A Canadian human rights monitoring group has documented the use of American-made Internet surveillance and censorship technology by more than a dozen governments, some with harsh human rights policies like Syria, China and Saudi Arabia.
The Citizen Lab Internet research group, based at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, used computer servers to scan for the distinctive signature of gear made by Blue Coat Systems of Sunnyvale, Calif.
It determined that Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Republic employed a Blue Coat system that could be used for digital censorship. The group also determined that Bahrain, China, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nigeria, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey and Venezuela used equipment that could be used for surveillance and tracking.
The authors said they wanted to alert the public that there was a growing amount of surveillance and content-filtering technology distributed throughout the Internet. The technology is not restricted from export by the State Department, except to countries that are on embargo lists, like Syria, Iran and North Korea.
“Our findings support the need for national and international scrutiny of the country Blue Coat implementations we have identified, and a closer look at the global proliferation of dual-use information and communications technology,” the group noted. “We hope Blue Coat will take this as an opportunity to explain their due diligence process to ensure that their devices are not used in ways that violate human rights.”
A spokesman for Blue Coat Systems said the firm had not seen the final report and was not prepared to comment...