Tuesday, May 10, 2011

While democratic uprisings in Arab world. . .

...utilized Facebook, Twitter and other tools from the U.S. tech industry, are tyrants in Arab and Islamic countries using Silicon Valley's help to suppress their people?

From Steve Henn's report, "The downside to Western technology in the Middle East" (public radio's Marketplace 5/9/11)
Facebook and Twitter received lots of credit for helping to spread the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia -- but Silicon Valley contributions to the Arab Spring are actually much more complicated. Within a half hour's drive of Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters there are at least a half a dozen other tech firms whose sales in the Middle East facilitate surveillance or censorship. Driving down Highway 101 from Palo Alto you'll pass the headquarters of McAfee and Palo Alto Networks -- both sell technology that's widely used in the Middle East to censor the net. You'll pass Polaris -- which helps states track their citizens using their cell phones -- and if you turn and left and head out to Milpitas you'll reach SS8. In security circles, SS8 is kind of infamous for designing software to bug BlackBerries.

Tyler Shields is a security consultant at Veracode.

Tyler Shields: Essentially, a lot of countries in the Middle East and Asia like to monitor all data in and outbound from their borders.

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