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European Firms Assisted Gaddafi's Internet Monitoring Regime

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the we-love-freedom-here dept.

Censorship 112

riverat1 writes "The Next Web has a story on Muammar Gaddafi's monitoring of the internet and other telecommunications. As you might expect, the monitoring was intense. The story names companies that supplied the monitoring software, most notably Amesys, a unit of the French company Bull SA. There is a more detailed story behind the paywall at the Wall Street Journal." Boeing's Narus division may also have been involved (collecting very important Analytics and nothing suspicious of course). Update: 09/01 16:08 GMT by UL :Axure pointed out that VASTech (South Africa), ZTE (China), and the aforementioned Narus (US) also provided assistance, making the title of the article a bit inaccurate. It seems the Libyan Internet monitoring was an international affair (my apologies to Europe).

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Boycott time (2)

Mensa Babe (675349) | more than 3 years ago | (#37274796)

Every oppressive regime, from Nazi Germany to China, needs unethical companies whose management values money more than human freedom to maintain their power. The only reasonable thing that we as a society are morally obligated to do now is to publish all of the names of those companies for everyone to see, remember and boycott. If you are a consumer, don't buy their products. If you are a business owner, don't cooperate with them. If you are their worker, quit your job. If you are a stock broker, advise everyone to sell their stock. We owe that to people who were and still are being oppressed using tools provided by those companies. The only message that those bastards will understand are lost profits. The boycott is the least that we can do.

Re:Boycott time (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37274842)

'Every oppressive regime, from Nazi Germany to China, needs unethical companies...'

Like IBM helped the Nazis find the Jews?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_and_the_Holocaust [wikipedia.org]

(sorry for the early Godwin)

Re:Boycott time (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275144)

Don't forget Henry Ford and GWB's Grandpa.

Re:Boycott time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275176)

Godwin's law doesn't apply when actually taking about Nazi's however....

Re:Boycott time (1)

mfh (56) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275248)

You should never be sorry for a Godwin if it's relevant.

Re:Boycott time (2)

zixxt (1547061) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275952)

"Anyone who uses Godwin's Law as a comeback or a way to end an debate loses." -- Common Sense

Re:Boycott time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37277452)

BMW made engines for the Luftwaffe.

Re:Boycott time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37274906)

But, why is this ok when the CIA does it ?

Re:Boycott time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37274970)

It's not OK. The difference is, people in Libya aren't afraid to take down their government by any means necessary.
Here, you could have a new Hitler, he could make laws that allow him to rape and kill anybody he wants, and people will never oppose him as long as the law says you can't take down the government by force.

People need to wake up and realize things are pretty bad here at home. Europe and America are not as free as we like to think. And if we don't act now, one day the only option will be an armed revolution like in Libya.

I'm probably getting this message flagged at the FBI headquarters for the words 'America' and 'Revolution' Hello special agent Smith! How's your day?

Re:Boycott time (-1, Flamebait)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275032)

Ok, what's the deal with these middle eastern tyrants? I mean...do they not have a singlular fuckin' way to spell their names???

I see Quadaffi, Kadaffi, Gadaffi....? Which does the idiot spell his name??!

I mean..there was Osama, Usama, obama....err.

I joke!!!

But seriously....what's the deal with all these damned spellings of names? Does everyone over there spell their name 15 different ways?

Re:Boycott time (1)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275080)

But seriously....what's the deal with all these damned spellings of names? Does everyone over there spell their name 15 different ways?

Spell your western name using the Japanese phonetic alphabet, a Cyrillic language like Russian or Czech, Mandarin, or Arabic then get back to us.

Re:Boycott time (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 3 years ago | (#37276716)

Czech uses the Latin alphabet, not Cyrillic.

Re:Boycott time (1)

Swervin (836962) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275094)

It all depends on how you want to translate the names from their native languages. When you don't use the same alphabet or sounds this can be difficult.

Re:Boycott time (2)

DeathToBill (601486) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275126)

The deal is that, contrary to your view of the world, not everyone has English as a native language. For some people, they don't even speak it at all! I know, I know; how do we let such things happen in this day and age?

His name is Arabic, spelt like this: . There is only one spelling of his name. How you render that name in ISO-8859-1 (Latin-1 code page) depends on which university you learnt Arabic at.

Re:Boycott time (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275138)

Sigh. So /. doesn't support unicode characters in comments. Makes my point about Americans, doesn't it?

