Five nations, five firms named enemies of the Internet

A non-profit organization made up of journalists has named five countries and five corporations are “enemies of the Internet” in two reports that were released today – the international World Day Against Cyber Censorship.

“This year’s ‘Enemies of the Internet’ report is focusing on surveillance – all monitoring and spying carried out in order to control dissidents and prevent the dissemination of sensitive information, activities, designed to shore up governments and head off potential destabilization,” according the a statement from Reporters Without Borders.
The RWB cited research down by news agencies and the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, which point to the prevalent use of technology to spy on dissidents by repressive regimes in countries.


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The five countries listed as State Enemies of the Internet were: Syria, China, Iran, Bahrain and Vietnam.

The five companies listed as Corporate Enemies of the Internet were:

– Amesys, a French technology firm accused by human rights group of complicity in torture activities by government operatives in Libya under during Gaddafi’s reign.

– Blue Coat System, a United States Web security company whose proxy servers are believed to have been used in surveillance operations in Syria and Burma

– Gamma International, a technology company with facilities in United Kingdom and Germany whose surveillance equipment is being used in Bahrain and Egypt

– Hacking Team, an Italian company specializing in eavesdropping equipment used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies

– Trovico GmbH, a German company that was formerly the intelligence solutions branch of Siemens Voice and Data Recording. Trovicor’s surveillance technology is said to be used in monitoring emails, text messages and phone calls in Bahrain and Tunisia, according to human rights groups

RWB pointed out that surveillance technologies can be used for “legitimate purposes” such as fighting cyber crime. However, the companies on the list chose to sell products that are liable to be used by governments to violate human rights and freedom of information.

“If these companies decide to sell to authoritarian regimes, they must have known their products could be used to spy on journalist, dissidents and netizens,” the RWB said. “…Their failure to keep track of the exports of their own software means they did not care if their technology was misused and did not care about the vulnerability of those who defend human rights.”

The RWB said The U.S. and the European Union have already banned the export of surveillance technology in Iran and Syria but stressed the need to harmonize their efforts.

Find out more from Reporters Without Borders here

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