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Siemens, Nokia Helped Provide Iran's Censoring Tech

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the well-that's-not-very-nice dept.

Politics 280

An anonymous reader writes "The Wall Street Journal has an article about Nokia and Siemens selling the censoring technology to Iran's government. Do you believe that the public relations damage to these companies can persuade them from selling this kind of technology to other dictatorial regimes?" I don't believe there will *be* any PR Damage, and that makes me a little sad.

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Hell NO! They'll Probably Use As A Selling Point! (5, Insightful)

Dr_Ken (1163339) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420425)

I'm sure first and second world dictatorships all over the world will be looking at buying that technology.

Re:Hell NO! They'll Probably Use As A Selling Poin (5, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420461)

I'm sure that here in the UK the government is already enquiring on how they can do the same.

Re:Hell NO! They'll Probably Use As A Selling Poin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28420563)

Not for long. [metagovernment.org]

Re:Hell NO! They'll Probably Use As A Selling Poin (1)

ActusReus (1162583) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420869)

Why is this modded "Funny" rather than "Insightful"?

Re:Hell NO! They'll Probably Use As A Selling Poin (2, Informative)

pha7boy (1242512) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421027)

because it assumes that the UK government does not have the technology already, and as such it is both funny and naive :)

Re:Hell NO! They'll Probably Use As A Selling Poin (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28421457)

I work at Siemens and I can tell you that they already have the same technology

Re:Hell NO! They'll Probably Use As A Selling Poin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28420845)

Of course democracies, like the U.S., would never consider buying deep packet inspection to spy on their own citizens.

Re:Hell NO! They'll Probably Use As A Selling Poin (1)

Apatharch (796324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421097)

Certainly not. Why would they buy it when they can just pass laws forcing ISPs to do it for them?

Re:Hell NO! They'll Probably Use As A Selling Poin (1, Troll)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421453)

Of course the US is planning for deep packet inspection.

"Free Market, YAY!!!"

If one of you "free market" ideologues can explain to me what market force would possibly address high-tech sales to tyrants, I'd love to hear it.

Whenever I hear someone from the Right talking about how "free markets" support individual and political liberty, I am just amazed. In fact, the result of any "free market" will always be a corporatocracy or at least a close working relationship between widespread tyrannical governments and the most powerful corporations. They are made for each other. Further (and this is a slightly different issue) Capitalism will always result in some form of slavery.

You won't hear that on the Sunday morning news/talk shows, though.

Technology? It was a class of service change! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28420939)

There is nothing special about what they did... It was a class of service change for non government services, pure and simple... any PBX and a good administrator can block, downgrade or restrict outgoing calls per user or by class of service (you know, the restriction class for In-house, local and long distance service...) They just restricted everyone to local calls...

Re:Technology? It was a class of service change! (2, Funny)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421151)

There is nothing special about what they did...

Exactly. Besides, Nokia LGPL'd Qt. They could invade Iran, and still keep good PR.

Re:Technology? It was a class of service change! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28421279)

Nokia LGPL'd Qt.

words. use them.

Re:Hell NO! They'll Probably Use As A Selling Poin (1)

Apatharch (796324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421179)

If they did, they would have to look elsewhere than Nokia/Siemens:

The joint venture exited the business that included the monitoring equipment, what it called "intelligence solutions," at the end of March, by selling it to Perusa Partners Fund 1 LP, a Munich-based investment firm, Mr. Roome said. He said the company determined it was no longer part of its core business.

They dumped that division before the shitstorm got started, no doubt hoping to sidestep it in the process.

Re:Hell NO! They'll Probably Use As A Selling Poin (5, Insightful)

EatHam (597465) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421401)

Not after seeing what a piss poor job it did at actually preventing information leakage.

Not unless... (4, Insightful)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420445)

There won't be any PR damage, unless people make a huge stink out of it.
It's not like the world will wake up and think of them as "evil" unless they're told to think of them that way.
This is a good time for another couple companies to step in and blast away.

Re:Not unless... (3, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420483)

All countries, as far as I'm aware, mandate some sort of monitoring and/or censorship from the communications companies which operate within them, whether it's US delivery companies, UK ISPs etc. Why single out Iran? Are you saying Nokia shouldn't operate in Iran; they should break the law there; what?

Remember South African apartheid? (5, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420763)

Why single out Iran? Are you saying Nokia shouldn't operate in Iran; they should break the law there; what?

I'm guessing a lot of people reading this have the former in mind: information technology companies in the industrialized world shouldn't operate in countries that place restrictions on political speech to the extent seen in the countries on which the United States already has sanctions. In the 1980s, near the end of South Africa's counterpart to the U.S. "Jim Crow" era [wikipedia.org] , there was an effort to boycott companies that did business in South Africa: disinvestment [wikipedia.org] was a result.

