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Nokia Siemens Sued For Providing Monitoring Equipment To Iran

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the some-sales-aren't-worth-it dept.

Privacy 275

Just over a year ago, we found out that Nokia Siemens provided internet monitoring equipment to Iran. Now, reader Tootech sends in news that the company is being sued by an Iranian journalist who was captured with the help of that equipment. From El Reg: "Isa Saharkhiz went into hiding following Iran's 2009 presidential elections, after publishing an article branding the Grand Ayatollah as a hypocrite who was primarily responsible for vote tallies widely regarded as being fraudulent. According to a complaint filed in federal court in Virginia, officials with the Ministry of Intelligence and Security in Iran tracked him down with the help of cellphone-monitoring devices and other eavesdropping gear provided by Nokia Siemens. 'Defendants knowingly and willingly delivered very capable and sophisticated equipment for unlawful intercepting, monitoring, and filtering of electronic communications ("Intelligence Solutions") to Iranian officials,' the complaint alleged. ... According to the document, Saharkhiz has been severely tortured since his arrest. He was held in solitary confinement for more than 80 days, and his ribs were broken in a struggle during his arrest. The complaint said it may be amended to add as many as 1,500 other political prisoners who are being held under similar circumstances. Additional defendants may also be added."

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275 comments

Law? (5, Insightful)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352418)

'Defendants knowingly and willingly delivered very capable and sophisticated equipment for unlawful intercepting, monitoring, and filtering of electronic communications ("Intelligence Solutions") to Iranian officials,' the complaint alleged.

Not to diminish in any way what this journalist has been through...unlawful where exactly? Iran or the US?

Sounds a bit like suing Heckler and Koch because they sold a gun to the government that provided it to the cop that used it to shoot you when the situation didn't warrant it.

Re:Law? (5, Informative)

maroberts (15852) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352616)

unlawful where exactly? Iran or the US?

I agree that this a question of where it is unlawful and may be a case of forum shopping, however certain countries have sanctions on what can be exported to other countries, a classic example being the USA restricting what can be exported to Cuba. A breach of this can be an offence if the country from where the equipment was sourced has such sanctions in place, or the corporate headquarters is in such a country.

Re:Law? (4, Insightful)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352732)

True, but the quoted text states that it was the electronic monitoring that was unlawful, not the act of exporting the equipment needed to do so.

Nevertheless, since Iran bashing seems to be the latest trend I'd like to suggest a deal. The US bitches at Iran at for electronic surveillance, and the EU does it for the torture, and we both conveniently ignore our own little forays into these fields.

Re:Law? (2, Insightful)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352864)

Can I count on equal support if I stone your girlfriend/wife/daughter(s) to death ? (slowly of course)

Hey at worst I'd be as bad as the current Iranians you're defending. I just wonder how far this defense of the indefensible goes. I wonder, if I were to kill you, and claim I'm doing it for my beliefs whether or not you'll push your own arbitrary moral values on me or not.

This post is an attempt at using sarcasm to call you out on your support for, e.g. stoning gays, religious genocide, oppressive state religions and the like. And let's not pretend that it's anything else that you're supporting.

Re:Law? (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352956)

All theoretical ethical stuff aside, it will be interesting to see if a case like this will go forward in a US court.

US telcomms, whose NSA collaboration almost certainly exposed at least a few people to extralegal detention and torture, were specifically granted immunity for any collaboration that might have occurred.

While I don't doubt that we'd like another chance to stick it to Iran, and emphasize their repressive-theocratic-hellhole characteristics, I can't imagine the US being too enthusiastic about a precedent that makes corporate collaboration with a surveillance state legally problematic....

Re:Law? (1, Troll)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353306)

The problem with attitudes like the grandparent post that is that they mean -in practice- support for the theocratic gay-killers.

I can't understand how you can be against, say, the KKK, but defend the "right" of Iran to do things like this. For any reason. Why the double standard ?

Iran once imported millions of black slaves, not even that long ago. Trust me, you don't want to read the stories of what happened to them before lunch.

I mean the KKK is bad, I fully agree, very, very bad. But they're better than Iran, and the US is udoubtedly better than both of them. "Collaboration" with the NSA is almost a virtue, as whatever else, it will raise the world to a better ethical standard.

Even if that raising means bombing Iran to the stone age, such an act would still raise both quality of life, both ours and the large majority of people in the region and morality, again both in the region and world-wide.

Re:Law? (-1, Flamebait)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353508)

"Better"?? I don't remember Iran overthrowing a handful of democracies. One country can not be "better" than another. It doesn't work that way. You're a tool for even suggesting that bombing Iran back to the stone age is a good thing for anyone.

Re:Law? (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353362)

Considering we overthrew their democratically elected government in the 50s to put in the Shah as our puppet, one of the worst dictators we could dig up, just so our corporations could get better deals? Yeah I think we really don't have much moral high ground there at this point. Is Iran a brutal place? Yeah, no doubts there. But considering our idea of "democracy" is elect someone we approve of I really don't think we have much moral high ground left in that area at this point frankly.

In case you don't know and would like to read up here [wikipedia.org] is a good starting point.

Re:Law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33353436)

Yes, I think this is really the fundamental point with US sanctions. The US enforces sactions against companies that trade in the US, even if said company is not based in the US.

Numerous British companies for example have been run through US courts and fined millions for trades they have made from the UK to a country under US sanctions even where the deal had nothing to do with the US.

Effectively the US wants to have it's cake and eat it too, it wants to be able to force it's citizens and companies not to do business with nations it doesn't like, but it doesn't want to put itself at a commercial disadvantage in doing so, so it forces it's laws upon everyone as best it can.

So knowing the US stance on this sort of thing it's likely a citizen in Iran could sue a European company in US courts and have the US enforce that by seizing any assets they may have in the US or blocking them from the US market if they don't pay up.

Re:Law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352802)

The so-called spy capabilities are mandatary in the US and EU.

Re:Law? (1)

bdsesq (515351) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352948)

'...unlawful where exactly? Iran or the US?

They were violating UN sanctions against Iran. So it should be unlawful in any civilized country.
That leaves Iran out......

Re:Law? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353336)

They were violating UN sanctions against Iran. So it should be unlawful in any civilized country.

Except all (read the introduction) [cia.gov] the UN sanctions against Iran are related with its nuclear program [dfat.gov.au]. That's a bit of a distance from interception/monitoring technology
(besides I really wouldn't expect Nokia or Siemens to conduct unlawful businesses, at least not unlawful under the Germany, Finland or Iran legislation)

Re:Law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33353288)

This isn't surprising one bit as far as SIEMENS goes. SIEMENS has had relations with Iran since the late 60's early 70's.

"The Law" ? Post photos of trashed Nokias. (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353394)

Slashdotters post 10,000 photos of trashed Nokias. Does that influence "The Law"?. "The Law" can be seen as the final rulings, and a composition of many factors. PR, Written law, precedents, lawyer and client skills, judge, jury, place and time, social acceptance or tolerance at that social-political moment, media influence, public and lobby actions, and many other factors influence decisions. Piracy, for example, clearly illegal and punishable by written law, but it's socially accepted within many contexts by most of the public, in most countries. A tortured journalist does have a great social-political moment in the US, and Iran does not. Had he been tortured by a Western power, he'd have no chance. Nokia, as a Western, non-US corporation, has some factors favoring, some against it. Written law and social moment are generally against torture in the US, but he might have had better chances at the ICC [icc-cpi.int], which has jurisdiction, and is not in a country in wars, which generally uses torture and makes more of the public accept it. Even if he doesn't win, he'll have great influence on the social-legal debate. It could lead to greater isolation of torture-supporting entities, just for PR reasons. Especially if we publish those tortured-Nokia photos.

Re:Law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33353470)

It doesn't matter which. It is legal in both Iran and the US for the government to eavesdrop on people the government determines that it needs to.

good for the goose (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352422)

Until our governments and police forces stop using this invasive technology we can't expect others to do so.

FUCKING NIGGERS!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352444)

GNAA UP IN THIS BITCH!!!!

Forum shopping? (5, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352446)

Not that I'm defending Siemens and Nokia for providing spy equipment to a regime known to torture and kill its citizens for exercising political speech, but how exactly does a court in Virginia have jurisdiction over German and Swedish companies for civil damages allegedly sustained in Iran against an Iranian citizen?

Re:Forum shopping? (2, Informative)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352476)

It doesn't.

Among other things, Iran has sovereign immunity.

Nokia may, however, be liable under other laws here in the US for aiding and abetting a terrorist regime. I'm pretty sure that Iran is on some sort of federal blacklist.

