A few speculations on the #ericssoneffect

Carl Bildt argues that Sweden opposed the stronger forms of export restrictions to Syria in the EU, because he believes that mobile phones are essential democratizing weapons in the hands of the ”Twitter revolutions” of the ‘arab spring’. As the only country, Sweden seems to have weakened the sanctions.

Ericsson sells mobile systems in Syria, with interception functions built into them. In the recent decade, as the picture above shows, it has become very profitable to build data retention- and ”lawful interception” functions into the systems (hence the term ”Ericsson effect”). The European Data Retention directive made surveillance big business.

Next to the Ericsson logo is Gamma International, a UK company that sold the spy-kit Finfisher to Egypt.

The ”freedom technologies” that Bildt want to keep selling, often have the worst form om European surveillance built into them. Hard coded, and well used, to violate human rights.

So, I am wondering, what did Ericsson sell to Syria? In detail. We will probably never know, because revealing this may cause ”competitive disadvantages”. I’m guessing moving over to Chinese Huawei is easier than arguing with Europe.

These systems should be treated as surveillance technologies. And this is our fault, our control society colonialism.

Carl Bildt calls this type of strategy ”flow control”. When I criticized it earlier this year, he responded with calling me and a few others cyber anarchists. That is fine. The fact still remains is that there is no such things as a flow of ”democratic” technologies. The flow of Ericsson gear to Syria, was not just an injection of some ”Twitter revolution”. We need to acknowledge that this was just another export of Western technology, built under the circumstances where ”legal interception” nowadays is the standard. The Bluecoat devices, revealed to be at work in Syria, are doing the same basic thing as European Data Retention.

What wonderful ”technologies of democracy” we created.

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