Re:Remember South African apartheid? (4, Interesting)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421241)

South Africa is a good example of the western world wielding sanctions (economic and otherwise) for good effect but I think it's worth considering the differences between Iran and South Africa.

The South African ruling classes valued their place in the western world and it hurt them to lose that relationship. I'm not sure the same can be said of Iran, I think a large proportion of them would be quite happy to have the west as an enemy they can blame for their woes, there is no good relationship to be lost, only the ability to make everyday Iranians poorer.

As far as Nokia and Siemens goes I think it's also worth thinking about how their technology is also empowering everyday Iranians. No doubt some of the footage and messages being passed around in recent days comes from Nokia/Siemens equipment. I'd bet their overall effect is a net benefit in terms of freedom so asking them to avoid selling anything to the country would be a mistake.

Information technology will empower the Iranian people no matter how many barriers the Iranian government may hope to put up more and more stuff will leak through. I agree that we should pressure companies to stay clear of ethically dubious things the government there does but avoiding the country entirely would be a mistake.

Why the selective outrage, liberals? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28420613)

After all, it was only a few days ago that your messiah Obama said that he saw little difference between the two candidates. Of course, he switched positions within days as he often does when he realizes that his original neophyte reaction is out-of-touch with reality... And what about our faux allies in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia and Jordan, who don't even humor their people by pretending to have an election? At least the Iranians tried to pretend to listen to their citizens. Could you sheep PLEASE do me a favor and stop letting your government lead you into wars so easily? You all are a bunch of fickle shit-for-brains meat sacks.

Re:Why the selective outrage, liberals? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28421137)

You're asking liberals to maintain a consistent world view. In my experience, that's asking alot. For example, these are the people who want us the believe that human life has no intrinsic value, yet in the same breath will utter some nonsense about animal rights. Their ethics are firmly rooted in the shifting sands of whatever argument happens to be convenient for them in the moment.

BTW, does anyone else think that Michelle Obama looks like Max Zorin's girlfriend Mayday in "A View to A Kill?" Both are man-ish, angry, ball-busting biatches. From now on I will only refer to her as Mayday.

Re:Not unless... (1)

Kulfaangaren! (1294552) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421621)

I agree that what Iran is doing is wrong, however, I do not think companies should be the ones to dictate foreign policies towards other countries not even evil dictatorships. The ones that should react more strongly are the governments of the world. The Finnish and German governments should impose these export restrictions just as the US does butuntil they do, I do not think Nokia/Siemens should avoid exporting to Iran.

There is an other example of western tech ending up in Iran's missile research program in the news today. AMD Opteron processors power their numbercrunchersupercomputer ( http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&taxonomyName=knowledge_center&articleId=340338&taxonomyId=1&intsrc=kc_top [computerworld.com] ). My point is, this technology will end up being used by these countries no matter what we do. They can steal it, they can buy it in a neighboring country and illegally export it to Iran. Only nation sanctioned/enforced embargos can have any kind of effect on an other nation and in some cases not even these embargos work.

it's the kind of world we live in ! (5, Insightful)

po134 (1324751) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420469)

These are capitalist corporations. Their goal is to make money. People are willing to buy censorship technology (just look at any government office). Why do you act shocked that this is happening?

Re:it's the kind of world we live in ! (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420487)

agree. That, and if we were to have some sort of a committee to decide who could sell what to whom overseas, (beyond existing limits to say, military technology) we'd never be able to get anything sold overseas.

Is it really up to the public to decide who I can do business with overseas? I think not.

Re:it's the kind of world we live in ! (5, Insightful)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420803)

agree. That, and if we were to have some sort of a committee to decide who could sell what to whom overseas, (beyond existing limits to say, military technology) we'd never be able to get anything sold overseas.

Is it really up to the public to decide who I can do business with overseas? I think not.

You damn well bet it's up to the public, if they so decide it is. Who exactly do you think grants corporate charters? Santa Claus?

We, as the public, have a shameful record of actually expecting, much less enforcing, that corporations be expected to behave in an ethical and appropriate manner. However, we do have every right to demand it if we'd get off our asses and do it. We give them the charter, we grant the limited liability, and usually, we pay a substantial portion of that nine-digit bonus the CEO got last year too. Sometimes, many members of the public are even part owners of the company via stock purchase. So yes, the public has say over corporate behavior, in a much more general sense than just overseas conduct.

Now only if we would start to use that on a regular basis. I can dream, can't I?

Re:it's the kind of world we live in ! (2, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421441)

Yeah, it's a dream. In order to get the populace informed regarding what they are entitled to do, what their rights are, and what they should expect in return, you'll need to get hold of their attention, and that means a slot in the adverts of Britain's Got Talent, front page of The Sun, or get Jeremy Vine to argue counter-points with you.

As all but the last have an interest in selling disinformation to the masses, or just irrelevant "news" I believe you're SOOL.

Maybe if you can get Amy Winehouse to do something unhygenic with one of their products, you'll get the ball rolling.

