MEP Heidi Hautala and MEP Marietje Schaake have today tabled written questions to the Commission and the Council about the regulation of surveillance technology.[:]
Grave abuse have been found to have occurred in Iran, as lawful interception techology and monitoring centre devices provided by Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) were used after the unrest of 2009 in Iran to detect, imprison, torture and even kill opposition supporters. Therefore there is a need to draft a detailed plan on how to enhance human rights vis-à-vis the new communication technology. Hautala and Schaake ask, if the Council and Commission have taken steps to consider banning the export of surveillance technology in certain cases and limiting the scope of networks’ mandatory lawful interception capacity in the EU and outside Europe.
Heidi Hautala welcomes the statement of Nokia Siemens Networks made in the Subcommittee on Human rights in the European Parliament in last June. The representant of NSN Barry French admitted, that the company has made a mistake and that it has exited from the Monitoring centre business.
Read the questions for the commission and the council:
Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) sold to Iran a Lawful Interception Gateway (LIG) as part of the mobile network in 2008. LIG enables intercepting individual persons who have been identified by law enforcement authorities. The monitoring extends to incoming and outgoing calls, text messages, and data calls (including fax transmissions). Later the same year NSN sold also a Monitoring centre. Monitoring centres can monitor up to very large numbers of persons. NSN has later exited from the Monitoring centre business.
LIG is a standard tool in the mobile networks in the European Union and United States. While there are concerns of excessive surveillance even in EU and US, grave abuse have been found to have occurred in Iran, as LIG and monitoring centre devices provided by NSN were used after the unrest of 2009 in Iran to detect, imprison, torture and even kill opposition supporters.
The European Parliament criticized strongly in its resolution on 10.02.2010 international companies, in particular NSN, for providing the Iranian authorities with the necessary censorship and surveillance technology, thus being instrumental in the persecution and arrest of Iranian dissidents.
-Does the Commission/Council have a detailed plan on how to enhance human rights vis-à-vis the new communication technology? If not, will it formulate a comprehensive policy for the prevention of the use of surveillance technology against human rights defenders and dissidents?
-Does the Commission/Council see the international regulation of the surveillance technology business, especially lawful interception and monitoring centres, as the best tool to tackle the problem?
-Has the Commission/Council taken immediate steps to ban the export of surveillance technology (especially monitoring centres) by EU companies to countries, such as Iran, whose governments could use it to violate freedom of expression, as the European Parliament has called in its resolution on 10.2.2010?
-As the mandatory lawful interception capacities in mobile networks are being used to silence dissidents and human rights defenders, is the Commission/Council prepared to consider working towards a change in network standards that would limit the scope of networks’ mandatory lawful interception capacity in the EU and outside Europe?