Arabic is written from right to left (5:erocS) (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275596)

Arabic is written from right to left. In the past, vandals have used right-to-left rendering control codes to disrupt the rendering of Slashdot [slashdot.org] . That's why Slashdot's comment system doesn't allow the use of any characters that aren't on a whitelist.

Re:Arabic is written from right to left (5:erocS) (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 3 years ago | (#37276722)

Couldn't they have instead inserted LTR control characters at the beginning and end of the message (and signatures)?

Re:Arabic is written from right to left (5:erocS) (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#37279330)

It's still a mystery as to why LTR scripts such as Greek or Cyrillic are still banned.

ASCII art (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#37279866)

I'm not an administrator, so I can only guess. But I think it's because Slashdot's administrators have chosen English as the language of the comment system, and other languages' characters may be more useful for ASCII art than for text that other English speakers will understand.

Re:Boycott time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275838)

Your point? That you're just another filthy, dog raping bigot? Yeah, that was loud and clear, you useless scumbag.

Re:Boycott time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275958)

Not really, no. Also, you were responding to a single individual and not "Americans", but, yeah, keep up with the pig ignorant, broad brush bullshit. It really makes the world a better place.

On topic: Would it be too much to expect the world of English speaking journalism to settle on a standard translation and go with that? They standardize plenty of other things.

Re:Boycott time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275154)

His name is Arabic, spelt like this: .

So, when will Slashdot render unicode correctly?

Re:Boycott time (1)

Stormthirst (66538) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275486)

I think that was kinda his (side) point.

better safe than sorry, it's win/win all around... (0)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275692)

If you let the muslims write their chickenscratch on /. , you open the portal to Zalgo.

Re:Boycott time (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275974)

No, his point was Slashdot does not render Unicode and one poster didn't understand the different spellings of Quackdaffy, therefore Americans are bad... or something. You know, typical bugfuck Slashdot horse shit.

Re:Boycott time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37276166)

'For some people, they don't even speak it at all! '

As long as they don't talk to Samuel L. Jackson it's OK.

Re:Boycott time (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275240)

Their names aren't Latin, so it all depends how you turn the sounds into our characters. It's like Hanukkah / Chanukah.

Re:Boycott time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275086)

Hello special agent Smith! How's your day?

Pretty boring. Bullock gave Agent Duper all the fun jobs, AGAIN, and here I am stuck at my desk doing computer crap. What a waste of these magnificent biceps. Bet you wish you had guns like these instead of noodly computer geek arms.

Re:Boycott time (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275188)

The difference is, people in Libya aren't afraid to take down their government by any means necessary.

You don't 'take down a government', you replace it with a different government. In this case it appears that NATO has been giving weapons to Islamic extremists, so odds are we're about to see a civil war between the different 'rebel' factions followed by Islamic government.

Maybe that'll be better than a wacko like Gaddafi, but I doubt they'll be any less censorious and oppressive.

Re:Boycott time (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275526)

The CIA doesn't sell things, except as part of some covert program. The CIA's stated goal is to do spy shit for the US, THAT IS ITS PURPOSE. What, you're expecting that the CIA should be off planting daises? We already have the Peace Corps for that. The problem here is that European private businesses are selling their shit to murderers, and they don't care. Not the first time we've seen this, is it? And don't give me this crap about what Ford did 80 years ago. This shit is happening now.

Re:Boycott time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37274938)

also, hug a tree

Re:Boycott time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275390)

1. The company discussed doesn't sell into the consumer market. 2. Most businesses (small businesses) aren't their customers. Businesses they deal with are of the same corporate stripe as the people you're boycotting. 3. Quiting a job there will ease your conscience, but it won't stop what they do. It's noble; but ineffective. It might help keep you off the wall if the revolution comes; but the fact that you ever worked there means you might still get lined up and shot. 4. Sometimes evil companies prosper for years. Sometimes they don't. There are socially responsible funds. Sometimes they do well. Sometimes they don't. Selling EvilCo's stock won't stop them from being evil. Somebody in the market will just pick it up at a bargain.

The boycott isn't the least you can do. How abouut lobbying your government? How about running for office yourself? How about protesting outside their offices? I think those actions would be more effective in the long run.

Re:Boycott time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275448)

If there were ever corporations more deserving of Anonymous' wrath...

Re:Boycott time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275460)

"companies whose management values money more than human freedom" is there any other kind of company?