Re:it's the kind of world we live in ! (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421183)

If it is all about money, and the public is a large supply of that cash flow, then yes the public can decide. The business in question might not appreciate it, but if enough people boycott a company for moral reasons the company has to seriously consider its actions as to whether they will take more damage than they benefit from some action. EA loosened their DRM for Spore after significant public outrage over the 3 install limit and other restrictions - sure it wasn't what most people were hoping for, but it is a recent demonstration that companies have to listen to the public.

Re:it's the kind of world we live in ! (1)

Apatharch (796324) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421285)

Is it really up to the public to decide who I can do business with overseas? I think not.

Yeah, it's not like trade embargoes actually matter...

</sarcasm>

On second thought, maybe you're right.

Re:it's the kind of world we live in ! (-1, Flamebait)

XavierItzmann (687234) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420947)

But since they are Europeans, they happily trade with the enemy.

Re:it's the kind of world we live in ! (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421559)

You mean like this" [guardian.co.uk] ?

Re:it's the kind of world we live in ! (0, Troll)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421023)

These are capitalist corporations. Their goal is to make money. People are willing to buy censorship technology (just look at any government office). Why do you act shocked that this is happening?

Good point. Unfortunately if Nokia and Siemens didn't sell it, somebody else would. Nokia surprises me, but not Siemens. The Germans have always loved money and they have no ethical problems with doing business with unfriendly states. I can remember back when Ronald Reagan was president that there were issues with German companies that made illegal or quasi-illegal deals with various unfriendly nations just to make a little money, so this kind of thing has gone on for some time.

Re:it's the kind of world we live in ! (0, Offtopic)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421163)

And, of course, during the second world war, when the "Arbeit" in "Arbeit macht frei" was not infrequently for Siemens...

Re:it's the kind of world we live in ! (3, Informative)

tao (10867) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421189)

Yeah, those pesky bastards in Germany doing business with unfriendly nations, while the glorious Ronald 'Iran-Contra [wikipedia.org] ' Reagan did not at all organise weapons shipments to Iran. Not all all. No sir...

Re:it's the kind of world we live in ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28421513)

Didn't some US companies sell poison gas to Iraq during the Reagan presidency ?

Sure, I'll start to boycott them like I do with... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28420475)

... Cisco... ... after finding out they collude with the Chinese government for censorship and spying.

Look how much that's slowing them down!

Surprise surprise (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28420489)

Needless to say, Motorola manufactured chips used in land mines. IBM manufactured some nasty stuff for WWII. There will be no PR fallout from this. Nobody wants to know.

Re:Surprise surprise (5, Interesting)

pirhana (577758) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420669)

Iran, regardless of all the shortcomings and issues IS a democracy. Most of the other countries in gulf region(Like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) are under family dictatorships and worse tyrannies. And US/EU governments and corporations sell everything including weapons to them. I think this is far worse than selling technology to Iran.

Re:Surprise surprise (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420837)

Precisely - this is just a case of 'who do we like today' verses 'who do we dislike today'. The western world was all for selling Iran complex military machines (F-14s with AIM-54 Phoenix missiles among other things) when the country was under the Shah dictatorship, to the extent that there was a huge panic when the Shah was deposed. Infact there still is a huge panic about those weapons, take a look at the extent the US went to to ensure the Iranian air force did not benefit from blackmarket spares stolen from museums when the US Navy retired their F-14s from active service.

Re:Surprise surprise, really? (2, Insightful)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420887)

When is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei up for reelection? Who ran against him in the last election?

Re:Surprise surprise (1)

Starayo (989319) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420905)

Isn't Iran a theocracy?

Re:Surprise surprise (3, Informative)

cabjf (710106) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421095)

To call it one or the other would be incorrect. It has parts that are Theocratic (Supreme Leader and group of clerics overseeing everything) and Democratic (elected President, etc).

Re:Surprise surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28421229)

Yes, it is a theocracy pretending to be a democracy. Like Iraq was pretending to be a democracy so many years ago.

Re:Surprise surprise (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28420999)

Iran, regardless of all the shortcomings and issues IS a democracy. Most of the other countries in gulf region(Like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) are under family dictatorships and worse tyrannies. And US/EU governments and corporations sell everything including weapons to them. I think this is far worse than selling technology to Iran.

BULLSHIT

The only candidates allowed to run are selected by the true rulers of the country - the mad mullahs.

Re:Surprise surprise (2, Insightful)

srjh (1316705) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421091)

Iraq was technically a democracy as well. It's just that Saddam happened to get 100% of the vote every time.

"Democracy" isn't the first word to come to my head when describing Iran... the recent events have done nothing to suggest otherwise.

Re:Surprise surprise (3, Informative)

pirhana (577758) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421287)

> Iraq was technically a democracy as well. It's just that Saddam happened to get 100% of the vote every time.

