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HP Accused of Illegal Exportation To Iran

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the trade-tends-to-bring-people-together dept.

HP 287

AdamWeeden writes "According to research done by the Boston Globe, HP has been secretly using a third-party company to sell printers to Iran. This is illegal under a ban instituted in 1995 by then US President Bill Clinton. The third-party company, Redington Gulf, operates out of Dubai and previously stated on their web site that the company began in 1997 with 'a team of five people and the HP supplies as our first product, we started operations as the distributor for Iran,' though now the site has been changed to remove the mention of Iran. Has HP unknowingly been supplying Iran with technology or have they been trying to secretly get by the US government's export restrictions?"

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287 comments

HPSetup SSID (5, Funny)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272477)

Nice to hear that another country has its entire WLAN infastructure polluted by "Hpsetup" SSIDs!

omg!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272479)

FR1ST P0ST!!

eh hum.... (4, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272513)

>"Has HP unknowingly been supplying Iran with technology or have they been trying to secretly get by the U.S. governement's export restrictions?"

Yes.

Oh, and Timmy...please use a modern browser w/spell checking, thanks.

Re:eh hum.... (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272603)

I can't imagine that the Iran market is big enough to justify the risk of getting caught. But that's just me.

Re:eh hum.... (3, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272795)

You're right about getting caught, but it isn't HP that is at risk.

HP and other printing manufs. have worked with various govts. to enable certain embedded tracking technologies that allow security agents to trace printed materials back to the hardware used to create it.

This is all well and good, but only if your suspects use it - this is where the need to 'avoid' certain govt. regulations comes into play. And if you do it legally, then your prey might get wind of the trap. Just like in the movies, where the undercover cop gets busted right along with the bad buys so that he can continue to pull the wool over their eyes...hopefully.

Re:eh hum.... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272823)

A small market is very much justifiable for sufficiently small values of "risk of getting caught" and "likely punishment". As it so happens, sufficiently small values seem to be the state of things. Frankly, I'm not sure why HP is the story here. Sure, they are almost definitely guilty of evading the spirit of the law, and quite possibly the letter; but HP's degenerate printers aren't really a big deal. The fact that a steady stream of oh, say, oil drilling and logistical equipment(including stuff with radioisotopes) has been getting transshipped for years seems much more interesting.

It is things like this that I find interesting about the behavior of our present administration(and, I'll note, some past ones, though they tended not to play the apocalyptic side nearly as hard). When it comes to talking about how dire the threat posed by Iran, or terrorists, or whoever it is, no description is too grandiose, no measure to severe or too costly. When it comes to actually doing something that might upset the corporate sponsors, though, all that is off. The west is supposed to be locked in some sort of existential struggle of civilizations, and you are telling me that we can't keep HP from selling printers to Iran, or get Bechtel to build barracks that don't electrocute our own people?

I suppose this shouldn't really surprise me, half of American "captains of industry" seem to have spent WWII goose-stepping; but the dissonance still throws me. People talk like this is a matter of total war; but regulate like it doesn't matter at all.

Re:eh hum.... (2, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273189)

yeah, because there are a ton of good printing options in Iran.

I can see it now:

Now introducting Al-Dirka Hassan's Muhamdojet 1000! It can print 5 millihectares with a single cartridge of sheeps blood!

It is compatible with any type of papyrus or parchment!

Re:eh hum.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26273259)

Wow, 825 pages from a single cartridge, refillable at any market, and supports feeding thick paper stocks? Where can I buy such a printer?

Re:eh hum.... (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272987)

justify the risk of getting caught

Just like the drug market (or any other black market), the "risk of getting caught" is calculated into the price you pay.

ink (5, Insightful)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273061)

i think Iran should be allowed to buy printers. Ink is more expensive than oil and with HP's / Lexmark's, etc. business model, I'd say making them buy ink to print is nearly an act of economic war more effective than the trade embargo itself.

[/humor]

Re:eh hum.... (4, Informative)

Gorshkov (932507) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273229)

I can't imagine that the Iran market is big enough to justify the risk of getting caught. But that's just me.

2007 estimates put the population of Iran at 70.4 million people, good for the 17th largest country in the world. Hardly a 'small' market

Re:eh hum.... (5, Insightful)

ElGanzoLoco (642888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273477)

I can't imagine that the Iran market is big enough to justify the risk of getting caught. But that's just me.

