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How Spyware Reaches Oppressive Governments 109

New submitter blando writes "Between February and March of 2011, at the height of Egypt's tumultuous revolution, protesters stormed the offices of their feared State Security Investigations Service in Alexandria and Sixth of October city, on the edge of Cairo. It was there, amongst evidence of detentions, torture and surveillance at SSIS's headquarters, that information first came to light regarding a sales pitch by UK-based Gamma Group to Egypt's security agency for their FinFisher spyware."
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How Spyware Reaches Oppressive Governments

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  • IBM and Nazi Germany (Score:5, Informative)

    by drkim ( 1559875 ) on Monday September 10, 2012 @12:39AM (#41285069)

    This has been going on for decades.

    IBM assisted the Nazi Holocaust by providing the card reading/sorting technology which Nazi Germany used to locate and kill the ethnicities that the Germans wanted wiped out. (Jews, Gypsies, Catholics, etc.) "IBM's German subsidiary (was) known as Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Gesellschaft"

    The actual punch card code for each concentration camp were:
    Auschwitz — 001; Buchenwald — 002; Dachau — 003; Flossenbürg — 004; Gross-Rosen — 005; Herzogenbusch — 006; Mauthausen — 007; Natzweiler — 008; Neuengamme — 009; Ravensbrück — 010; Sachsenhausen — 011; and Stutthoff — 012.

  • by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi&evcircuits,com> on Monday September 10, 2012 @01:25AM (#41285243) Homepage

    But that goes in all directions. Germans were killed using German-made guns and ammo, Americans were killed by Germans using American-made guns and ammo. As a matter of fact, most of the companies that are still around today had some kind of hand in the atrocities of WWII (which was on all sides, concentration camps were in the UK, US, Japan, Russia as well as Germany). Just to throw some names around who were on all sides: Krupp (sold weapons on both sides), IBM, Kodak, Hugo Boss (clothiers), JPMorgan, Chase, Goldman Sachs, Ford, Bayer, Iveco (truck manufacturer, delivered portable gas chambers), Coca-Cola, Standard Oil, Boeing, Mitsubishi.

    In the end, the only people benefiting from war are the corporations that sell the goods.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 10, 2012 @01:37AM (#41285281)

    Just vague recollection here, but I seem to recall the german subsidiary solely designed it for this task.

    I think the opposite is true. The technology in question was developed for the US Census. Germany wanted such equipment for its own census. A census is a quite legitimate thing for a government to undertake. That this census information was useful in locating jews was tragic, but it seems a misuse of the data.

    From the wiki article the GP cites: "Richard Bernstein, writing for The New York Times Book Review, wrote that Black's case "is long and heavily documented, and yet he does not demonstrate that IBM bears some unique or decisive responsibility for the evil that was done."

  • by tqk ( 413719 ) <> on Monday September 10, 2012 @02:01AM (#41285345)

    So what you're saying is that companies should adopt the same ethics as the reading audience ...

    How about we individuals adopt the same valueless ethics in our dealings with them for as long as it takes us to take them down? We can then go back to treating other individuals with the respect they deserve. Whatever works? It's basic game theory. I'll treat you like !@#$ until you stop treating me like !@#$, ...

  • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Monday September 10, 2012 @03:09AM (#41285501) Journal
    The Hollerith Machine [] was developed for the task of processing the massive amounts of data for the census in the United States. It was the only solution in the world that could handle the job. Decades later, Germany was using these machines for its own census. Most of the data the Nazis compiled with IBM's technology was between 1934 and 1939. While the Nazis were collecting this information to track "undesirables," IBM was so proud of itself it had a plaque affixed [] to greet visitors to its Madison Ave (NY) headquarters in 1938 which read: WORLD PEACE THROUGH WORLD TRADE.
  • by rohan972 ( 880586 ) on Monday September 10, 2012 @05:54AM (#41285985)

    isn't "putting profit over all else" the very foundation of the free market capitalism?

    No, at least not according to Adam Smith. As with all ideologies practice can vary considerably from the theory. I would guess that not many people who read The Wealth of Nations take the time to first read The Theory of Moral Sentiments, and presumably can not then understand the context it was written in. []
    The Theory of Moral Sentiments is a 1759 book by Adam Smith. It provided the ethical, philosophical, psychological, and methodological underpinnings to Smith's later works, including The Wealth of Nations (1776)

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker