Nokia Siemens denies Iran web snoop

Nokia Siemens denies Iran web snoop

Summary: Nokia Siemens has denied providing deep packet inspection capabilities to the Iranian authorities, following an article in the Wall Street Journal on Monday.The WSJ published the article which claimed Nokia Siemens had provided internet monitoring capabilities to the Iranians, "at least in part", and quoting Nokia Siemens head of media relations Ben Roome.

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TOPICS: Security
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Nokia Siemens has denied providing deep packet inspection capabilities to the Iranian authorities, following an article in the Wall Street Journal on Monday.

The WSJ published the article which claimed Nokia Siemens had provided internet monitoring capabilities to the Iranians, "at least in part", and quoting Nokia Siemens head of media relations Ben Roome.

"If you sell networks, you also, intrinsically, sell the capability to intercept any communication that runs over them," Roome told WSJ.

However, Roome told ZDNet UK on Monday that Nokia Siemens had in no way provided deep packet inspection capabilities to the Iranian regime, and that the company had provided what is known as 'lawful intercept' for voice.

"We provided purely voice monitoring -- phone call wiretapping, it used to be called," said Roome.

Roome also published a blog post on Monday, saying that Nokia Siemens provided "lawful intercept" capabilities to Iranian carrier TCI.

"To clarify: Nokia Siemens Networks has provided lawful intercept capability solely for the monitoring of local voice calls in Iran," wrote Roome. "In most countries around the world, including all EU member states and the U.S., telecommunications networks are legally required to have the capability for lawful intercept and this is also the case in Iran."

According to the BBC, the Iranians use a Nokia Siemens product called "Monitoring Centre". A cached version of a Nokia Siemens promotion for Monitoring Centre said that the product:

"is a remarkably versatile combination of interoperating software and hardware modules, and is designed to perform all tasks related to lawful interception in an absolutely secure, auditable, reliable and verifiable manner in accordance with ETSI LI standards. Its unique modular front-end and back-end architecture allows the monitoring and interception of all types of voice and data communication in all networks, i.e. fixed, mobile, Next Generation Network (NGN) and the internet."

However, Roome told ZDNet UK that Nokia Siemens had only provided "limited capability" to TCI, and that the "monitoring centre" technology had since been sold on.

"We provided the limited capability in the second half of 2008, and the technology was sold at the end of March," said Roome.

That part of Nokia Siemens technology was sold to Perusa Partners Fund LLP, a German holding company, on 31 March.

Topic: Security

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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