Yeah, that's just you. An oil-rich country with 70 million inhabitants, many of them middle-class, urbanized, literate, and under 30, is a gold mine.

Don't think Iran is anything like Afghanistan or Iraq. It is among the most developed countries in the Middle-East and Central Asia, and definitely the one with the best-educated population.

As a side note, finding common computing equipment and parts there is not a problem, and virtually everything imported to Iran either transits via Dubai or (more often than not) directly bought there to wholesale companies. The goods are then loaded on small wooden boats and shipped to Iran. Most of this trade escapes any sort of control (at least on the Dubai side of things).

In other words, the "US embargo on Iran" is a frigging joke, and a total waste of time.

Oh dear god (3, Funny)

huzur79 (1441705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272515)

We gave Muslims top secret printer technology. They can now print G'Had pantalets at 28 ppm. The world will now end.

Re:Oh dear god (5, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272611)

It's not the printer technology per se, it's the ban on crypto export. Them there printers can be used to print steganographic messages :)

Re:Oh dear god (1)

remember_beos (607372) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273415)

seriously? score 5 for informative? what about score 6 for freaking hilarious?? ahh man, i think the slashdot gods missed the joke on that one... or am i really the only one that laughed out loud, jumped through hoops to log in, then got depressed to realize there was nothing i could do but comment?

Re:Oh dear god (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272725)

Intelligence shows they have some papercraft weapons of mass distruction pointed at cities all over Western Europe.

Re:Oh dear god (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26273311)

I believe they are called the Shahab 1, 2 and 3.

Re:Oh dear god (4, Funny)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272829)

"We gave Muslims top secret printer technology."

We also gave them HP printer drivers. That's like requiring them to throw shoes at themselves if they want to print.

PC LOAD LTR (5, Funny)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273087)

PC load letter! FSCK!

Re:PC LOAD LTR (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273341)

PC load letter?? Allahu Akbar!

Re:PC LOAD LTR (2, Funny)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273469)

Samir: No one in this country can ever pronounce my name right. It's not that hard: Samir Na-gheen-an-a-jar. Nagheenanajar.
Ali Khamenei: Yeah, well at least your name isn't Ali Khamenei.
Samir: You know there's nothing wrong with that name.
Ali Khamenei: There was nothing wrong with it... until I was about 12 years old and that no-talent ass clown became Supreme leader of Iran and started screaming anti-US invective.
Samir: Hmm... well why don't you just go by Al instead of Ali?
Ali Khamenei: No way. Why should I change? He's the one who sucks.

Re:Oh dear god (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272991)

They can now print G'Had pantalets at 28 ppm

What are pantalets? Tiny, tiny trousers?

ummm ... printers? (0, Redundant)

Kristoph (242780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272527)

Is it not a good think for the people of Iran to have access to printers? You know, to express their right to free speech and stuff?

Is there some military use for this stuff, I am not aware of?

]{

Re:ummm ... printers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272583)

printing American currency?

Re:ummm ... printers? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272673)

Why devalue the paper?

They already have the presses (2, Informative)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272925)

Just before the islamic revolution, the Shah had acquired US made bank note printing presses, the exact same used to make US dollars.
So they can already make the most real fake notes.

Re:ummm ... printers? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272607)

These are general economic sanctions, not merely restrictions on military technology. The Clinton-era embargo bans all commercial and financial transactions with Iran.

Re:ummm ... printers? (3, Interesting)

deft (253558) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272651)

The military is run very much like any other enterprise; cell phones, fax machines, computers, and -printers-. lots of paperwork. a big part of the military is moving data/information, documenting it, getting it in front of people to make decisions. alot of paying bills, aquiring supplies, etc.

anything that helps a business run pretty much helps the military run. the better it is, the more efficient the war machine is.

(although im sure some vets would disagree the paperwork helps anything... haha.. but you get the idea)

helping the military run .. (0, Flamebait)

rs232 (849320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272915)

"anything that helps a business run pretty much helps the military run"

Then who not ban the importation of their OIL, or how about invading Iran and liberating the OIL and then selling it back to them just like Bush did in Iraq. Only first they'll have to talk up the bogus WMD scare ..

