Questions Raised About U.S. Firm's Role in Egypt Internet Crackdown

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Josh Stearns, 413-585-1533 x204

Questions Raised About U.S. Firm's Role in Egypt Internet Crackdown

WASHINGTON - A
U.S. company appears to have sold Egypt technology to monitor Internet
and mobile phone traffic that is possibly being used by the ruling
regime to crack down on communications as protests erupt throughout the
country.
Boeing-owned, California-based company Narus sold Telecom Egypt, the
state-run Internet service provider, "real-time traffic intelligence"
equipment, more commonly known as Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)
technology. DPI is content-filtering technology that allows network
managers to inspect, track and target content from Internet users and
mobile phones as it passes through routers on the Web.

The company is also known for creating "NarusInsight," a
supercomputer system allegedly used by the National Security Agency and
other entities to perform mass surveillance and monitoring of public and
corporate Internet communications in real time.

Narus Vice President of Marketing Steve Bannerman said to Wired
in 2006: "Anything that comes through (an internet protocol network),
we can record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with
attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct
their [voice over internet protocol] calls."

Free Press Campaign Director Timothy Karr made the following statement:

"What we are seeing in Egypt is a frightening example of how the
power of technology can be abused. Commercial operators trafficking in
Deep Packet Inspection technology to violate Internet users' privacy is
bad enough; in government hands, that same invasion of privacy can
quickly lead to stark human rights violations.

"Companies that profit from sales of this technology need to be
held to a higher standard. The same technology U.S. and European
companies want to use to monitor and monetize their customers' online
activities is being used by regimes in Iran, China, Burma and others for
far more suspicious, and possibly brutal, purposes.

"The harm to democracy and the power to control the Internet are so
disturbing that the threshold for the global trafficking in DPI must be
set very high. That's why, before DPI becomes more widely used around
the world and at home, Congress must establish legitimate standards for
preventing the use of such control and surveillance technologies as
means to violate human rights."

For more information read Karr's story at the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/timothy-karr/one-us-corporations-role-_b_815281.html

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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