Re:Forum shopping? (-1, Troll)

odies (1869886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352550)

aiding and abetting a terrorist regime.

Oh come on, you cannot just throw that word around like that. You probably think all countries that don't like or are enemies of US are terrorists. Brainwashing seems to work great for you Americans.

Nokia is also a Finnish company, not US. Not everything revolves around Americans, you know. You should get to see the world sometimes, you have quite a closed mind.

Besides, this is a civil manner. If Nokia was actually breaking some criminal laws, they would had been in criminal court already, sued by the government.

Re:Forum shopping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352738)

Not everything revolves around Americans, you know.

Doesn't revolve around whatever little dungheap you live in either.

You should get to see the world sometimes, you have quite a closed mind.

Maybe you should get to see the world sometime after you take off your selective blinders and rose colored glasses. You might find you're not so open minded after that.

Re:Forum shopping? (3, Informative)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352492)

s/Swedish/Finnish/ - I was thinking of a different network equipment provider there.

Re:Forum shopping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352502)

Nokia is Finnish btw

Re:Forum shopping? (5, Informative)

cappp (1822388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352606)

It's called the Alien Tort Statute [wikipedia.org] and states that [cornell.edu]

The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.

. A few countries establish their own rights to hear international claims, known as universal jurisdiction [wikipedia.org] - thats claimed by the UK, France, Canada, and Australia for instance. I'm sure there's some nuance in the difference between Universal Jurisdiction and that created under the Alien Tort Statute that I don't know, but at it's essentially the same thing. The cases heard tend to relate to human rights issues. The Supreme Court in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain [wikipedia.org] reiterated their commitment to a test that considers international norms that are "specific, universal, and obligatory" but that's lead to it's own bundle of questions. [fjc.gov]

Short answer, yup they can.

Re:Forum shopping? (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353036)

I am pretty positive most such claims are confined to extending jurisdiction to their own nationals in foreign territory, rather than to foreign nationals in foreign territory. Australian claims of universal jurisdiction for instance relate to war criminals resident in Australia and Australian nationals having sexual relations with persons under 16 in foreign jurisdictions. A notable exception is the UK's puerile arrest warrant for the Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni, which was generally recognised as moronic even by the UK government.

Re:Forum shopping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33353410)

I'm pretty positive you didn't even click the wikipedia link for Alien Tort Statute, which clearly states in the lede that:

This statute is notable for allowing United States courts to hear human rights cases brought by foreign citizens for conduct committed outside the United States.

Re:Forum shopping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352832)

BTW Nokia is a Finnish company, not Swedish..

Virginia (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353152)

Siemens has offices in Virginia, at least in Newport News, maybe other places. Not sure what they do there, I just figured they were contracting at places like the Northrop-Grumman shipyard, Jefferson Lab, and NASA-Langley that we have around. Regardless of the merits of claims of "lawfulness," I suspect that as Siemens has a presence here that they might be liable for violating sanctions the US has in place against Iran. Expect them to lose some contracts here, if nothing else.

Re:Virginia (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353374)

Great. Cue the simple minded Congressman to hold up all sorts of legislation until Siemens is specifically legally shielded.

Re:Forum shopping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33353382)

It's Nokia Siemens Networks, which is different from either Nokia or Siemens. It's a Finnish company co-owned by Nokia and Siemens.

In PR terms, Nokia is already losing. (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353460)

Nevermind the legal outcome, just think of the PR campaign. Keeping it in the press means Nokia and oppression lose every day, and the public and journalists win. Not to mention the pressure on Iran and any country using these tactics.

Who provides such equipment to CIA/FBI ? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352468)

CIA and FBI routinely monitor the communications of intellectuals and routinely torture left-wing activists. I want to know who provides such equipment to them. And I want a bunch of lawyers.

Re:Who provides such equipment to CIA/FBI ? (1)

RCGodward (1235102) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353542)

I have yet to see anything that suggests that Anonymous Coward is an intellectual, so I don't think you need to worry,

Because they can (4, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352470)

Well, the Iranian government is not going to respect an American court decision. So, they're just trying to get headlines by suing a merchant. Was that equipment under embargo? But wait, an American embargo on Iran is bad because it hurts the common people more than the government. But if there was no embargo then how was it illegal to sell the equipment? I suppose Siemens should have recognized the Iranian government as "evil" and refused to do any business with them on a purely voluntary basis. But then that's racism against Muslims! Can anyone help? I'm so confused.