Re:ummm ... printers? (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273005)

Yeah, the Iran War Machine is going to be FIERCE with all those printers, yeah, I'm shaking already

The US has modern planes, nuclear bombs, etc, Iran has PRINTERS, WOW, too close to call really...

Re:ummm ... printers? (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273389)

Actually, Iran's military, whether or not they're equipped with printers is one of the most modern in the region. Although their F-14 fighters are in storage to increase their lifetimes, they've reverse-engineered and heavily upgraded their F-5's to a fairly high standard. In addition, they've purchased high-end Russian fighters recently. A war between Iran and the US would be extremely costly for both sides, especially given Iran's propensity for using child soldiers.

And they can't buy it anywhere else (2, Informative)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273013)

It's not like there was another country [wikipedia.org] a few thousand km away that made all sorts of IT products, including but not limited to printers, which just happened to want to buy exactly what Iran had a lot of [wikipedia.org].

Clearly, without US-made printers, the Iranian military is unable to function properly.

globalization (1)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273129)

the printers are mostly made in China in the first place, so whose are they really? Especially in a partially command economy like China's.

Re:ummm ... printers? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272683)

They're used in Iranian torture facilities. Have you ever seen a grown man be fed through a printer feet first? I don't know if it's the most painful way to die, but it sure as hell ranks up there.

Re:ummm ... printers? (2, Insightful)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272757)

Nah, they're modern HP printers. Light pinch, then the printer breaks.

If they were LaserJet 4s, though...

Re:ummm ... printers? (1)

zaf (5944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272969)

Nah
The prisoners are forced to troubleshoot printing problems with only the message "PC LOAD LETTER"

Re:ummm ... printers? (2, Funny)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273053)

You've obviously never been in an Iranian torture facility. They strap you to a chair, and force you to watch Titanic and Spice World in full Dolby digital surround sound, and in 3D. About an hour into the movies, the prisoners beg to be fed to the HP printers.

Hey, actually, this doesn't sound like a half-bad T.V. show. "Persian Science Theater 3000"

Hooman: Abbas, what the hell are we watching?
Abbas: I don't know Hooman, the box said "Plan 9 From Outer Space." I heard it won the Golden Raspberry Award, I think they give that to the top films! Raspberries taste good, so the movie should have been good!
Kavan: Hold me, Abbas, I want to die.

[The three men gouge their own eyes out]

Re:ummm ... printers? (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272781)

"You know, express their right to free speech and stuff?"

I think what you meant to say was that printers help information flow and that could encourage people to modernize their views.
There is no free speech in Iran- it's a concept that originated in the west.

Re:ummm ... printers? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272903)

I think what you meant to say was that printers help information flow and that could encourage people to modernize their views.
There is no free speech in Iran- it's a concept that originated in the west.

I'm quite sure he meant their human rights. Iran might not honor those, but that doesn't mean Iranians don't have them. Specifically, in this case, freedom of the press.

Re:ummm ... printers? (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272953)

Did it escape your attention that some of these printers have lasers?! Now all the Iranians need are some sharks and they'll hold us all hostage for One Hundred Billion Dollars!

Thanks a lot, HP.

Re:ummm ... printers? (1)

dsginter (104154) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273291)

Is there some military use for this stuff, I am not aware of?

The build-sheet on a 5Si Laserjet is nearly equivalent to that of a Soviet T-34 [wikipedia.org] tank.

Have you never noticed the resemblance?

Wise up, man.

Unknowingly? (5, Funny)

geobeck (924637) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272555)

Has HP unknowingly been supplying Iran with technology

Only if you put big finger-quotes around "unknowingly".

On the other hand, maybe this is a secret government plot to bankrupt Iran by selling them cheap printers, then gouging them on cartridges.

Re:Unknowingly? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272699)

I don't work for HP, but I do work for a large company that has more business abroad than here in the states.

I would have to say without any doubt that this had to be done unknowingly because at the company where I work they stress to each employee not to work with certain companies (and Iran is on the list) because if we do we will be in violation of US Export laws and the US government could decide that we can't export anything to any other country. That would cause me and just about every other person in my comany to lose their jobs.