Um... (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#37277304)

It's not that hard to get around this stuff. You can't boycott them all, and they all sell to allies and/or distributors that do.

Cisco sells to Pakistan (ally), Pakistan sells to Russia (supposedly an ally now), who sells either directly to Libya (who was taken OFF our state terror list a while back) or to China (supposedly an ally now too), who sells to North Korea, Libya, Syria, or Canada, all definitely NOT allies. Boycott Cisco all you want, but good luck finding a competitor large enough to supply what you need at a better price and has found a way to keep their products off non-ally soil... and by good luck, I mean, no way.

Oh Canada, I keed, I keed!

Re:Boycott time (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 3 years ago | (#37282260)

Please... The same type of monitoring equipment and "deep packet inspection" tech could be found in AT&T Room 641A and probably other places across US. Is there any country that does not spy in it's citizens internet traffic?

Wow Bull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37274800)

Wow I hope this is not the Bull of AIX fame.

I've admired this company for years. Hope this is not true.

Re:Wow Bull (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275282)

It is the same Bull.

BEWARE THE DUTCH DOPERZ !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37274858)

For they are really, really, really stoned !!

So What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37274862)

Every country that has internet service has it monitored by the government. Every company that makes telephone equipment builds in the capability to monitor it as well, and governments use it, including yours.

Re:So What? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275068)

wiretapping is the new hotness that ALL governments want to 'enjoy'.

not one single country has refused to spy on its own people. not one.

people are people. and people are bad unless KEPT good. who keeps governments good? no one! no one watches the watchers.

Re:So What? (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275196)

Who watches you when you go over the speedlimit and dont get caught?
Who watches you when you jaywalk, drive drunk, swipe a dollar, etc?
See how I flipped it? You are now the government in your little cliche fanaticism of ignorance.

Seriously, there is always someone somewhere doing something. If you want to close off your options, stay away from society, and keep your beliefs that everyone but you is bad, that is fine. But your hypocracy will do nothing for you nor solve your self-involving conundrum.

Grow up, manage the issues, and realize that no one is perfect, including you.

But I am.

Re:So What? (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275598)

builds in the capability to monitor it as well, and governments use it, especially yours.

FTFY.

One could argue that, thanks to our government's paranoia and deep pockets, the technology needed to implement CALEA [wikipedia.org] and snoop on its own citizens (Boeing's Narus) was originally developed. Once in existence, it made its way onto the global market, including Libya.

Monitoring the internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37274892)

Muammar Gaddafi's still monitoring the internet? Is he doing it from dial up?

Re:Monitoring the internet? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#37274948)

Muammar Gaddafi's still monitoring the internet? Is he doing it from dial up?

No, he uses IPoAC.

six months ago (4, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 3 years ago | (#37274920)

Six months ago Gaddafi and his government were legitimate. There are export restrictions to many nations (both from the US and Europe), but was there one to Libya? I'd suspect there wasn't. So this becomes a moral issue. Companies should have a "don't sell to dictators" policy. We should isolate them from all trade. No more business with China until they have a freely elected government. No more oil from Saudi Arabia until the kingdom is overthrown. The only viable solution is for "free" governments to allow and encourage anonymous, encrypted communication. Yes, that will make the job of law enforcement harder, people will use it to violate IP laws and traffic in child porn, but it is the only way to enable free exchange of ideas outside government control.

Re:six months ago (5, Insightful)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275042)

So this becomes a moral issue. Companies should have a "don't sell to dictators" policy. We should isolate them from all trade. No more business with China until they have a freely elected government. No more oil from Saudi Arabia until the kingdom is overthrown.

No more business with the US government until they close Guantanamo?

Re:six months ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275092)

No more business with China until they have a freely elected government. No more oil from Saudi Arabia until the kingdom is overthrown.

No more tea from England until the Orwellian nightmare is done away with. No more amateur porn from the US until we stop our morally bankrupt ways of liberating the fuck out of sovereign powers who have nothing to do with us.

Re:six months ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275136)

On the other had, you could make the argument of 'exporting culture', and if we cut off all trade, the local dictator could use it to further their 'blame the Western boogey man' story and help solidify their own power. I doubt many of them care if their country descents into an isolationist hellhole so long as they're on top of the hellhole (since they can always have someone go abroad and get them the niceties, see North Korea). I'm certainty not making any apologies for the way some companies have no problems playing ball with dictators if it helps the bottom line, just questioning if total embargoes are the best way to go about it.

