Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Syria, China worst for online spying: RSF

PARIS: Syria, China, Iran, Bahrain and Vietnam are flagrantly spying online, media watchdog RSF said today, urging controls on the export of Internet surveillance tools to regimes clamping down on dissent.

A new report entitled "Enemies of the Internet" also singled out five companies -- Gamma, Trovicor, Hacking Team, Amesys and Blue Coat -- that it branded "digital era mercenaries," who were helping oppressive governments.

Syria's estimated five million Internet users are subject to rampant state spying, Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF, Journalists without Borders) said in the report, which coincides with the World Day Against Cyber-Censorship. Noting that 22 journalists and 18 Internet users had been jailed, it said the network was controlled by two entities including the Syrian Computer Society (SCG) founded by President Bashar al-Assad.

The SCG, it said, controlled Syria's 3G infrastructure, while the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE) controlled the majority of the fixed connections.

"When the government orders the blocking of a word, of an URL, or of a site, STE transmits the order to service providers," it said, publishing a leaked 1999 bid invitation from STE to install a national Internet system in Syria.

The requirements include recording of online and offline activities, copying of all e-mail exchanges from within Syria, and the ability to detect, intercept and block any encrypted data.

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