Re:Because they can (3, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352526)

I don't think the United States can "embargo" a Swedish company from selling things to another country. I am also not sure it's against the law in Iran for the government to intercept any kind of communication. Don't they pretty much have totalitarian rule over there? I thought the government could pretty much do whatever it wanted?

I don't really understand this case. US Law does not apply in Iran, nor does it apply in Sweden (unless you're an American citizen, in which case you can be charged with breaking US law in another country).

I think we need more details.

Re:Because they can (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352724)

The case boils down to suing any available target, and the Iranian government isn't available.

The Iranian resistance movement is going to suffer either way, but unlike the more courageous Jihadists, they are playing at change instead of killing their opponents.

The bar has been set by the devout Muslims who run the show. The less devout sort who want a piece of the pie will need to kill for it.

Re:Because they can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352828)

Nokia does a lot of business in the US. The US could seize goods in the US, prevent import/seize their products at the border (even those just passing through, to say Canada/Mexico), and do all sorts of things, which mean that a company like Nokia with significant interests in the US market don't want to tick off the US Government.

IMO, It's highly likely that if anything there will be a cash settlement or possibly award to the journalist (sadly emotion is a strategy in court, when it really shouldn't be), and nothing substantial will come from it.

Re:Because they can (2, Interesting)

kauttapiste (633236) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352916)

Especially as NSN is a Finnish company (HQ in Espoo, Finland)! Petty details aside, I believe the capability to monitor GSM networks is mandated by US and EU..maybe this guy should just sue Obama!

Re:Because they can (1)

DDLKermit007 (911046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353018)

I'm kina sure they can. If the company wants to do business in the United States, they end up being bound by US law. If the US government says you can't sell something to a specific country, or group, you end up having to play by their rules. Look at China & Google for a good example. Just in that case China had so many political, and backroom reasons to make life hell for Google.

Re:Because they can (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353122)

That company should (would?) only be bound by US Law inside the United States, right? If I open an office in Mumbai, I do not have to pay those workers US minimum wage, right? So, what is the logic behind applying US legal standards to a transaction that took place between two non-US entities entirely outside of the United States?

I mean, I am sure our government would just LOVE to have that capability, but I don't see how any reasonable planet of people could allow country A to enforce its laws against parties B and C who are doing normal business completely outside the geographic confines of country A. But, maybe I'm being idealistic. We did, after all, create the UN just for the purpose of allowing one country to dictate the laws of another.

Re:Because they can (1)

Faluzeer (583626) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353344)

Hmmm

I believe it is possible to be bound by US law, even though both the buyer and the seller are outside of the USA. The US maintains a list of countries that certain technology areas cannot be exported to. I believe the definition of exported is based on where the technology was first developed / patented.and not manufactured / assembled. Given the sheer amount of cross licensed technologies in the communications industry, it is entirely possible that the Nokia-Siemens monitoring equipment contains technology that was first developed / patented in the US and thus is subject to the US Governments export ban.

Re:Because they can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33353256)

I've worked for a non-American company that was very aware of the US position on embargoes. They're transitive. Not only does the embargo extend to Iran, it also extend to Irans trade partners. And a company like Nokia Siemens would be out of business in days when the US puts them under embargo. Essentially, being unable to make any deal with Intel, Microsoft, Motorola. HP, IBM, Oracle, AT&T, Verizon, etc, will terminate any high-tech business.

So, yes, the US can effectively put a Swedish company under embargo. So can the EU, Japan, and possibly even Taiwan, altough those actors never really tried.

Re:Because they can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352560)

The point isn't to have Iran respect anything. The plaintiff is looking to materially impact Nokia assets in the US for supporting a regime unfriendly to the US, i.e. award ridiculous judgement against foreign company. It's still PR though.

Re:Because they can (0)

dmesg0 (1342071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352578)

What is the relation between "racism against Muslims" and disapproval of an evil regime that kills and tortures its own citizens, supports and trains terrorist organizations and openly states its goal to wipe another country? You don't make any sense.

Besides, by definition there can't be any racism against Muslims, only against Persians or Arabs.

Re:Because they can (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352716)

I assume by "openly states its goal to wipe another country" you mean, wipe another country off the map, namely Israel. Learn to read. Once that step is complete, progress to step 2, reading the actual speech people like you love to misquote. Never said it, never said anything close to it.