Looks Good on Paper But ... (2)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275148)

Companies should have a "don't sell to dictators" policy. We should isolate them from all trade. No more business with China until they have a freely elected government.

So when you deny these countries all trade, who do you think it hurts the most? Do you the dictator and their cronies care? They might care that they don't get their Bentleys and 80 year old scotch but who really gets hurt are the people.

Here's some bedtime reading for your altruistic folks [wikipedia.org] that an Egyptian pointed out to me when I said that US Sanctions are the only ethical way to get dictatorships in line. When we sanctioned Iraq, half a million children died [wikimedia.org] . Now, you might say that it's not your problem that a country of sand can't get an agriculture infrastructure together to save its own children but when we went in there all cavalier like a couple times do you think the people praised our troops for ousting the dictator? Do you think they didn't know that we had imposed sanctions on their country which meant many of them starved?

You can say "no more high end commodities, only food and water" which is slightly better but then those simple commodities just become the prized possessions and dictators/warlords sit on rice and use it to control their starving populace. It's a good thought but you have to be prepared for the reality of what ensues.

Re:Looks Good on Paper But ... (1)

microbox (704317) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275776)

Form Australian prime minister Bob Hawke abhored racism and then apartide regime in South Africa. He pushed for sanctions within the commonwealth, and Thatcher gave the same argument that you just gave. Sanctions were pretty ineffective for a time, but they did end up bringing the South African regime to its knees. You see, Hawke and a small secretive team met with the major creditors of South Africa, and they got them all to agree to cut of South Africa's credit all at once. The regime fell just a few months later.

So sanctions /do/ work. But so does engagement through trade. I suspect that you have no problem accepting that the issue is far from clear.

Re:Looks Good on Paper But ... (2)

jafac (1449) | more than 3 years ago | (#37276402)

This is exactly correct: And EXACTLY how Free Independent Quebec was brought-back into Canada after the popular referendum to secede.

It's really not about TRADE SANCTIONS. It's about creditor blackmail.

Now you understand who REALLY runs the world, and why everything (geopolitically) actually happens.

You can circle-jerk all you want about politics and will-of-the-people, or even economics. But if a government, whether it's a gangster with a bunch of thugs, like Zimbabwe, or whether it's a constitutional parliament like Germany, can't get buy-in from the international banks, it's fucked - period. (and if the dictator and thugs are persisting for ANY period of time, you can be damn sure that it is at the pleasure of the banks - he's getting his capital from SOMEWHERE. In Gaddaffi's case, of course, he's selling oil).

Re:Looks Good on Paper But ... (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#37277290)

And why the Knights Templars where rounded up and killed once the debt of the French king was beyond his ability to manage.

Hell, there have been uprisings in the past where the population would raid banks and lenders and burn their ledgers. But these days, doing so would mean taking out computers in various places around the nation (or even world) and stand the risk of wiping out peoples savings as well as their debt.

Yep, the banksters really do have us by the balls this time round.

Re:Looks Good on Paper But ... (1)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 3 years ago | (#37277782)

>Do you think they didn't know that we had imposed sanctions on their country which meant many of them starved?

No country has a right to do business with the US or whomever. The reason they fought the US's troops after Saddam was caught was because WE INVADED THEIR COUNTRY AND KILLED A COUPLE THOUSAND CIVILIANS FOR THE FUN OF IT AND NO ONE WANTS TO BECOME A SERF IN A CLIENT STATE. See also Vietnam.

I'm so sick of George Bush getting a free pass for invading Iraq because "sanctions are bad mmm'kay." I wont even go into the millions of sanctions success stories. Sanctions do help keep foreign economies down, keep them with shitty old Soviet age weaponry, keep them uncompetitive, keep them from legitizing their rule with shiny western products etc.

Sorry, but if you want to know why Iraqis hate use, maybe it has more to do with the endless shower of munitions sent by GWB and the rest of the pro-war chickenhawks.

Re:six months ago (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275184)

Six months ago Khadaffy and his government were the darlings of the civilized world. He met with many top European leaders. He gave the al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights to the progressive President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Trade was supposed to open up his regime, just like it opened up other oppressive countries. Give the common folk a taste of the good life and suddenly they want more than Khadaffy's couple hundred dinars a month.