Iran democracy is way better than Iraq(old) one. For e.g even now the candidates who are dead against president Nejad were allowed to contest. And as I said in previous post, other countries like Saudi have NO election at all ! They have even worse filtering of internet. I am typing this from Saudi where even some of google pages are blocked(like language tools). What is the point in selling everything to these countries and bitching against selling something to Iran ?

> "Democracy" isn't the first word to come to my head when describing Iran... the recent events have done nothing to suggest otherwise.

Thats because western media are showing a very biased story of the Iran issues. Were the western reporters and observers able to see any solid evidence of rigging the election ? I doubt. The reason Nejad won the election with such a huge margin is because of his popularity among rural mass. The so called "reformist's" influence is confined to Tehran and surrounding areas only.

Re:Surprise surprise (4, Informative)

linumax (910946) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421175)

Iran, regardless of all the shortcomings and issues IS a democracy

Who are you kidding? One un-elected guy has godly powers. He can do anything he likes.
Every "election" that happens, candidates are screened for loyalty to that unelected guy and Islam, if found not loyal enough, they are barred. And democracy is not just about elections. What is democracy without freedom of speech? freedom to peacefully protest? etc.

I'm baffled by your idea of what constitutes a democracy. "It sucks less than Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, so it's a democracy!"

Iran used to be a quasi-democracy, after the recent "election" (read coup) Khamenei gave a big fuck you to people and said we're not even going to bother counting votes anymore.

Re:Surprise surprise (1)

pirhana (577758) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421389)

> Every "election" that happens, candidates are screened for loyalty to that unelected guy and Islam, if found not loyal enough, they are barred. And democracy is not just about elections.

Then how come candidates like Mousavi came to election and won the second place ?

> Iran used to be a quasi-democracy, after the recent "election" (read coup) Khamenei gave a big fuck you to people and said we're not even going to bother counting votes anymore.

Show me solid evidence like international observers findings for the "coup" in election . Then I would believe you. Because frankly speaking, I have not seen anything other than reports about "protests"

Party Talk (5, Interesting)

AB3A (192265) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420793)

"...so, what do you do?"

"I sell net censoring software."

"Really? Who buys that stuff?"

"Oh, lots of people. We have ISP customers from around the world."

"What do they use it for?"

"You know, censoring kiddie porn sites, blocking mail spammers, and so on." ...

I think that's a pretty good description of what this is about. People are selling tools. The problem is how those tools are used. There are evil shit-heads all over the world. That does not mean the tools themselves are evil.

Re:Party Talk (2, Insightful)

zippyspringboard (1483595) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420915)

" People are selling tools. The problem is how those tools are used. There are evil shit-heads all over the world. That does not mean the tools themselves are evil.

This is precisely why censorship of ANY form is bad.

move along (1)

HaymarketRiot (931189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420495)

People, in general, don't know or care enough about the situation in Iran to warrant any kind of significant response to this.

More propaganda (5, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420497)

From TFA

"It couldn't be determined whether the equipment from Nokia Siemens Networks is used specifically for deep packet inspection."

So in other words a European venture sold a bunch of equipment to Iran for network usage and (also FTFA)

If you sell networks, you also, intrinsically, sell the capability to intercept any communication that runs over them."

It sounds like a beat up to me. What would the story be if a US company had sold the equipment to Iran? (yeah I know .. trade embargo etc) This story smells of sour grapes.

Re:More propaganda (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420621)

It sounds like a beat up to me.

Alright! It's a good ole fashion Beatles burning! Everyone pour out into the streets with your wireless routers, modems and network cards. I'll bring the gasoline and matches! Remember not to inhale the smoke from the blue and green flames on that burning plastic. After that, we storm our local ISPs and demand all their networking gear for the same fate!

Did you know that this hardware can also be used to transmit and receive kiddie porn? I'm shocked we didn't take action long ago, it should be condemned just like any person that would send or transmit such foul material!

With coordinated strikes, the internet shall be pure and whole once again and your homes will be safe!

Re:More propaganda (3, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420741)

You are using those phrases out of context (although the second one is BS). The equipment they sold them is for deep packet inspection - is there any *good* use for that equipment?

Re:More propaganda (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421483)

Installing in Government buildings and having the output piped to a publicly available website for peer review?

Re:More propaganda (2, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420749)

I'm sure that Iran would rather Nokia had never sold them network infrastructure in the first place, the way it's turned out.

Re:More propaganda (4, Insightful)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420893)

Seriously, Why blame the technology ? I mean don't we use the same argument when defending bittorrent?

It's not the technology it's the people who put it to use.

Re:More propaganda (1)

addsalt (985163) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421587)

Exactly. While I believe corporations should act ethically, that specifically involves following both the spirit and the letter of the laws of the countries they operate in. It is a dangerous road if we expect corporations to be responsible for what people do with their equipment. Jim Beam and GM are not responsible for drunk drivers, nor is Smith and Wesson responsible for homicide. I prefer corporations to hold a common carrier status. It is the job of politicians to help govern what should and should not be done with the equipment available. The outcry should be against Iran's government, not Nokia.

