic tool and the US government is just another consumer at this point.

    It looks like another case of US selective policing, and the rest of world is sick of that shit.

    And no other countries/consumers base their buying and selling of goods and services based on what other nations are friendly to them? Riiiight. If you're sick of it out of the US you should probably be sick of it in whatever country you reside. Just because your country isn't mentioned in big bold letters on Slashdot doesn't mean that they don't do it.

    I don't agree with Iranian goverment internet censorship, but not for knee jerk "they are the bad guys" reasons, because I know all to well from recent history that the USA are the badder guys. The USA has negative moral authority. Even with the new administration, you guys have a lot of work to do.

    Yeah, because I see the bodies of protesters lining the streets of the states. Get real. If you think they're proposing this because of internet censorship than you've had the wool pulled over your eyes.

    Again, I'm not saying there isn't hypocrisy but you've missed a lot of what is going on here by letting nationalism get under your skin.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @01:07AM (#28524477)

    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).

    You are incorrect in your assumption about China. My employer sells exactly that sort of product to them.

  • by tjstork ( 137384 ) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @01:13AM (#28524515) Homepage Journal

    Yep - damn those Europeans for voting Obama in.

    IF they could have, they would have. Obama's ratings in Europe were in the 90% range, at the same time he was in Ohio talking about how he was going to undo free trade. Says a lot about how informed Europeans -really- are.

    Bush may not have been the style of guy that Europe prefers, but economically, his commitment to free trade made it possible for many European economies to be export driven. Obama will begin the unwinding of that.

  • by GrpA ( 691294 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @01:24AM (#28524571)

    Accepting abuses of human rights in other countries is still a bad thing, even if your own government is abusing those very same rights.

    If you don't stand against it openly, even if it is hypocritical to do so patriotically, then there's no reason for those within your own country to desist from their own actions.

    After all, ignoring another country's abuses just because your own country does likewise is even worse than hypocrisy. It's complicity.


  • by Max Littlemore ( 1001285 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @01:39AM (#28524675)


    Oh, that's right, foreigners aren't human. [], a while ago, but the regiem hasn't changed. Got more corrupt.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @03:08AM (#28525083)

    Matt 7:3

    For those not wanting to bother, it's the part about beams in your eye and splinters in that of another one.

    Hey, I just want to give them something they can understand, considering how many politicians ride on God and his will into the house, I'd say they should know the good book, eh?

    OK, snideness aside. Do you think this is about "freedom of speech" or similar bullcrap? It's about power. It's the attempt to dictate to foreign companies what they may or may not sell. Neither Siemens nor Nokia is a US company. It's simply an attempt to find out whether those companies rely heavily enough on US government contracts to actually bend over to US government's will.

    And that's the shameful part. IF it was about free speech, I'd be very happy for such a bold and outright good move. Similar actions taken in the US lead me to the conclusion that this is not the case. Else, why care for the splinter in someone else's eye?

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @03:27AM (#28525179) Journal

    Allowing a religious extremist terrorist philosophy like zionism to succeed is always going to be a recepe for conflict.

    If you're aiming for a quality flamebait, at least get your definitions right. Zionism was originally a secular ideology, and the majority still remains such. On the other hand, quite a few Orthodox Jews oppose Zionism [] specifically on religious grounds.

    I don't see what's extremist about Zionism either. It's really just healthy nationalism - the belief that Jews must have a state of their own. How is this extremist in and of itself (I don't claim that there aren't any specific extremist Zionist strains)?

    What's the latest position? That Hamas must accept Isreal as a Jewish state?

    I believe that accepting Israel as a state - without any further qualifications - would be a good start.

    More people die on Isreali roads than from rocket attacks, yet Isreal launches attrocities like "Operation Cast Lead".

    Israel learned early on - after going through a bunch of wars [] it didn't start - that the only language its neighbors understand is that of strength. At the same time, given the level of anti-Semitic propaganda [] in them, should they ever take over Israel, a massive genocide is a clear certainty - so, for Israel, it's quite literally a matter of survival - not just of the state itself, but of the people in it. Hence the strategy - show yourself strong; don't let the bullies off even on minor things; ensure that all opponents understand that retaliation will always come; strike pre-emptively when an invasion is imminent.

    Guess what? It's working - they're still on the map. Can't blame that for it, either - they're very much in a unique situation, with no peaceful border at all. I think the only other country in a similar position is North Korea, and look where that is...

  • by bjourne ( 1034822 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @08:56AM (#28526877) Homepage Journal

    Allowing a religious extremist terrorist philosophy like zionism to succeed is always going to be a recepe for conflict. If you're aiming for a quality flamebait, at least get your definitions right. Zionism was originally a secular ideology, and the majority still remains such. On the other hand, quite a few Orthodox Jews oppose Zionism [] specifically on religious grounds. I don't see what's extremist about Zionism either. It's really just healthy nationalism - the belief that Jews must have a state of their own. How is this extremist in and of itself (I don't claim that there aren't any specific extremist Zionist strains)?

    Zionism is its original form as formulated by Theodor Herzl was pragmatic and not at all religious as it then turned out. He thought that the solution to the persecution of Jews in Europe was to form a homeland for them somewhere in the world. The keyword is "somewhere," some of the proposed homelands where in Madagaskar, Argentina and Siberia. None of those ideas had any traction because you can't just ask a scattered people to go to some random place on earth and start a new land. The idea is laughable.

    It wasn't until they choose Palestine as the new homeland that they got support from the wider Jewish communities. Because the Torah says that is the Israelites home and Jews are the descendants of the Israelite tribes. At which point the ideology turned from "healthy nationalism" to a fundamentalist terrorist philosophy. "The Torah says the land is ours so it doesn't matter if we have to slaughter the existing inhabitants. The Torah gives us the right." The essence of Zionism is just as scary as Iran and they have abused Judaism in exactly the same way that Iran abuses Islam. The only difference is that the western world is much more forgiving of Israel than Iran which is why they can soften their extremist message. Israel is allowed to kill 1200 civilians in two weeks [] while Iran is boycotted. In both cases it is the fundamentalist crazies that are in control.

  • by BobMcD ( 601576 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:00PM (#28529523)

    My point is you can't break an embargo if you do not fall under the jurisdiction that called for it.

    And what you're failing to notice is that this is a non-point.

    While they did not technically do anything wrong, they still pissed off the people with the purse strings.

    Were they morally wrong? Probably, but business is business. Ethically, they're in the clear.

    Does this mean the Senate is forced to look favorably on it? Of course not. They still have power over their own budget rules whether the companies at hand are Swiss, German, South African, or even American. THAT is the part you're failing to grasp, from where I sit.

  • by Alarash ( 746254 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:44PM (#28530429)
    I can't see how you could be wrong. Cisco, Juniper, Microsoft, Google, and every high tech US company have been selling exactly the same thing to China for years. Why punish NSN for doing exactly the same thing in Iran? Because US companies lost the deal? I hope this is not the case and these Senators really have the interest of the Iranians at heart.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982