"Don't sell to dictators"? And then you mention China? China's not a dictatorship, dude. No more oil from Saudi Arabia...laff. Then, it's a segue to an unrelated topic, encrypted communication. Dude, I have two questions for you: (1) what are you smoking, and (2) where can I get some?

Re:six months ago (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275644)

Six months ago Khadaffy and his government were the darlings of the civilized world.

Speaking for the decadent and barbaric United States, I will say WE have consistently hated the bastard for quite a while. I suspect you'll find the UK did as well.

Re:six months ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275212)

If I remember, India is the largest democracy in world and also have laws (or are trying to pass them) to restrict some forms of encrypted communications.

Any political regime that are willing to provide cheap goods/services to some countries is a legitimate regime.

Welcome to the real world.

Legitimate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275264)

Six months ago Gaddafi and his government were legitimate

What you mean is "legitimate" as determined by other governments -- namely the current world superpower governments -- NOT legitimate as determined by the people of Libya, nor by the people living under the rule of other governments. If you wish to speak for those millions of individuals, then you will need to actively collect the opinions of each of those millions of individuals, because each of them is quite capable of thinking for himself or herself (that is what makes us human after all), and therefore no government can logically speak for "their" people as if they mindlessly think in unison like the borg.

You always have an idea of what the current superpower governments want, because the political reality of the world is controlled by exactly those people (i.e. the elite at the very top of the pyramid).

Re:Legitimate (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275518)

I suppose we could question the legitimacy of a government with election laws and a system of gerrymandering that maintains a phony political duopoly and excludes any alternatives that would seriously question the status quo.

Re:six months ago (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#37276234)

No more business with China until they have a freely elected government. No more oil from Saudi Arabia until the kingdom is overthrown.

No more McDonalds till all people from Gitmo had either a fair trial or are released. No more Microsoft till the war on drugs is stopped. No more respect for US trademarks and copyrights till American people get a civil, human and affordable healthcare.

Mmm. I think we are on to something.

Re:six months ago (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#37277962)

So this becomes a moral issue. Companies should have a "don't sell to dictators" policy. We should isolate them from all trade. No more business with China until they have a freely elected government. No more oil from Saudi Arabia until the kingdom is overthrown.

Yeah, that's worked real well with Cuba. The U.S. has had a trade embargo against them for some 50 years now, and last I checked their dictator was still sitting comfy with his position.

I don't know what's the best method to indirectly topple a dictator. The trade embargo method you propose seems to have a worse track record than the free trade method we're trying with China (trade normally, allow middle class to gain wealth and power), though there are also cases like Saudi Arabia where trade hasn't given the average person much more power. I suspect the best solution is quite a bit more nuanced than the one you're proposing. Certain types of trade (particularly ones like in this case, which make it easier for dictators to control their population) should be embargoed. Others should be freely allowed.

It does make one wonder though if the decades of suffering endured by those people while we wait for indirect methods to work are really preferable to a few years of suffering following a full-scale invasion and setting up a democratic government. Looking back at history, it seems the greatest outburst of democracy followed WWII, when the Allies gained control over numerous nations which had formerly been subjugated by Germany, Japan, and Italy a few years prior, and re-established them as fledgling democracies.

And BTW, most of the trade sanctions against Libya were dropped when Ghadaffi renounced terrorism, following his adopted daughter being killed in a U.S. bombing raid (a story which now looks like was false). I guess the thinking was that if you want to encourage leaders, even malevolent ones, to give up terrorism, you have to give then something in return when they do. In Libya's case, it was normalization of trade.

Re:six months ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37279286)

It might be difficult to negotiate a UN agreement that a company can't break the constitution of its "homeland" everywhere and in any transaction on the basis of human rights being universal. This obviously can't be extended to local subsidiaries or the governments will never agree on such a principle.

Corporations are people... (4, Insightful)

acidradio (659704) | more than 3 years ago | (#37274954)

Corporations are "people"... until it is time to prosecute them. Then nothing seems to happen.

Re:Corporations are people... (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275118)

Prosecute them in this case for what, exactly?

Re:Corporations are people... (1)

at_slashdot (674436) | more than 3 years ago | (#37278088)

For lack of common sense, of course :)

Re:Corporations are people... (1)

I cant believe its n (1103137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37279000)

Prostitution?

In other news (4, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275020)

Money talks, whats the real story here?

Corp crimes aginst humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275024)

If he has gilt so do those who assisted and need to be charged being as they are a person and all.