Re:More propaganda (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420951)

It couldn't be determined whether the equipment from Nokia Siemens Networks is used specifically for deep packet inspection.

So they need to perform deep packet inspection on their deep packet inspectors?

Re:More propaganda (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421135)

What would the story be if a US company had sold the equipment to Iran?
It would be a story in some areas, FoxNews did a bunch of stuff when it came out that US companies* were selling stuff to Iran; last year when this came out.

Since Finland probably does not have any trade enbargo against Iran it is perfectly alright for them to sell any equipment they own and it not a story.
* Companies like Coke, GE, etc do not sell from thier US companies to Iran. Most huge companies have seperate cutout corporations that are run in different countries and those are what sell to Iran. So it was Coke Ireland and GE France that sold Iran not Coke USA or GE USA.

And weapons... (1, Insightful)

torrija (993870) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420515)

first we should stop selling them weapons.

Nokia aren't doing anything wrong (5, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420531)

All they're doing is selling the Iranian government some mobile telecommunications infrastructure. What the government decide to do with said infrastructure is entirely their responsibility.

Sophistry, I hear you say? Only about to the same degree as that moron who was arguing with me here, that the author of the World of Warcraft Glider bot should not be sued by Blizzard; because he wasn't doing anything against the rules himself. All he was doing was creating a macro generation program; what other people did with it was entirely their own responsibility.

Re:Nokia aren't doing anything wrong (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420881)

Well, they sold them telecom infrastructure, but the contract mandated a "monitoring centre" which Iran could then kit out with network-meddling equipment acquired from God knows who (the article isn't clear). Now, you could argue that giving the average Iranian access to cellphones and the internet balances out the (somewhat shoddy) web filtering, but it doesn't change the fact that Nokia did contribute to the operation.

Yo! Americam Imperialist Pigs (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28420537)

Leave Iran to Iran.

It almost never happens (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420569)

Sadly, we've come to accept most modern corporations as pretty much ammoral when it comes to stuff like this, and they're rarely ever held accountable in any meaningful way. The bulk of the population will no more hold this against Nokia/Seimens than they will hold Volkswagon responsible for its early Nazi roots (does it invoke Godwin's Law to mention that?), Yahoo/Google responsible for selling out dissidents in China, etc., etc.

Let Their Big Friend in the Sky Help Them (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28420589)

Anyone who professes to that an imaginary being is responsible for everything is insane and doesn't deserve any benefit of science. Jonas Salk, Louis Pasteur, Thomas Edison, Galileo Galilei, and the other great minds have saved more souls and advanced humanity further than any Mullah, Pastor, or Priest of any faith. The Mad Mullahs of Iran don't deserve cell phones or any other bit of technology.
Yeah, it's a rant, but I'm just tired of religious nut jobs of any type forcing their superstitions on anyone else.

Re:Let Their Big Friend in the Sky Help Them (2, Interesting)

Bashae (1250564) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420737)

Marin Mersenne [wikipedia.org]

Gregor Mendel [wikipedia.org]

Julius Nieuwland [wikipedia.org]

Georges Lemaitre [wikipedia.org]

You fanatic atheists are just as bad, if not worse, than fanatic religious believers. Your baseless hatred and uninformed blunders don't lend you a lot of credibility, you know?

True scientists are open minded. Fortunately for the world, both the people you mentioned and the people I mentioned were not like you.

Re:Let Their Big Friend in the Sky Help Them (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420865)

When we start long bloody wars or we burn heretics, then come and talk.

Until then you are just spouting mindless hyperbole.

Ultimately, your hyperbole is it's own most convincing disproof of itself.

Re:Let Their Big Friend in the Sky Help Them (1)

Bashae (1250564) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421013)

Did any of these people, or I, start a long bloody war or burn anyone?

Can you explain to me how, exactly, sharing a belief with criminals who live far away or lived hundreds of years ago and who I never met makes me one?

If you like yoghurt and so did Hitler, can I reproach you for that? (I know, I know, Godwin.)

See Mersenne, who I mentioned in my previous post. He was a friend and defender of Galileo, mentioned by the OP. Galileo was persecuted by the inquisition, but defended by this theologian. Does it really make sense to stereotype them all into evil monsters? I don't think so.

Re:Let Their Big Friend in the Sky Help Them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28421059)

Every one of the people you list was a Scientist. They were also religious figures, but that is mitigated by their real contributions.

I'm not an atheist; I am a Deist. Some forms of hatred have merit; I hate oppression.

