Sunday, November 06, 2011

Assad's Italian Tech Support

Blake Hounshell flags the story of the company installing Syria's dissent-quenching network:
"As Syria’s crackdown on protests has claimed more than 3,000 lives since March, Italian technicians in telecom offices from Damascus to Aleppo have been busy equipping President Bashar al-Assad’s regime with the power to intercept, scan and catalog virtually every e-mail that flows through the country.

"Employees of Area SpA, a surveillance company based outside Milan, are installing the system under the direction of Syrian intelligence agents, who’ve pushed the Italians to finish, saying they urgently need to track people, a person familiar with the project says. The Area employees have flown into Damascus in shifts this year as the violence has escalated, says the person, who has worked on the system for Area...

"When the system is complete, Syrian security agents will be able to follow targets on flat-screen workstations that display communications and Web use in near-real time alongside graphics that map citizens’ networks of electronic contacts, according to the documents and two people familiar with the plans."

This company's contract for installing the system they call "Asfador" is $18 million.

(Crossposted to American Footprints)



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