So, yeah, based on the risks of a US based company exporting to a country that the US government has sanctions against, there is absolutely no way at all that HP management knowingly shipped to Iran.

Re:Unknowingly? (4, Funny)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272841)

they stress to each employee not to work with certain companies (and Iran is on the list)

Ah, yes. The great company of Iran.

Re:Unknowingly? (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273057)

...at the company where I work they stress to each employee not to work with certain companies (and Iran is on the list) because if we do we will be in violation of US Export laws and the US government could decide that we can't export anything to any other country. That would cause me and just about every other person in my comany to lose their jobs.

That's not proof that a big company like HP wouldn't do it; just that they'd be creative in finding ways around the export restrictions.

And if they really weren't aware that this has been happening, this would be a good time unload stock in a company that hasn't got a clue about due diligence. Compare this to e-waste disposal. My company audits our e-waste recyclers, who audit their downstream recyclers, to make sure our used computers don't end up in an illegal e-waste shipment to China. If HP doesn't periodically audit its distributors, especially those in the Middle East, they're doing a pretty crappy job of covering their asses against federal prosecution--especially if the distributor boldly stated on their website that they distribute to Iran.

Re:Unknowingly? (1)

Jethro (14165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272891)

> Only if you put big finger-quotes around "unknowingly".

Also around "technology".

Those commie bastards (5, Insightful)

Murpster (1274988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272567)

Selling product to people who want them is a slap in the face of our American free market system!! How dare they!

Printers? (1)

qw0ntum (831414) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272585)

There is something wrong in the world when a private company can't sell its printers to a private buyer simply because the seller is in the US and the buyer is in Iran. I understand the reason for sanctions (whether or not I agree with that reason), but I am pretty sure that some people's liberties are being infringed due to a political disagreement they have nothing to do with. Nothing new, I guess, for Iran or the US.

Least of the problems (-1, Flamebait)

mozumder (178398) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272631)

The US killed 2 million Vietnamese people because they couldn't stand the idea of farmers having price controls on their crops.

Re:Least of the problems (4, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272919)

You know Canada had price controls on their goods in 1980, so...the US killed 2 million of us? Oh no wait you're just an uninformed troll.

Re:Printers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272825)

Nothing to do with HP or printers. Only with Iran and oil. This piece of news is part of the media onslaught making your common yank think that Iran is the most horribly evil country in the world that requires immediate "liberation". Take a look at a political map. Find Afghanistan and find Iraq. Connect the dots.

Mark my words.

corepirate nazis guilty of life0cidal exploitation (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272587)

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(deleted)http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080918/ap_on_re_us/tent_cities;_ylt=A0wNcyS6yNJIZBoBSxKs0NUE
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IBM (2, Insightful)

mozumder (178398) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272597)

This is what IBM did during WWII to avoid the ban on sales to Nazi Germany.

You are with the free market system, or you are against it.

Ixnay on the interpay (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272619)

shhhhhh.... it is a CIA ploy to bankrupt Iran via HP printer ink refills... would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for that meddling /.

Are IT embargoes even possible? (4, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272625)

Let's for a moment gloss over whether those restrictions are good ideas. Are they even possible? I mean, we're talking about computing hardware here, the kind of stuff you can buy anywhere in the world without identification. It's not like a ban on nuclear materials where there's a limited supply and you can watch the sources pretty closely. So if HP quits selling to Iran, what's to stop them from buying from Turkey or England or India or Japan or China, and how could we ever pretend to know or that we could prevent it?

Re:Are IT embargoes even possible? (5, Informative)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272885)

So if HP quits selling to Iran, what's to stop them from buying from Turkey or England or India or Japan or China, and how could we ever pretend to know or that we could prevent it?

Absolutely nothing, and in fact, that is what already happens. Embargoes against Iran are impossible. During my last trip there, the shops were littered with pretty much the same consumer goods - both electronic and not - that you would find here in the States.

For goods produced by U.S. companies, there is always a middle-man involved. I am not 100% sure who, but from talking to several small-business owners over there, they get most of their U.S. produced goods through Italy. There is a big mark-up on hardware, however. You can expect to pay the equivalent of several hundred dollars more for a top-of-the-line graphics card by Nvidia, for instance.

I know you're not really discussing whether they are a good idea, but I can't help but share my two cents. The embargoes are about as retarded as the ones on Cuba are. The embargoes will never "punish" the Iranian government as they will always have enough wealth and power to get whatever they want from Dubai. The people who suffer are the citizens of Iran who actually LIKE the U.S. and want a friendly, normal relationship.

With the trade deficit being as high as it is, and with a huge market in Iran wanting U.S. made items, it really makes no sense to keep these restrictions, especially since they are getting it through third-parties anyway.

Re:Are IT embargoes even possible? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273197)

For goods produced by U.S. companies, there is always a middle-man involved.

What does the US actually "produce" anyways? Is there even one printer assembly line in the US? At some point we are going to realize letting other countries do all the hard work gives them power and prevents us from dictating terms.

Re:Are IT embargoes even possible? Proactive? (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273271)

HP is just being proactive. They feig... umm, COIned the term "Invent" regarding their public side of business. Privately, it seems, they CIRCUMvent.... Let's leave 'em alone to privacy. They're just ... venting..

Re:Are IT embargoes even possible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272967)

1, 2, or 3 yeah easy to get away with. For an office you need 30+, that is expensive and a pain to sneak in.

Re:Are IT embargoes even possible? (1)

hackerjoe (159094) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272975)

I would imagine they work pretty much the same way bans, embargoes, and tariffs work for all goods: exports and imports are declared by the sender and inspected at the border. The government bodies that deal with imports and exports have been doing it for a really long time.

That's not to say smuggling doesn't happen, but I think by now it's a pretty well-understood problem.

When the ban was put in place the people who put it in place surely knew roughly how many printers were likely to be smuggled in from the US anyway, how many would come from sources in other countries, etc. I can believe there wasn't a good reason for passing the law, but assuming they were completely ignorant of the possibility of smuggling is going a little far...

Re:Are IT embargoes even possible? (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273073)

I would imagine they work pretty much the same way bans, embargoes, and tariffs work for all goods: exports and imports are declared by the sender and inspected at the border.

We (the US) have inspectors at every entry point into Iran? Remember, it's us trying to keep them from importing, not them trying to keep themselves from doing it.

Re:Are IT embargoes even possible? (4, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273027)

Not only that, but the company that's actually selling inside Iran is in Dubai. So how is this HP's fault in the first place? Last time I checked, we don't have any sanctions on Dubai, so it's perfectly legal for HP to sell its products to that middleman. Unless the sanction means that US companies can't even do business with people who do business with other people in Iran, but then how the hell do you police that?

All sanctions manage to accomplish is to give a dictatorial regime a convenient boogeyman for all their nation's problems. I'd like someone to list one time when sanctions actually accomplished anything useful beyond simply starving the innocent population of a nation of goods and services they might otherwise have bought.

Besides, if we removed the sanctions on Iran, they'd be covered in McDonald's, Starbucks, and Wal-Mart Supercenters with the latest American Idol blaring out of every speaker in the country so damn fast it would make your head spin. Now THAT's how you conquer another people without wasting money on bombs and bullets.

Re:Are IT embargoes even possible? (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273203)

I was out on a shopping trip in Kuwait City with some friends and coworkers. We were in uniform - plainly US military. A rug merchant invited us to inspect his store.

"These are the very best rugs you can get. Iranian quality. Very best. Best prices," he assured us. One of my friends caught this and asked "are these Iranian rugs?" Iranian products are illegal to import in to the US. The store keeper paused his sales pitch for a brief second. "These are Persian rugs. Very best quality. You can buy these." He then produced a roll of small stickers that read "Made in Pakistan."

I'm not versed in rugs. I couldn't tell you where these were made. I could believe they were knock-offs from Pakistan. I wouldn't be surprised to find out they really came from Iran as the merchant originally implied. I do know a few small rugs went home to the US after our deployment.

Re:Are IT embargoes even possible? (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273269)

Are they even possible? I mean, we're talking about computing hardware here, the kind of stuff you can buy anywhere in the world without identification.

For the sake of argument, let's say it is. I think it's pretty arrogant of our Congress to think that only the US is capable of making printers, computers, anything in aerospace, or any other technology. But in passing these laws, they just hurt our export business and as a result, our economy. Just look at the aerospace industry. Congress passed this restrictive law and the only thing that happened was that other countries created their own technology and now has taken a major chunk of US business. Yes, I understand that there should be restrictions on some things (stealth and nukes for example), but run of the mill technology that's easy to reproduce?

