Recent history is rich with businesses and large corporations selling spy gear to authoritarian regimes. For instance, Cisco and Net Optics have sold spy tech to the Great Chinese Firewall, while Nokia Siemens has sold such technology to the repressive Bahrain government.
The most recent unveiling of improper corporate-state business relations comes from an investigation by the Swedish news program Uppdrag Granskning. The show’s investigators have shown that Swedish telecom giant Teliasonera has been selling “black boxes” to countries such as Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Georgia and Kazakhstan. The black boxes allow these regimes to monitor in real time Internet traffic, location data, phone calls, and text messages. All the goodies for keeping the cattle properly corralled.
After Uppdrag Granskning’s documentary ”How Teliasonera Sells to Dictatorships: The Black Boxes” aired, Swedish citizens and Teliasonera investors were outraged. Teliasonera’s chairman of the Board of Directors met with Peter Norman, Sweden’s Minister of Financial Markets, and promised “an action programme for handling issues related to protection of privacy and freedom of expression in non-democratic countries, in a better and more transparent way.”
It’s repulsive that it take a public shaming for certain corporations to own up to systemic unethical business dealings. This, of course, is the sociopathic element of commerce encouraged by capitalism. And, on an interesting side note, Teliasonera has just been employed by Facebook to build its European optical network, according to The Next Web.
Watch the hour-long Uppdrag Granskning documentary below.
[Image via Shutterstock]