US firm confirms web censoring tools used in Syria

Oct 29, 2011
A US firm specializing in Internet censoring equipment on Friday confirmed that Syria was using its products to block web activity, amid a brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests.

A US firm specializing in Internet censoring equipment on Friday confirmed that Syria was using its products to block web activity, amid a brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests.

Northern California-based Blue Coat Systems told AFP that Internet filtering equipment sold to Iraq's communications ministry has mysteriously been put to use in Syria but insisted it did not know how the equipment changed hands.

The United States bars selling any such equipment to Syria.

"The evidence points to it being in Syria," a Blue Coat official said, referring to analysis of data logs and computer address numbers from Syria's Internet posted by 'hactivists.'

"Since we didn't sell it there, we don't know the particulars," said the official, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.

The official said that it appears that at least 13 of the 14 Web censoring "appliances" shipped to Iraq -- which combine computer hardware and software -- are being used in Syria.

That would be enough equipment to effectively curb in that country, according to the company, which said the equipment was shipped to Dubai for delivery to the Iraqi government.

Paperwork marking the chain of custody gave the impression the Internet filtering gear had been delivered to the intended customer, according to the company.

The estimates that more than 3,000 people, mostly , have been killed in the bloody of anti-regime that have rocked Syria since mid-March.

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User comments : 3

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kaasinees
0.3 / 5 (22) Oct 29, 2011
USA the most hypocritical country in the world, how can you judge China and Syria for using censoring tools when you have one to? Homeland security has the ability to hijack DNS records without asking a judge first.
sigfpe
1 / 5 (1) Oct 29, 2011
@kaasinees When a US firm talks about filtering software being used in another country (1) it isn't the USA, it's a private company and (2) this company was merely reporting the use of their software, not making judgments.
kaasinees
0.3 / 5 (22) Oct 29, 2011
@sigfpe
1. The research must be funded by someone, who has benefit for this knowledge?
2. The government does not have the expertise to do this research. Technology related research/production is always outsourced.

In October 2011 it was reported [12] [13] that the US government is looking into claims made by Telecomix that the Syrian government is using the companies products in order to help them restrict internet access from its citizens. The hacktivist group released 54Gb of log data alleged to have been taken from seven Blue Coat web gateway appliances. This showed that search terms including 'Israel' and 'proxy' were blocked in the country using the appliances. [14] Blue Coat has denied these allegations and says that it is posible that their equipment could be acquired via the grey market or on eBay.