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Nokia Siemens Networks




Finland’s Nokia and Germany’s Siemens created the Nokia Siemens Networks in a joint venture in April 2007, according to an industry publication (InformationWeek, March 15, 2007). 

In the aftermath of the fraudulent June 2009 elections, it was clear that the Iranian regime used technology to block communications, monitor and gather information about individuals, according to The Wall Street Journal. The technology used had been sold to Iran by Nokia Siemens Networks in 2008 as part of a larger contract that included a “monitoring center” that was put into the government’s telecom monopoly (The Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2009). 

According to a Nokia Siemens statement, “Nokia Siemens Networks has provided Lawful Intercept capability solely for the monitoring of local voice calls in Iran. Nokia Siemens Networks has not provided any deep packet inspection, web censorship or Internet filtering capability to Iran” (Nokia Siemens Networks Press Statement, June 22, 2009).

In a statement before the European Parliament, an official from Nokia Siemens Networks stated: “Monitoring centers are, in our view, more problematic and have a risk of raising issues related to human rights that we are not adequately suited to address. Our core competency is not working with law enforcement agencies, who are not our typical customers. Those agencies could have an interest in expanding the capability of monitoring centers beyond the standards-based approach of Lawful Interception. Such expansion could include more intrusive practices such as broad network scanning to detect new subjects based on the content of their communications, or filtering of content to block open debate and discussion. While tools to do just that are readily available from multiple sources, we have not and will not provide technology intended for such purposes. As a result, soon after our formation as a company, we made a decision to exit from the monitoring center business, and closed a transaction to divest our remaining assets in March 2009, well before the disputed election in June” (European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights, June 2, 2010).

According to The Wall Street Journal, Nokia Siemens Networks announced “it has decided not to take on any new business in Iran and will gradually reduce its existing commitments, effective Jan. 1, 2012” (The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2011).

Last Updated: July 17, 2014