You think Iran is "bad" for tapping all phone communications? Get on your us landline or cell and start making credible threats against your government, government buildings, or the president himself. Make sure this is a private call to a friend or something. Just wait for the SS to show up.

Re:Because they can (4, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353554)

Stop trotting out that old "wipe Israel off the map" nonsense. The actual quote was that he hoped for the regime of Israel to fall, a sentiment shared by many rational, sane folk across the world. When you use those untruths is just shows people that you haven't actually read anything on the subject, and that you are in fact just regurgitating what you heard on TV. The "kills and tortures its own citizens" and "trains terrorist organisations" equally applies to the US, too, just in case you missed that lovely part in US history.

Re:Because they can (5, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352598)

I'm so confused.

Relax, cool down. Nokia-Siemens sold them because every government asks them to [bbc.co.uk]; and providing what your customers want is good for business:

"Western governments, including the UK, don't allow you to build networks without having this functionality."

Re:Because they can (4, Interesting)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352666)

You are confused.. I can tell by your statements.. We'll start at the beginning.. Whether or not the Iranian government recognizes an American court decision doesn't matter, because they are not being sued for anything in this... An American embargo doesn't matter either, because nothing was sold by an American company.. If you want to get to brass tacks, there isn't a major economic power in the world, that isn't guilty as hell for selling equipment causing suppression, misery, and death.. And they sell it to whoever has money.. and sell ?., heck they even give it away and charge the taxpayers for it to keep the corporations churning out more.. As the fine article states.. This is someone suing the wrong people in the wrong court.. However, as they used to say on The Peoples Court "Anybody can sue anybody for anything."

Re:Because they can (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352964)

An American embargo doesn't matter either, because nothing was sold by an American company

I work for a European company and we would definitely get into a lot of trouble with the US DOD if we violated US export restrictions. We have to stay in business, which means dealing with the US.

Re:Because they can (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33353480)

You would only get in trouble if you exported technology that was sourced from the United States somehow. If the technology in question was sourced completely in another country (germany for example), the US could only whine. Now making something that has no US technology in it may be a bit more difficult, but that is a different issue.

Re:Because they can (1)

randomsearch (1207102) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352976)

>there isn't a major economic power in the world, that isn't guilty as hell for selling equipment causing suppression, misery, and death..

Citations needed. Japan? What do you count as major? I'm just trying to avoid the Slashdot habit of being overly cynical. Governments do good things, and people do altruistic things.

You have it in EU, USA, everywhere. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352480)

Newsflash: similar equipment with similar capabilities exists TODAY in all Western countries. And it's used too! *gasp*

Just check ATT, ETSI documents, companies who manufacture the equipment, etc.

What's next? If you break the law, you can sue the providers of LI infrastructure because you got sued?

Once you have this infrastructure in place, there's no telling what it can be used against. It could be against people who want to kill thousands, or it could be against journalists wanting freedom.

cue the nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352518)

cue the hundreds of slashdot geeks running in the defend Nokia because they make open source phones and QT...

The real issue... (-1, Troll)

Go_Ask_Alex (459685) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352528)

God, the Father, is being an irresponsible parent by letting wars, torture, pain and anguish continually occur amongst his children without doing anything to stop it. No striking anyone down with lightning; only random and baseless floods. It's time to sue God and report Him to the children services agency.

Not to be an apologist to that kind of regime, but (2, Interesting)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352564)

"sophisticated equipment for unlawful intercepting, monitoring, and filtering of electronic communications "

Unlawful export, I would understand. That would probably violate some or other US law, if there were components, exported from the US used in those products.

But unlawful monitoring? What would the logic behind this be?

Re:Not to be an apologist to that kind of regime, (1)

commlinx (1068272) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352628)

Unlawful export, I would understand. That would probably violate some or other US law, if there were components, exported from the US used in those products. But unlawful monitoring? What would the logic behind this be?

Well it makes no sense, but then again laws against devices to circumvent DCMA / copy protection devices make no sense either. It would be nice to think it works both ways, but I suspect that will not be the case...

Re:Not to be an apologist to that kind of regime, (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353180)

The same logic that allowed the allies to try and execute Nazi officers after WWII under ex post facto "war crimes" rules which hadn't existed in the first place, when they were following orders from superiors in keeping with official government policy (thus, the holocaust was "lawful" in Germany and occupied territories)? Not to Godwin the thread or anything, but the situation is one of guaranteeing a morally correct outcome even if technically what your doing is violating the spirit and letter of your legal system. Like reverse jury nullification.