Re:Let Their Big Friend in the Sky Help Them (1)

Bashae (1250564) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421169)

And so do I, and everyone else here, I suspect. But there have been and still are thousands of religious people in history who did not oppress anyone, and instead left us a legacy of knowledge and/or charity. The original parent (I don't know if that you or not, since you're posting as an anonymous coward) is hatefully denying the merit of these people's work based on a completely unrelated disagreement, which I find completely unfair.

I replied to the original post, a troll posted anonymously, with a rational, example-supported rebuke in which I recommended tolerance and open-mindedness, and I'm the one who is modded troll and flamebait?

Some of you people who are moderating this discussion are definitely not right in the head.

Re:Let Their Big Friend in the Sky Help Them (2, Insightful)

zippyspringboard (1483595) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421373)

How can the parent be modded "Interesting" and yet this be modded "Flamebait" I mean heck I agree with the parent mostly, but I would also categorize it as flamebait. It would seem that the atheists can be just as blind and rabid as the religious nut jobs.

Re:Let Their Big Friend in the Sky Help Them (1)

Bashae (1250564) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421465)

I'm glad there are still people capable of rational thought around here!

The funny thing is that I also agree with most of what the OP wrote. The mad mullahs of Iran are definitely mad. And I condemn any kind of violence or opression, especially when commited in name or religion.

But the OP is basically stating that *everyone* who is religious doesn't deserve any of the benefits of science, and that includes (and always included throughout history) millions of reasonable, tolerant people, famous philosophers, philantropists, mathematicians, sociologists, scientists and, heck, even good leaders. Hate evil people, don't hate people you classified based on an arbitrary criteria just because some of them are/were batshit insane, murderous fanatics.

Re:Let Their Big Friend in the Sky Help Them (1)

moose_hp (179683) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421527)

[...] Louis Pasteur [...]

Years ago, a student in Paris, on his way to the university, hopped on the train and found an empty seat next to an elderly man. As the train moved off, the student noticed that the old man was praying the rosary. Watching him for a while out of the corner of his eye, he finally blurted out, "Excuse me, sir, but I couldn't help but notice what you are doing, and I wonder if you are aware how superstitious and old-fashioned it is." "Oh, really?" replied the old man, "Tell me more." "I have to get off at the next stop," replied the student, "but just give me your name and address, and I will send you some books that will explain what I mean." As the train came to a halt, the man wrote his name and address on a scrap of paper and handed it to the student, who stuffed it in his pocket and hurried off. Later in the day, the student remembered the scrap of paper, took it from his pocket, and opened it. Reading the name scribbled on it, he was dumbfounded: "Louis Pasteur." To his dismay, he realized that he had been talking to a famous scientist, known the world over for his achievements in the field of bacteriology.

Like the Nazis (5, Interesting)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420661)

It just occured to me that I Godwin'd this story already, but this is just like when IBM sold adding machines to the Nazis to help them tabulate Holocaust victims.

Way I see it, who cares? The corner store selling smokes isn't to blame for the lung cancer - ultimately the smoker is. Except it's even more generic than that.

- Siemens sold network technology to Iran - the same you'd use for all sorts of network admin - and they used it to censor. That's Iran's bad.
- IBM sold adding machines - they'll count anything - and the Nazis used them to count Jews (and others). That's the Nazi's bad.

In short, don't blame the maker for the use of the tool.

blame the maker, blame god (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28420721)

free will my ass

Re:Like the Nazis (1)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420955)

Thank you. Deep packet inspection is nothing new and it's up to its administrator to make wise decisions about how and when to use it. This has very little to do with Nokia and Siemens, other than the fact that they had a customer and the customer happened to use it in an inappropriate manner.

Re:Like the Nazis (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421093)

and later IBM bought the patents of Konrad Zuse who fathered the binary computer as it is used now. which included

binary arithmetic, (solving the tabulation versus repetitive adding problem for multiplication)

the first assembler/compiler used with his machines.

von Neumann structure ( before von Neumann knew how to make a computer )

I met the former sales manager of Zuse - he is still alive andf active at age 90!

Re:Like the Nazis (3, Interesting)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421369)

I was going to advocate the same position in my own reply until I realized that taken to the extreme, this position has some problems. If we say that the tool makers are always guilt free, then companies should be able to sell nuclear weapons or parts for one to anyone they like. Fine. Then what happens when those weapons are used? We can argue that the companies are blameless still and ultimately the guilty part is the country that chose to use the weapons. At that point, who cares about moralistic arguments? If millions of people died because a company sold the tools necessary to do that, the company is going to ripped to pieces. Furthermore, is it right for a company to sell the tools to someone if it knew the tools would be used for something bad? I don't think it is. I guess my point is that whether a company is guilty or not depends a lot on whether it knew or could have know that its actions will lead to bad consequences. It's not fair to blame someone for something that couldn't have been foreseen. However, purposely enabling an evil deed is another story.

Re:Like the Nazis (1)

noz (253073) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421537)

IBM sold adding machines - they'll count anything - and the Nazis used them to count Jews (and others). That's the Nazi's bad.

