NPR FOR THE DEAF: Exporting Totalitarianism AIR

As protesters in the Middle East use social media to organize and communicate, the regimes they’re battling are using sophisticated technology to intercept their emails, text messages and cellphone calls.On Wednesday’s Fresh Air, journalist Ben Elgin talks about a Bloomberg News series, “Wired for Repression,” which details how Western companies are selling surveillance technology to regimes including Iran, Syria, Bahrain and Tunisia. Those regimes have then used the information obtained from those technologies to torture protesters and dissidents, Elgin tells Fresh Air contributor Dave Davies. “[One Iranian engineer] became caught up in the protest movements after the election of 2009 and he was arrested. He was beaten and put into prison and interrogated 14 times over 50 days,” Elgin says. “During these interrogations, not only was he presented with [his] text message transcripts; he was presented with a very sophisticated diagram of who he had called, and then who those people had called. And he was interrogated on every connection within his network of contacts.” The engineer had worked for Ericsson AB, where he had helped install the systems that would later be used in his interrogations. MORE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *