Monthly Archives: April 2012

Geocell criticized on Swedish TV for role in Georgia spy case

In Sweden, Geocell was criticized last Wednesday for letting the Saakashvili regime tap into its network to frame four journalists in 2011.
The truth is not yet known about the four Georgian photojournalists who were charged as Russian spies in 2011. But many regard the charges, which never came as far as to a trial, as punishment for having documented the police brutality on the night of May 26, which led to at least four deaths.
In the program called Uppdrag Granskning (Mission Investigation) on Swedish public broadcaster SVT1, Georgia is depicted as part of

TeliaSonera forced to explain cooperation with the KGB

Shareholders shocked of dealings with the dictatorial regime.

TeliaSonera, the successor to Sweden’s state telecom monopoly, has given state security services access to systems it operates in the former Soviet Union in order to secure lucrative contracts there, according to Swedish media reports.

The Swedish-Finnish telecom giant earns huge sums from deals with dictatorships in the former Soviet Union, but the contracts are often signed on the condition that the countries’ security services be granted access to their systems in order to facilitate spying on individuals.

In Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Uzbekistan, for example, there is a system called Sorm which is connected to TeliaSonera’s network and which allows authorities complete access to the countries’ telecom system, Svergies Television (SVT) investigative journalism programme “Uppdrag granskning” has shown.

The system allows security services direct access to subscribers’ telephone calls, data, and text messages, resulting in wiretaps which have led to the arrest of members of the political opposition.

In one instance, a man in Azerbaijan was called in to an interrogation by the country’s security service after having voted for Armenia in the finals of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest.

TeliaSonera spokesperson Cecilia Edstr

Telecom giant profits from wiretaps

A Swedish telecom company has given the former Soviet Union states’ security agencies access to its systems in exchange for lucrative contracts, officials say.

Security services in those countries have been using Stockholm-based telecommunications giant TeliaSonera’s systems to facilitate wiretaps, Swedish news agency TT reported Wednesday.

In Azerbaijan, Belarus and Uzbekistan, authorities use a system called SORM, or System for Operative Investigative Activities, that connects to TeliaSonera’s system, which then gives authorities complete access to the countries’ telecom system, including subscribers’ telephone calls, data and text messages. Several arrests have been made from the resulting wiretaps, TT said.

TeliaSonera spokesperson Cecilia Edstrom said, “police authorities have the right to access information from the [Internet] in order to fight crime.”

“The laws in the countries go to different lengths in terms of the powers they grant police authorities to fight crime,” she said.

Thomas Jonsson, a TeliaSonera spokesman, said different countries have different policies on wiretapping.

“In all countries, including Sweden, security services have the right, under certain circumstances related to fighting and preventing crime, to set up wiretaps and access traffic on the network. That’s controlled by national legislation and we need to follow the laws of the countries we’re in,” Jonsson told the TT news agency.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt supported the contracts, saying, “In general, I think that it’s good that we participate in developing telecommunications in different countries. Having a working mobile phone system in Belarus is better for the opposition than for the regime.”

Martin Uggla, chair of the human rights organization “The East group for democracy and human rights,” called the affair “remarkable and scandalous.”

“The information that has come out shows that TeliaSonera’s claims that they act in an ethically acceptable manner aren’t true,” he said.

www.upi.com

TeliaSonera ‘profits by helping dictators spy’

TeliaSonera, the successor to Sweden’s state telecom monopoly, has given state security services access to systems it operates in the former Soviet Union in order to secure lucrative contracts there, according to Swedish media reports.

The Swedish-Finnish telecom giant earns huge sums from deals with dictatorships in the former Soviet Union, but the contracts are often signed on the condition that the countries’ security services be granted access to their systems in order to facilitate spying on individuals.

In Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Uzbekistan, for example, there is a system called Sorm which is connected to TeliaSonera’s network and which allows authorities complete access to the countries’ telecom system, Svergies Television (SVT) investigative journalism programme “Uppdrag granskning” has shown.

The system allows security services direct access to subscribers’ telephone calls, data, and text messages, resulting in wiretaps which have led to the arrest of members of the political opposition.

In one instance, a man in Azerbaijan was called in to an interrogation by the country’s security service after having voted for Armenia in the finals of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest.