The difference here is that IBM supported an enemy Government in time of war.

Technology isn't the Problem (2, Insightful)

Comatose51 (687974) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420707)

I'm willing to bet if you poll the Iranian population, you will find that the majority of them would support censorship. The same thing would happen in China. Censorship has been with us for as long as there as been communications. I'm not saying it's alright or that censorship is a good thing. Freedom of speech is actually a pretty radical ideal and one that isn't universal outside of the western societies. Even in the US that right is constantly under threat from different sources. At the end of the day it is our believe in the value of freedom of speech that keeps it alive. Look at how often this issue comes up on Slashdot and how people are all up in arms about it. The EFF is constantly busy fighting for it. Didn't some very wise man once said, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."? If Iran or China is to have freedom of speech, their people must be convinced of its value and necessity. Until that happens, denying them the technology would lead to them either developing their own or just not connecting to the Internet. I am not sure the latter is actually better.

same.... (1)

zoso (105166) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420781)

I'm sure they sell the same technology to all the governments in the world so it's just question of time when German, US, Chinese, Iran
will enable filters for democracy, sex, scandals, personal freedom and security....... of course for our own good.

This is stupid (1)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420791)

I'm getting a little fatigued of calling these companies out because their products are used for censorship purposes. Where do you draw the line between when it is acceptable to sell to them and when it isn't? Canada engages in certain levels of Internet censorship (child pornography and so forth), should Siemens stop selling to the Canadian government? And more importantly, who decides where to draw that line? The corporations themselves? No thank you, sir.

Business as usual (2, Informative)

Celeste R (1002377) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420861)

The question has to be asked: why does this matter? Iran would still do its own thing.

In this case, they had the product, so why not buy it? That's not such a hard thing to understand. This is like saying "omg Raytheon makes missiles!" which is no surprise to anyone. What about their clients? What about their unofficial clients? Even those aren't a surprise.

Sure, we may not agree with Iran's internet policy, and yes, the vendor may take a portion of the blame in an incident, but I hardly see Iran's isolationism as the fault of any one company.

Seeing as how most of the footage we get out of Iran is from mobile phones and such, is it any surprise that they'd ask a mobile phone maker for help? Business is business, and in this case, it's easy to pin the responsibility on the buying party.

Hoax (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28420883)

This story has to be a hoax. Siemens and Nokia are European companies. Everyone knows that Eurpoeans are morally superior to Americans.

I call bullshit.

I would (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28420965)

In this economic environment and with my student loans, I'd being do that. I wouldn't be turning away business!

This isn't death camps or anything like this. This is just censoring and eventually it'll just worsen the Iranian Government even more.

Yeah, yeah, yeah! When you make my student loan payments, mortgage, and other bills, THEN you can judge me!

Bad PR ? (1)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420977)

what is bad about allowing a government to hide the killing of it's own citizens; isn't that what we all want as a civilized society, the ability for the government to hide the atrocities it's doing on it's own citizens without the rest of the world looking on and judging.

same technology to be used in Germany (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 4 years ago | (#28420981)

the Bundestag decided on a law which will "ban Children-Pornography and Terrorist Websites".

the blocking and inspection list is not to be viewed by public nor by the courts!

1984 = 2000 - 16

maybe Eric Arthur Blair ( not Tony ) meant 2000 + 16 ?

Eric Arthur Blair a.k.a. George Orwell

No (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421029)

Do you believe that the public relation damage to these companies can persuade them from selling this kind of technology to other dictatorial regimes?

Of course not.

And once again it is time for people to make up their minds - isn't it a basic tenet of Capitalism that the only thing that should concern the employees of a company is to maximize profit? That, in a word, if selling drugs to teenagers, weapons to mercenaries or technology to dictators gives the best profit, then it is your moral duty to do so?

Ok, ok, so maybe I exaggerate a bit, but I do get tired of hearing these so called "freedom advocates" on one hand tell us how they hate government, any and all government, while on the other hand they feel compelled to tell others off for not being "moral".

Don't be so surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28421053)

Don't be so surprised! IBM was able to sell their number crunching machines to the Germans during the Holocaust period. Read the book ...

IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation

by Edwin Black

At the risk of invoking Godwin... (1)

HBI (604924) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421119)

I see a parallel here between the supply of Hollerith card machines (punch card sorters, etc) to Nazi Germany by IBM, and the supply of 'great firewalls' to Iran. In neither case was it critical to the country in question to source their IT equipment from a particular supplier - they just wanted something that worked. The refusal to sell to the government in question wouldn't have materially affected the outcome in that nation. So what's the big deal anyway, since their refusal to sell wouldn't have mattered a bit in the real world?

You helped provide Iran's money to buy the tech (1)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421145)

Or, did you stop refueling your car?

Just like any other company... (2, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421199)

It's not as if they probably only got the contract because American companies such as Cisco are forbidden from selling such equipment to Iran.

