Sunday, February 6, 2011

Egypt Crisis - Egypt is burning and the Internet is burning with Surveillance, Spying and Tracking citizens and Internet users.

ControlImage by sciondriver via Flickr
Earlier last year, the Network World website revealed an important piece of news here about a US based company called NARUS that develops traffic intelligence technology developing a scary sleuth for social media. The technology code named "Hone" technology worked with an application NarusInsight to connect different profiles to one person.

The company and its sneaky technologies came into world knowledge again as Al-Jazeera's recent report about the recent Internet shutdown in Egypt gives facts about this US based Boeing's sister company called NARUS located in Sunnyvale California played an important role in burning and shutting down the Internet Egypt by providing the DPI Deep Packet Inspection technology to the Egyptian government.

Network World has already shared this information here last year. The technology by Narus involving DPI allows governments to monitor Twitter, Facebook and Cell Phone account users. The tools provide governments the opportunity to surveillance their citizens as well as control the Internet and shutting down the Internet when and where required.

So what is DPI? According to a wikipedia entry here, Deep packet inspection (DPI) is the act of any packet network equipment which is not an endpoint of a communication using non-header content (typically the actual payload) for some purpose. This is performed as the packet passes an inspection point, searching for protocol non-compliance, viruses, spam, intrusions or predefined criteria to decide what actions to take on the packet, including collecting statistical information.

The technology is a bit different from the traditional DPI applications where it also allows governments to monitor criticisms by their citizens against them. This makes it a very dangerous technology and originally Internet Spying is illegal according to the US laws. According to the Huffington Post's article here, the technology is being used in Pakistan, by the Kuwaiti Wataniya Telecom, an Indian Telco, Saudi Arabian authorities etc.....

Timothy Karr of Free Media wrote through Huffington Post that Narus provided Egypt Telecom with the Deep Packet Inspection equipment (DPI) used to shut down the Internet. Naras content-filtering technology allows network managers to inspect, track and target content from users of the Internet and mobile phones, as it passes through routers on the information superhighway. Other Narus global customers include the national telecommunications authorities in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, two countries that regularly register alongside Egypt near the bottom of Human Rights Watch's world report. Huffington Post also shares that Steve Bannerman, Narus' marketing VP shared in an interview with Wired that, "Anything that comes through [an Internet protocol network], we can record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [voice-over Internet protocol] calls."

Well, the Egyptian Internet and communications shutdown also sent a message across the world when OECD reported here that blocking Internet cost Egypt at least $90M. I guess its not only that, it also cost Egypt its reputation in the global communications and Internet arena especially after hosting the Internet Governance Forum in Sharam-El-Sheikh in 2009 and the ICANN Public Meetings!

So the citizens on the Internet across the world have become aware of how they are being spied upon and what is the technology being used to spy on them. This becomes a major issue for discussions during upcoming Internet Governance Forum 2011 in Kenya.

1 comment:

  1. 'Wale Oni "COMMUNICATION gone BIZ-a-rre!"

    It's interesting to examine the key role played by the US Corporations in the present uprising in the North Africa, especially Egypt. It's important that the two prominent social networking sites that citizens (in Egypt and the world over) leverage upon for private and public communications; Facebook and Twitter are US based corporations. While we all give credit to the dissidence in Egypt as being home-bound and engineered from within by the facebooking and twittering youths, no one seems to be paying attention to the fact that computer agent algorithms can also generate programmed messages and speed them up to simulate consensus in public opinion thus heat up already saturated polity anywhere in the world. And the fact a "US based Boeing's sister company called NARUS located in Sunnyvale California played an important role in burning and shutting down the Internet Egypt by providing the DPI [Deep Packet Inspection] technology to the Egyptian government, and also, a group of engineers from Google, Twitter and SayNow (which Google acquired last week) provided a speak-to-tweet service for
    protesters in Egypt. The service, which is already live, enables users to send tweets using a voice connection. Anyone can tweet by leaving a voicemail on one of three international phone numbers: +16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855. I think the interesting part is, that tech companies have now actively decided to build a workaround for a government issued ban on parts of
    communication, which actually is a corporate action FOR and AGAINST a state. Do you smell MARKETING? Well, this opens another chapter in CYBER CRIME, CYBER WAR, CYBER TERRORISM, and ESPIONAGE. It is not unlikely for corporations to HEAT UP a polity and quickly provide SOLUTIONS for quick economic advantages. CYBER WAR is NOW a global issue more like the NUCLEAR enrichment programme. In fact COMMUNICATION has now gone BIZ-a-rre!


Kindly leave your comments here but the author reserves the right to include or exclude comments where deemed necessary.