TeliaSonera spokesperson Cecilia Edstr

TeliaSonera in collusion with dictators

Swedish telecom giant TeliaSonera collaborating secretly with security in some of the harshest dictatorships. Via mobile operators control regimes its own citizens – and silencing critical voices that can be traced.

A quarter of TeliaSonera fresh record profit of 36 billion comes from subsidiaries of Central Asia and from hardline dictatorships in the former Soviet Union as Azerbaijan, Belarus and Uzbekistan.
Outwardly, the company wants to give the impression that they “favor the development of democracy” by its presence.

In fact, mobile operators are used as an important tool for regimes – when their own citizens are oppressed.

In Belarus, which is controlled by the man known as “Europe’s last dictator” – Alexandr Lukasjanko TeliaSonera such as indirect major shareholder in the mobile operator Life.

The tracks and listens own people
there use regime mobile operator to track, identify and intercept people who are critical of how the country is governed.

– In principle, this is done all the time more or less every person who at the slightest way indicated that he supports the political opposition, says Pavel Privalov, who himself was arrested last summer when he tried to organize a demonstration through social media.

Several people arrested and harassed by the police and security services have also been told that they traced through the company Life where they were customers.

“No one will escape punishment”

And the Belarusian authorities have been clear in their message to the population. After the demonstrations turned down after last night of the election in Belarus began calling phones of thousands of people. Interior Minister Anatoly Kuleshov ruled that all that escaped from the square where the protests against the election results were held would be identified, arrested and charged.

– No one will escape punishment. I have all the resources to implement it, he said.

Assignment review-mapping shows that all of TeliaSonera companies in östdiktaturer cooperates with the security services in the regimes hunt critics and dissidents.

Security has been given free reign

Mobile operators allows the security services to be plugged directly into the telephone system backbone, where they can easily pick out all the information they are interested in and choose which they will listen.

– There is no limit to how much one listens, no one at all, a highly placed source who work with TeliaSonera’s expansion in the East.

Cecilia Edstrom, Communications Director, TeliaSonera, sees it as “problematic” that the technology used to offend people. But just because the technology can be used in bad purposes, she does not think that there is enough reason not to provide the opportunity for mobile communication also in the designated countries.

– There is broad powers for police in many countries to get information from the net. We never take a decision on what is criminal or not, but we have to provide information under certain conditions. And we must do. There is obviously a problem when the technology used to violate human rights, she says.

www.svt.se

Teliasonera cooperates with oppressive regimes

Nordic Telecom giant Teliasonera is intimately connected to human rights abuses in the former CIS countries where the company is a dominant player in the mobile telephony market, Swedish Television´s “Uppdrag granskning” can disclose in an in depth investigation airing Wednesday 18:th of April.

Teliasoneras record profits this year of more than 36 Bn SEK (€ 3,84 Bn) are built to a large extent on business in the former east-bloc dictatorships like Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. But the success story has a downside for the citizens of the ruthless regimes.

Officially the Swedish- Finnish corporation want to communicate a picture of supporting democratic developments through their technology. But “Uppdrag gransknings” team of reporters, Sven Bergman, Joachim Dyfvermark and Fredrik Laurin can now unveil how Teliasoneras companies have been important tools for the regimes in the former CIS-countries in controlling and oppressing their own citizens.

The team has met with and interviewed numerous opposition politicians, journalists, union members and ordinary citizens that have two things in common: They are all Teliasonera customers, and all had their human rights abused by the security services or police in their home countries after Teliasonera has made information from their mobile phone traffic available to the authorities.

– After the Arab spring the regimes in these countries are even more interested in controlling their people. There is no limit to how much they listen to calls. They have free reign in Tealisonera´s systems, a centrally placed source in Teliasonera says to “Uppdrag granskning”.

Teliasonera is listed on the Stockholm stock exchange (TLSN) and its main owners are the Swedish (37 %) and Finnish states. (Finnish state currently owns 11 %, had 14 % until 20120320 and is going down to 9 % by 2015).

Teliasonera has adopted the UN CSR-initiative “Global compact”.

“Uppdrag granskning” SVT – Swedish Public Service Television 20.00 CET on SVT 1 or live on the web.

The program will also be available with English subtitles on the same webpage from Wednesday 25:th of April.

www.svt.se