My point is that I do not believe there is a company in the world that would pass up this kind of contract. Do I disagree with it's use? Of course I do.

But I fail to see why Nokia and Siemens should be demonised anymore than any other company in the world - at the end of the day the only difference here between Nokia/Siemens and any other networking company is that those guys got the contract - it didn't mean others didn't bid and it doesn't mean others like Cisco wouldn't also bid if they had the opportunity to.

Rather than focus on chastising company x for the fact company x sold something to country y which was used in a bad way we should be chastising big corporations in general for this sort of behaviour. It's a problem that extends far far beyond just Nokia and Siemens and we can't expect Nokia and Siemens to change their ways if no one else will else it puts them at a major disadvantage and is like committing corporate suicide.

did diebold provide the voting machines? (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421303)

oh yeah, you can't chant "death to america" for 30 years and do business with american companies ;-P

siemens is german, nokia is finnish

so dear germans and finns, and euros in general: pillory those fucking companies, in the name of your affinity and fraternity with those simply fighting for their rights in the streets of tehran

perhaps siemens.com and nokia.com deserve some DDOSing, get their stock to fall with some false rumors, some googlebombing about the truth of their involvement with iranian the regime, some facebook groups called "siemensandnokiasupportthebasij", some wikipedia edits... anything to punish the suits in the glass towers who are otherwise disconnected from what their technology is being used to do

Re:did diebold provide the voting machines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28421397)

Good lucking trying to DDOS makers/sellers of network infrastructure, keep pissing into the wind

technically iran is not dictatorship (4, Informative)

Atreide (16473) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421317)

well technically Iran is a democracy
with democratic elections
and president elected by people.

obviously there are problems
and problems with ballot counting,
however Florida also had ballots accounting problem...

I do not say Iran is a happy place to live
but it is more open than many think.

do you think manifestations would happen in North Corea ?
do you think people would be able to play WoW or use Twitter in many Burma ?

Dying News = Skewed News (1)

TheLeopardsAreComing (1206632) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421319)

The trend here seems to be that Nokia and Cisco are the ones to blame. If you ask me this sounds like more bad news from a dying news source trying to get one last whiff of the limelight. They are all scared of social networking sites because they have millions of eyes and ears... most of which are not tethered to some political agenda.

So is there any evidence of election rigging yet? (2, Interesting)

distantbody (852269) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421387)

...or is this just the media cynically cheering-on a 'peoples revolution' so that they can fill out their news cycles. So far I haven't heard of any widespread election tamporing, some anecdotal stories, unlike in some other elections. I could have missed it though.

Honestly so far I just see this as a knee-jerk reaction in the west sympathising with the disgruntled minority voters because clearly 'Iranians would never vote for that evil, west-hating dictator, so it must have been rigged'.

One thing I DID hear through some media analyses is that up until a few months ago, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the favourite to get elected, then he made some fumbles, made some comments, and his standing in THE ELECTION POLLS significantly reduced, and the opposition got giddy. Well that can either be a realistic reflection of the voters intentions, or it could just be a backlash that gets put to the side when it comes to making the final and long-term decision in the voting box.

So, is there any evidence of election rigging yet?

PS, I'm not apologising for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, just that suggesting that, maybe, he is popularly supported. I know that when I watched a recent doco about Iran I was surprised that their society was much more modern and free than I felt that I had been led to believe.
PPS I'm not saying it wasn't rigged either, just that in the large amount of media I have seen on it, it is all about rallys and protest, not of massive vote rigging, feel free to point out something concrete on the contrary.

We had that before, didn't we? (1)

ptashek (1176127) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421393)

Did the US government ever loose any sleep over training/arming/supporting the very same Taliban they are fighting now? Well, there's your answer. The world changes rapidly and as a result of that, nobody cares anymore for anything else than making more money whatever way they can. Also, where (big) money or (big) politics is involved, such things as "freedom", "free speech" and "justice" are just third class issues.

The same companies supplied same tech to the west. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421443)

The reason we have this tech is that the same stuff is sold in Europe and the US amongst others. Most of Europe is right now implementing deep packet inspection and are about to become just like Iran. If the west starts complaining about it not only does it look bad but first of all it draws attention to widespread surveillance. I do not expect much complaints about Irans KGB/Stasi methods from the EU or the US.

If a firm makes hammers... (1)

Hasai (131313) | more than 4 years ago | (#28421547)

...and someone uses one of those hammers to beat someone else to death, does that make the manufacturer evil?

Stop blaming the tools, you morons, and put the blame where it belongs: on those who decide to abuse those tools for their own, evil ends.

Too bad, they lose! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28421573)

Well, until they get out of the censorship software business I will boycott both Nokia and Siemens. I have been a Nokia phone user for years, and I really like their Nokian tires, but they have just lost me as a future customer, unless and until they get out of this aspect of their business. Shame on them!
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