Of course they did (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275058)

Corporations are required by law to be completely amoral money-making machines. They are supposed to pursue all legal avenues for profit, and can be sued by their shareholders if they do not. Therefor, it is no surprise that the vast majority of major corporations, even ones with slogans like "Don't be evil", will work with oppressive regimes in order to gain access to new sources of revenue.

Re:Of course they did (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275182)

This is not true. The obligation to shareholders is not that short sighted. If a company can say they thought this could hurt profits if it came out they could avoid doing it. You can be sued by anyone at anytime, for just about any reason. This does not mean the person bringing the lawsuit will get anything.

Re:Of course they did (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275192)

No they are not. It is perfectly ok to have a policy of not selling stuff to certain customers, for example dictators.

Re:Of course they did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275286)

Corporations are required by law to be completely amoral money-making machines. They are supposed to pursue all legal avenues for profit, and can be sued by their shareholders if they do not.

Umm, no. They are required to be responsible to their elected board and to comply with their charters of incorporation, period.

If their shareholders vote to dissolve the company and transfer all its assets to a re-chartered nonprofit entity for the benefit of puppies and orphans, then that's what the company has to do.

"European" (1)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275060)

It's funny. When it's in the USA you go even to the city-name. When it's outside, you pick the name that you can flame against the better.

Shame on you.

Re:"European" (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275146)

More specifically:
"Earlier this year, Libyan officials held talks with Amesys" - France / 'European'
"other companies including Boeing Co.â(TM)s Narus" - USA / 'North American'
"telecom company ZTE Corp. also provided technology " - China / 'Asian'
"VASTech SA Pty Ltd [...] provided" - South Africa / 'African'

So, I guess that leaves South American, Australian and Antarctic as the only continents' possessives that needn't be shamed?

Yeah.. flamebait submission topic.

Re:"European" (3, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275226)

Sure, it's flamebait. I should point out, however, that Narus (according to a different article on CBS, I couldn't read the WSJ article) rejected the Libyan's deal. The primary contributors were Amyses and ZTE, it looks like. One is Chinese (so you really shouldn't be surprised) and the other is French (which is the 'scandalous' part). So flamebait, maybe. Still true. Also, VAStech provided the tools to monitor international calls, so nothing to do with the Internet monitoring.

So yeah, calling out a French company for selling to Libya is perfectly justified even if very flamebaity.

Come on, no double standards now (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275078)

How about the British Labour Party? Up to their armpits in money, posts and doctorates when it comes to the Gaddafi family. Time for a boycott?

wrong title! (2)

Axure (2447026) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275216)

There are four contractors named in the story: Amesys (of Bull SA, France), Narus (of Boeing, USA), VASTech SA (South Africa) and ZTE (China). How on Earth did you come up with the title "European firms ..." ?? I hate to say, but you confirm some ugly stereotypes about Americans' awareness of the world beyond their borders. (BTW, the WSJ story is a rare free one - no pay wall.)

Re:wrong title! (1)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 3 years ago | (#37277170)

"Narus does not comment on potential business ventures," a Narus spokeswoman said in a statement. "There have been no sales or deployments of Narus technology in Libya."

  • Narus - USA - Nothing
  • Amesys - France - Eagle Technology to observe Network Traffic and read peoples emails
  • VASTech - South Africa - Zebra Survellience Product - tools to tap and log phone calls
  • ZTE - China - un-described monitoring tools and deals with security forces according to "insiders"

War Crimes (1)

mfh (56) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275238)

If you run a firm that provides IT snooping for war criminals, then you too are being a war criminal and you too should face criminal charges.

Everyone (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275262)

was doing business with Lybian regime, especially before it was called a "regime" but rather a "government".

African Dictators (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275330)

KDQ (Kaddafy Ghadafi Qadafee) makes #2 on the list of all time badass African Dictators (Africanews.com http://www.africanews.com/site/Africas_top_10_dictators_of_all_time/list_messages/39642 [africanews.com] ). Trying to control how oil rich African dictators spend their money has never been a solution. Ultimately, the Revolution 2.0 or "Arab Spring" is a sign that young people in these emerging markets/nations have caught on to the idea of "blaming colonialists" for the acts if dictator assholes. Trying to blame "multinationals" for their problems probably isn't going to fly any better.