We should be trading with them and everyone! (4, Insightful)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272771)

At a time where our economy is taking a beating we should be glad that someone is willing to buy our stuff, even if they are crappy and actually made in China.

Re:We should be trading with them and everyone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272939)

Insightful?

Trade sanctions are supposed to be a response (ie: invading another country, developing nuclear weapons, etc).

If sanctions with Iran are a bad idea when the US economy is in the dumps, then they're a bad idea when it's not.

Trade restrictions of this type are not a tool to prop-up a failing, or protect a strong economy.

If the trade sanctions imposed on Iran are unjust then remove them for that reason, not because out pocket books are a little tighter.

This is gona hurt a bit... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272865)

HP recently acquired EDS.
EDS holds the contract for NavyMarineCorpsIntranet.
aforementioned contract is up for renewal soon.

I can't imagine this helping EDS, An HP Company to re-win the contract.

a total non issue .. (1)

rs232 (849320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26272875)

Apart from HP there are dozens of US companies who utilize the same methods of bypassing the pretend ban. Now what would be more believable was if the US banned the importation of Iranian OIL and locked up some OIL executives ..

Iran and HP printers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26272935)

They will use the parts of the printers to make nuclear bombs....

The question (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273007)

"Has HP unknowingly been supplying Iran with technology or have they been trying to secretly get by the U.S. governement's export restrictions?"

Nope! They haven't been doing it unknowingly.

How can they stop that anyway? (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273035)

If Iran wants HP printers, what's to stop some guy from going into a store in any other country where HP printers are available. Then, you just take them back to Iran. It's not like it's a nuclear sub or something. It's a printer for cryin' out loud. It fits in carry-on luggage. Of course, the Iranians would pay a hefty premium using such methods. It'd be easier to make wholesale arrangements via a 3rd country, which is probably what this deal ammounts to. If HP can wholesale printers in countries that aren't sanctioning Iran, then it's game over--our hypothetical shopkeeper would just leave the printers in their pallet, impose a modest markup, and send them on to their final destination.

Oh well... tilting at windmills. I mean, this is the same government mentality the brought us the "you must state you are not from Iran before you download 128-bit encryption". Because, you know... Iranians can't copy 128-bit Netscape from one of their relatives who came back with a CD-ROM, and they would never lie.

Didn't some TLA fund tor development? (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273083)

TLA=Three Letter Agency
They can use tor to download anything they want from any US server, or they can simply connect to any other countries' mirrors.
That's why reading this [mozilla.org] is always mind-boggingly hilarious:

This source code is subject to the U.S. Export Administration Regulations and other U.S. laws, and may not be exported or re-exported to certain countries (currently Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria) or to persons or entities prohibited from receiving U.S. exports (including those (a) on the Bureau of Industry and Security Denied Parties List or Entity List, (b) on the Office of Foreign Assets Control list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, and (c) involved with missile technology or nuclear, chemical or biological weapons).

Hm, yeah, right, sure.

Re:How can they stop that anyway? (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273267)

Federal prison? The federal government does investigate and prosecute people who violate export control laws. Try buying some surplus aircraft parts and shipping them to Iran.

Ooooh (4, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273045)

That explains why those guys are so pissed off at the West. It really didn't add up for a while. I mean our policies of colonialism and arrogance might be a bit irksome, but it's no reason to want to kill us. But those poor bastards have had to talk to use HP hardware and talk to HP tech support. Yeah... now I understand where they're coming from. Perhaps now that HP's been busted and will no doubt be forced to stop, our relations with Iran will improve...

Tempting to oversimplify/personify companies.. (1)

hdon (1104251) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273117)

It may be tempting to personify companies, but they aren't persons, they're people (snicker.) Somebody at HP knew. Some people didn't. Only a proper investigation will bring us closer to knowing. But don't imagine it's as simple as HP being 100% guilty or 100% innocent.

Whether (and how) to penalize HP is a much more interesting question since such penalties are for -- I hope -- their deterrent effect.

