Packet inspection/traffic management

NSN Has a Bad Day

8:55 AM -- Of course, Nokia Networks made headlines for the $650 million deal, announced late Friday, to acquire most of the Nortel Networks Ltd. wireless business. (See Nortel: It's All Up for Sale, Nortel's LTE Brain Drain, NSN Misses Nortel's Key APAC Assets, and NSN Picks at Nortel's Mobile Bones .)

But what's suddenly made the company famous is censorship in Iran.

A recent Wall Street Journal article quoted NSN spokesman Ben Roome saying his company's gear was part of a monitoring center "installed within the government's telecom monopoly" as part of a larger mobile-networking contract. The story connected that statement with the use of Deep Packet Inspection for "controlling and censoring the Internet."

Now, Nokia put out a release yesterday saying it has not provided DPI gear for networks in Iran: "Nokia Siemens Networks has not provided any deep packet inspection, web censorship or Internet filtering capability to Iran," the statement reads. (See NSN Denies Selling DPI to Iran.)

That's not going to stop the outcry, though. Roome's reposting of the press release on a corporate blog prompted lots of angry comments -- the kind with lots of exclamation points -- that talk about boycotting Nokia and Siemens products.

And, not that Twitter is the lone gauge of public opinion, but for most of the day, the stream of postings linking to the Journal story (or other blogs and articles that quote it) well outnumbered the postings about the Nortel deal.

What Nokia Siemens says it did sell into Iran was lawful intercept capability for voice calls on fixed and mobile networks, the press release states. Such a capability is legally required in many countries, including the United States.

The BBC released a more complete report that includes that explanation. But that's getting some virtual stones thrown at Nokia Siemens as well; at this writing, some people are linking to the BBC on Twitter and, again, are calling for Nokia and/or Siemens boycotts.

NSN, by the way, no longer sells the monitoring gear being used in Iran; that division got sold to a German investment firm in March.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

digits 12/5/2012 | 4:02:12 PM
re: NSN Has a Bad Day Too many people with too much time on their hands. Notwithstanding that these virtual critics are targeting a company that has *not* been instrumental in any sort of suppression in Iran, if these critics thought they might be helping the Iranians by suggesting such boycott actions then they're missing the point.
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