Re:Not to be an apologist to that kind of regime, (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353528)

There is no parallel here. The Nuremberg trials had a legal foothold in the international and military laws of the time (beginning with the Hague conventions). Besides, they were conducted by an international tribunal, against the military leaders of Germany.

Even the so called "Subsequent" Nuremberg trials (during which the US prosecuted various companies and individuals who allegedly assisted the Nazi regime) were conducted under the powers of the US occupational authority, and, if memory serves, were limited in scope to violations of the laws of war. So, nope, no parallel here either.

In this case, a private party is bringing private litigation against companies in a third country for something (communication interception by the government), which most of the time isn't a crime even in the US.

The only remotely relevant case I can think of is the infamous judgment from a few years ago, in which a US court seize priceless Iran museum art in the US, and that was closer to a highway robbery than to the Nuremberg trials.

Apparently, some people have the notion that it is easy to sue and collect if the people you dislike are not favorites of the US government.

What is the difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352650)

Why can Nokia-Siemens sell such devices to European and American governments, but not to the Iranian government? I really don't see the difference. Western governments monitor all the time, much to the same ends as Iran does.

Re:What is the difference? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352746)

There's no difference. It's just that the CIA has better PR skills than its Iranian counterparts. Sooner or later, the Iranian government too will learn how to use phrases like "war is peace!", "for freedom!", etc.

Re:What is the difference? (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352924)

Sooner or later, the Iranian government too will learn how to use phrases like "war is peace!", "for freedom!", etc.

I think they already know that game

"The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, has a main message of peace and friendship," said Ahmadinejad at the inauguration ceremony

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/22/world/main6794753.shtml

It's called Lawfull Interception equipment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352674)

As far as I know, this "spying technology" is part of the 3GPP standards, and is installed in every country in the world, democratic or not. This guy should be suing the authorities in his country for using this equipment unlawfully. I guess this is not possible in Iran, but in any case, the company only sold standard telco equipment.

Please remind me... (1, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352686)

How many people are in US jails right now?
What country in the world has the biggest surveillance program know to man?
What country has been found spying on its own people?
In percents, what country has the largest amount of people in jail?
In what country has torture been declared perfectly legal?
What countries has been involved in torture in conjunction with electronic surveillance?
What country has sentenced people to death based on evesdropping?

Also ask yourself these questions:

Are americans much more probable to commit crimes than any other people, in the whole world?
Is it possible some people currently in US jails are innocent?
Is it totally impossible a part of these are in essence political prisoners?

Re:Please remind me... (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352972)

Are americans much more probable to commit crimes than any other people, in the whole world?

It's possible. The US police force is seriously under-funded and may be less of a disincentive to criminals than in other countries. So people living in america may be less likely to decide not to do a crime they really, really want to do.

Is it possible some people currently in US jails are innocent?

It's perfectly possible. A better question would be, "How could we possibly make it impossible?" I'm pretty sure that is impossible, without throwing out the law altogether.

Is it totally impossible a part of these are in essence political prisoners?

Is it totally impossible that you're an Iranian agent trying to erode my faith in the US government and the US legal system? Of course not. Is it at all likely? Not at all.

Re:Please remind me... (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353388)

Im just playing devils advocate here. The US has sadly put itself in the position in which its really hard for anyone to take them seriously. Especially when someone talks about torture, surveillence and free speech you get a twitch in the corner of your eye.

The US had tremendous worldwide support only a decade ago that is now eroded down into banana-country levels. Im not saying its all true but its to much to run around playing Mother Theresa with an Uzi.

Re:Please remind me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33353020)

What country has been found spying on its own people?

Every DAMN SINGLE LAST ONE OF THEM.

(Bitter? Who, me?)

Re:Please remind me... (3, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353024)

All completely irrelevant since in the US some americans call their president "a muslim that's going to destroy america" and they're never arrested which is going much further then this journalist did.

In fact you are just being a hypocrite, if you had posted this from Iran about Iran then you'd be screwed over like the journalist so I don't see how you can draw any comparison between the two.