Let me just say (1)

moniker127 (1290002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273121)

Fuck the ban. Is this or is this not a free market? Export restrictions are bull. If someone else wants to buy our stuff, then let them.

Re:Let me just say (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273323)

That's what many people said about scrap metal and oil exports to Japan before December 7th, 1941.

Cunning Plan (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26273159)

Sell them (Iran) ink more expensive than oil until they become bankrupt.

subject (1)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273193)

so this entire story is based on a retailer web page?

please find us something more interesting, dear slashdot god.

What would the Secret Service do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26273237)

Would the Iranian government be smart enough to know that the Secret Service has microprinting turned on by default? Would the Secret Service be smart enough to further tamper with the hardware for.. remote access?

http://www.eff.org/issues/printers [eff.org]

Follow the money (5, Interesting)

LenE (29922) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273325)

Around 1998 I got hired by a company that manufactured medical lab equipment. Just before I started, they got a HUGE order from Iraq, which at the time, was under UN embargo and the scandal-ridden oil-for-food program.

The type and quantity of equipment that was ordered was ASTOUNDING, and sent alarm bells off through-out my organization. This was an enormous order, which amounted to about 70% of our typical annual production (world-wide) for the specific products. On top of that, there was a second order for spare parts to fully rebuild 2/3 of the original order. The equipment was specifically designed to grow bacterial and viral cultures on a very large scale for research. 60 Minutes had just done an investigative report on Saddam's chief biological weapons expert, who to most western news was only known as "Dr. Germ".

Our organization was struggling, and we really needed the revenue. To the workers on the floor, it meant that the lay-offs had stopped, for the moment.

I was dismayed that the organization was not in the position just reject the order on principle. Instead, they submitted the order to Clinton Administration's Commerce Department and set up a contingency plan to sell the equipment through multiple intermediary companies if permission was denied. Our CEO then made a large donation to the Democratic National Committee, and magically the sale was approved and blessed by the Commerce Department as "Humanitarian Medical Equipment", which it clearly was not.

Many can claim that no WMD's were found in Iraq, but I have a very good insight to the scale of the program that they had put in place. Almost all politicians have a price, and none are as pure as the wind-driven snow. Where there is money to be made, the barriers can be overcome.

One would think that HP's consumer goods could not be easily adapted to nefarious purposes (beyond counterfeiting), but you never know. Most laser printers do contain processors that are far beyond the capability allowed to pass through the embargo. Desperate people become very resourceful.

-- Len

Re: Printers to Iran (1)

Streetlight (1102081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273413)

I remember reading that before the 1st Iraq war printers sold to Iraq had some kind of radio targeting devices installed that allowed smart bombs to find their aiming points. I don't know if that was true, but this could be a CIA or US military ploy to find good targets.

Gulf War (1)

MouseR (3264) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273423)

Accidental my a$$.

This is precisely what went on prior to the Gulf War. US-made printers were smuggled into Iraq and laced with transponder chips that acted as beacons for air strikes and special ops.

Access to Technical Support (1)

Ohio Calvinist (895750) | more than 5 years ago | (#26273437)

I wonder if HP is allowed (under the embargo) to provide technical support over the phone, over the web, or via download for customers (direct or indirect) from Iran or other embargoed countries. It would be easy enough to tell if the caller's number is a 011+98+n prefix, if the e-mail address or hostname ends with .ir If that is the case I'd feel bad for the legitimate business who buys a new printer from a reseller and can't get any support for it from the manufacturer (if that is the case).

If they did provide the support, they'd have to admit they knowingly had post-embargo products over there, and I would imagine uncle Sam would find that helping an embargoed state with an IT/Business problem actively is worst than tossing a box of hardware at them and letting them figure it out. Then again, I can't say HP support has ever really been that helpful (or timely; the embargo will probably be over before they actually got some support; but that is a different story).

I think I'm with everyone else in that the embargo is "wishful thinking" on the government's part, and they haven't learned that all the embargo does is drive up the prices (e.g. cuban cigars) and make a middleman (such as canadian tobacco shops) wealthier than their US counterparts. If the dictaror (whose name I can't remember off the top of my head) in Iran wants an iPod to superclusters of linux PCs as a poor mans supercomputer, this isn't going to stop him; but might deny or drive the price up for the average citizen who would love some US medicine or blue jeans.
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