By the way, most of these regimes are now seizing containerloads of working computers as "e-waste", blaming all the technology companies for "polluting" their landfills with internet cafes, err, "toxic computers". They'll be warning their people of contagious computer viruses next. So far, German media Bauerfiend is the only major media to catch on to the "ewaste" excuse for hardware censorship disguised as "stewardship". This program documents how I had 3 containerloads of Pentium 4s seized by Mubarak's "EPA" enforcement... http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/1352178/E-Waste [www.zdf.de] I think it's too late for these dictators to put the genie back in the bottle. The African "Geeks of Color" will triumph, and in 30 years I hope we'll be talking about "African Tiger" tech economies, and these dictators will be join General Custer, Stalin, and Hitler in the history books. You never saw stories like this in African magazines in the 1980s, they would have been seized and burned.

What? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275340)

Do you honestly expect a society that runs on pure greed to do a moral background check on its customers before cashing in?

Gmail etc. HOW?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275424)

What I'd like to know is, why Amesys actually mentions services like Hotmail, Gmail etc. as completely and in real-time interceptable by governments using its products:
http://web.archive.org/web/20081114014541/http://amesys.fr/PRODUITS/DTSHEET/Glint_EN.pdf [archive.org]

Since at least Gmail is SSL-only, are we seeing here the first actually public evidence, that SSL is routinely and en mass intercepted and MITM'ed by a bunch of governments, most likely through using CA-signed certs in-between, that any browser trusts??! That, for me, is the real story here and it would be terribly nice, if some investigative journalist would get some more details on this point (see the Amesys brochure)!

Re:Gmail etc. HOW?? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275618)

I'm pretty sure in 2008 gmail was like everyone else, using an SSL login page then returning a non-encrypted firesheepable session id that was used on non-encrypted pages afterwards.

Companies and dictatorships (1)

Kulfaangaren! (1294552) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275564)

I can't understand why everyone gets so upset about the fact that companies does business with dictatorships. It is not a companies place to dictate foreign policy, that is why we have politicians (they do precious little anyways so why make their burden even lighter ?). An embargo against a country should be enforced on a national level, by a nation or group of nations, not by a sales rep at Toy's 'R Us or Nokia. If they can refuse to do business with Gaddafi's regime that opens the flood gates to all kinds of discrimination, what is next ? If companies should be required to stop doing business with Gaddafi or maybe Syria, why should they be allowed to continue trade on the Chinese market? Also an oppressive and military backed dictatorship.

Wtf? (1)

X.25 (255792) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275568)

But if they'd sell the same thing to US government, or NZ government, then it's ok?

Re:Wtf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37276308)

But if they'd sell the same thing to US government, or NZ government, then it's ok?

Of course! If you sell something to bad government, that is perfectly legal for you to do but then are ostracized for doing it or worse. But if you sell the same stuff to good government, then nothing happens even if both governments use your tools in the same way - to crack down on dissent.

Another example. Warrantless wiretapping is OK! But videotape police doing their job, you get wiretapping charges on your ass and worse.

Another example. Country X official arms dealer wants to sell armaments to Country Y. Country U comes along, arrests the arms dealer X and throws them in jail for life then turns around and sells their own armaments to Country Y. Nothing like getting rid of competition!

So yes, if you want witch hunts, you strongly support this stupid article on slashdot. I mean, it is unpatriotic and against freedom to support witches! Burn them all! Screw legalities.

make human rights violation a civil tort (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37275620)

allow citizens of the affected country to sue companies that facilitate violations as a class

remove limited liability from corporate officers and shareholders in case of judgments against them for human rights violations

these things will work themselves out

Good Precedent (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275728)

If you sell to a regime that represses its people, and there is a revolt, you risk being outed. Being outed as a supporter of a government that censors, oppresses, and attacks its own people can't be good for business. It would be nice if this became a trend. It would be more interesting and impressive if some monitoring companies actively marketed their distance from such regimes. "Our competitors support dictators. We do not. Make the ethical choice."

I hate G with a passion, but . . . (2)

dogsbreath (730413) | more than 3 years ago | (#37275806)

This is just a non-issue.

If anything, it is a red-herring that draws attention away from the illegal and morally bankrupt behaviour of G and the gang of monsters he called family and friends. These companies sold equipment and technology within legal boundaries, practices and processes. Absolutely everything we consume today is tied to a moral issue at some degree of separation. Techno-morality cherry picking.

Haul G's ass up onto the docket for prosecution. And reserve a special cell for Hannibal G and his twisted, obscene troll of a wife. Shine the spotlight on Algeria for propping up G with weapons, supplies and mercenaries, and in the final act for providing refuge for the clan.