All your post really attempts to do is distract people from actual censorship issues and the slashdot mods have bought into it hook, line and sinker.

as a counterpoint (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353098)

i think plenty of countries with lower prison rates than the usa look at some of the out of control crime on their streets and in back rooms, and do not exalt in how superior their society is, but wish they could build some more jails and clean up their society too

the usa has plenty of problems. and jailing someone for smoking a marijuana joint is clearly wrong and stupid. but if you have a well-functioning criminal justice system, you're going to catch more criminals. it's that simple

i mean real, genuine transgressors of citizen's rights. its insults on human dignity that bother you, right? that's the concern that motivates your words, right? you don't see that happening from criminals, whether in boardrooms or in alleyways? we need to catch criminals and punish them, not cheer the fact we have little if any jails, right?

i would bet that the ideal amount of incarceration in an ideally functioning society is closer to the usa's rate, than it is to the rate of some country with a dysfunctional judiciary and corrupt police force, where criminals conduct their transgressions with impunity, whether white collar or blue collar

look: not all abuses of human rights are done by the state. most of it, in fact, throughout human history, is done by individuals and mafias. unless you consider getting robbed, raped, extorted or murdered not a human rights violation?

know that the average thug on the street is a threat to the dignity of mankind just as much as your waterboarding cia goon. and you fight that assault on human dignity, by throwing a heck of a lot more criminals in jail, in societies where currently the criminal justice system is subpar and broken

my whole point is: i don't understand someone who seems so motivated by human rights and human dignity in their words, but sees threats to that only emanating from governmental organizations, and not genuine criminal activity. you have a distorted view of what really threatens the principles that motivate you

Re:as a counterpoint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33353262)

USA jails men for having young wives. The USA is a feminist democracy where the men are not the controllers of the society. That is why so many men are in prison. It is a woman's country.

hilarious troll is hilarious (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353312)

however, i would rather live in a country concerned with the rights of women as EQUALS, rather than a society that treats its women like cattle

Re:hilarious troll is hilarious (2, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353426)

Then what do you think of the USA, who added "male" in the 14th Amendment (the first place it showed up) and an attempt to remove that word with the ERA was seen as hippie extremism? They may not be cattle, but they are, by Constitutional definition, not EQUALS. And when the opportunity came to rectify that, it was ignored. Many other countries place them on explicitly equal footing, as opposed to the USA that explicitly divides the sexes.

just when you thought you heard it all (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353522)

we live in a world, including the usa, where women are paid less, treated like cattle, have acid thrown on their face because they don't submit to some asshole, are prostituted out or married off in their early teens, or otherwise dominated and abused. this is incredibly fucking obvious

but you present us the opposite. that women somehow rule

ok! pffffft

all your words mean to me is you have some sort of gigantic personal issue

did a high school girlfriend drop you like a hot potato? is the alimony too high in your divorce proceedings? are you some sort of religious fuckwit?

what exactly, what part of your life experience is driving this obviously completely retarded view of women and power in this world?

Re:Please remind me... (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353322)

OK. Now ask yourself this question: what does any of that have to do with a Finnish company selling wiretap-capable equipment to Iran?

Re:Please remind me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33353326)

What country in the world has the biggest surveillance program know to man?

China

What country has been found spying on its own people?

Which hasn't ?

In percents, what country has the largest amount of people in jail?

North Korea has 99% in work camps, effectively.

In what country has torture been declared perfectly legal?

Going to be a large list. Sleep deprivation alone is probably used in >100 countries.

What countries has been involved in torture in conjunction with electronic surveillance?

Combine previous answers

What country has sentenced people to death based on evesdropping?

Dozens. #1 is probably China. In others, mere gossip would be sufficient, ask the Taliban.

The US, despite your black desires, is not the worst human rights offender. Now that's still no badge of honor, but you lose all credibility by choosing your reference level.

Re:Please remind me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33353566)

anything is possible. do you have any evidence that would show basis for your questions, or do you want to act like a troll?

They all do it! (5, Insightful)

bre_dnd (686663) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352688)

Don't be naive. Every single telecommunications vendor has tapping capability built into their equipment. Every western government *mandates* that this functionality is built in. It is not the equipment manufacturer who is morally wrong here. If you think it's wrong in Iran, it's wrong in the US or Europe too.

"Lawful Intercept" is required (5, Insightful)

Terje Mathisen (128806) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352808)

You are totally right: The LI (Lawful Intercept) interface is a required part of all relevant telecomms standards, i.e. you cannot manufacture/sell a GSM/3G/LTE setup which doesn't have that LI interface.

Terje
(Currently working on the architecture of a large national cell phone network.)

Re:"Lawful Intercept" is required (2, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353442)

There exists no mainstream equipment without that capability. Sell it to someone in the US or UK and you are fine, but sell it to Iran and it's suddenly an international incident. If it was such a dangerous feature, why is it required in the USA (and probably many other places as well)?

Conformists are the new Dissidents (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352706)

Totalitarian regimes are, by and large, quite benign. They only start getting heavy handed if you attack or subvert the power structures. In some countries it may well be the least worst option. While there was a compelling case for attacking Iran, making the same mistake over Iraq by sabre rattling, spreading hysterical libertarian arguments in the so-called "free press" in the West, and fermenting trouble on the ground can be counter productive.

A large part of Iraq's problems are recovering from historical problems such as their last democracy being undermined, a strong but understandable Islamic revolution, and last but not least developing their own self-confidence, understanding, and role in the world. I don't rate their President very highly but I get the sense he knows his limits. The ruling clerics have shown signs of subtle reasoning and an ability to negotiate. The people are intelligent enough.

Comic book villain leaders, Cold War style subversion, and dissidents are so yesterday because it heaps more problems on top of problems. If you want to turn the heat up into a shooting war or see a spectacular collapse that's probably the way to go but haven't we moved on from that? Shouldn't we be educating, supporting, and investing? It's not a soft option. Indeed, it can take a lot of work and patience. But where has force and impatience got us?

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352722)

Are we gonna sue the gun makers next? Or maybe just the people that sell guns.

I sympathize but I think he'll lose. (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352770)

I feel for what he must have gone through, and hope he brings down an Evil Corporation, setting a precedent for all Evil Corporations to come- but I think he's barking up the wrong tree.

Just because wire-tapping functionality is built-in, doesn't mean you should use it to enforce a totalitarian regime. I think Nokia could easily argue that this was not the original intent and purpose of the equipment.

Just because a length of rope can be used for strangling someone, that doesn't mean that the rope manufacturer should be held liable. Just because you can break someone's skull with a hammer, that doesn't mean the manufacturer can be held responsible.

Only when the tool is *intended* for killing and hurting do we enter a grey area - If your neighbour shoots you in the knee cap, are you going to sue the gun manufacturer or the person that used the gun? Chances are, you'll still go after that sob of a neighbour that held the gun rather than after the people that built it.

Re:I sympathize but I think he'll lose. (1)

hmmm (115599) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352984)

Just because a length of rope can be used for strangling someone, that doesn't mean that the rope manufacturer should be held liable. Just because you can break someone's skull with a hammer, that doesn't mean the manufacturer can be held responsible.

However if the RFQ comes in from the "Ministry for hanging and bashing skulls with rocks" you would be well aware of what the potential use will be. But I take your point, and agree with it only as long as the company supplying the equipment has a reasonable expectation that the equipment will be used in a non harmful manner and haven't turned a blind eye to other uses.

If it is proven that certain companies, who only exist because of our Western culture and governance systems, supplied equipment which they knew would be used for the purposes of torturing or killing people by a despotic regime, I hope there can be some sanction.

Legal wranglings (3, Insightful)

captain_dope_pants (842414) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352782)

At a rough guess some lawyers are going to make a load of money out of this. So regardless of the final outcome there will be some winners: That's the way it usually works.

Re:Legal wranglings (5, Funny)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 3 years ago | (#33352842)

I sometimes wonder if the lawyers on both sides of a legal conflict have secret meetings about how to get as much money as possible out of their clients.

Re:Legal wranglings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33352870)

If you can think of it someone will do it.

Mod me as flamebait if you like but ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33353456)

AT&T (American company) provide monitoring equipment to the American government - get all manner of legal protection.
Nokia (not American company) provide less sophisticated tech to Iranian government - get charged.

Ummm... discrimination on the basis of nationality... isn't there a work for that... ummm... racism?

Re:Mod me as flamebait if you like but ... (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 3 years ago | (#33353560)

Ummm... discrimination on the basis of nationality... isn't there a work for that... ummm... racism?
Not in the english language, that word would be nationalism. But hey feel free to conflate race with national origin. Oh and the mods who had modded you insightful, put down the pipe.

Hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33353544)

Where are the lawsuits against the US telecom companies (AT&T, Verizon, etc) for their unlawful assistance of government intercepts of American Communications? Oh yeah, they were thrown out on "National Security" grounds.

Hypocrisy...

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