Go to
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2031390/Aline-Skaf-Gaddafis-daughter-law-threw-boiling-water-nanny-Shweyga-Mullah.html [dailymail.co.uk]
to see what Aline Skaf (Hannibal's wife) did to their nanny.

There is so much real, solid, evil to latch onto in this conflict, I find this story to be laughable.

I would feel different if the foreign tech companies acted directly in immoral acts. Providing a country with monitoring capability is not even close to being immoral.

If this issue turns your crank, then let's look at some other activities in Libya:

Want a techno issue? How about the hosting providers who give voice to G propaganda outlets like mathaba.net and algathafi.org? Or other sites that the regime used to communicate with terrorist orgs?

There are companies which drilled for oil to feed money into the regime. How did G get $50B / yr to keep Saif, Mutassim, Hannibal etc in their positions of power?

Bankers gave safe harbour for billions embezzled from the country's coffers.

What about the tanks and guns used by G to suppress the population? Where did they come from?

Everybody and his malamute sold them arms. Want a morally corrupt issue? Talk to the Russians about the more than 20,000 SA7s (shoulder launched surface to air) missiles they sold G. Obsolete, next to useless against military aircraft even back when new, and useful mainly against civilian airliners. The CIA provided only 1500 Stingers to the mujahadin in Afghanistan. Expenditure on this one weapon system alone was over $100 million. Frick. Libyans are walking around with diseases caused primarily by neglect and malnutrition while the government is spending huge dollars on weapons useful only to terrorists.

Huawei built the cellular infrastructure and then refused to help the TNC get the system going again in the Eastern part of the country after G chopped off coverage.

How about the GMR and the unknown effect on water resources in Africa. Better haul Brown and Root to the table for a grilling along with Thyssen Krupp, and dozens of other companies.

The list goes on and on, but so what?

Re:I hate G with a passion, but . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37281652)

So you work for Narus then?

yep (1)

jafac (1449) | more than 3 years ago | (#37276342)

Freedom for us? Good! (we have no oil, right?)
Freedom for "them"? NOT GOOD! Please send bombs/teargas/firewalls/wiretapping-equipment!

Of course - we, in the US, and those in the UK, France, Russia/USSR, and other Superpowers, AND even regional powers, have been at this game for centuries. IN FACT. Rome did it to Gaul. Ancient Lower-Egypt did it to (what is now)Somalia, until they pressed for unification to become Upper-Egypt (upper/lower as-the-Nile-flows). Anywhere you have resources, and inequality, you can have exploitation.

And - of course, I'm only joking with you all. It's not like we're really FREE here.
Did our presidential election in 2008 actually count for jack squat? Did it change the policies that Obama voters were hoping for? (anything besides DADT? - this is the ONLY meaningful policy change he has accomplished!) We still wiretap, domestically, we still detain without warrants, we still imprison without trial, we still deprive people of property, we still invade personal privacy, and our democracy is a sham with two corporatist center-right parties, and no voice for any other view.

It's a dirty job... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37276966)

but someone's gotta do it.

we are stories being submited from paywalls? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#37278762)

I think that it is time for /. to consider saying no to posts that have links behind paywalls.

Re:we are stories being submited from paywalls? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 3 years ago | (#37281022)

I debated putting that link in there but decided to include it for the /.er's that do subscribe.

Re:we are stories being submited from paywalls? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#37281712)

But that is helping to justify the paywall. No links and suddenly paywalls do not look so good.

Re:we are stories being submited from paywalls? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 3 years ago | (#37281730)

However, on a side note, good find WRT the subject. It really shows how unethical large businesses really are.

Interesting Google Tech Talk (1)

rawler (1005089) | more than 3 years ago | (#37278862)

http://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleTechTalks#p/search/0/SSYXw87BWXo [youtube.com] Look especially 08:32 and a few minutes onwards.

For the impatient: Privacy International reflects on the point that these dictatorship-friendly features aren't originally ordered by dictators. From the beginning it was demanded by western governments, and once available, not explicitly disabled to the next customer. (In this case, Iran)

Creepy Narus (1)

OFnow (1098151) | more than 3 years ago | (#37280668)

I know someone who worked at Narus when it was a shiny new startup, and after hearing what they did (basically spy on internet users) I was a little shocked my friend was willing to work there.
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