back to article Blue Coat, Skype and QQ named despots' best friends

Blue Coat Systems, Microsoft’s Skype and Chinese IM service QQ have all helped repressive states labelled "enemies of the internet" to snoop on their citizens, according to a new cyber censorship report from press freedom group Reporters Without Borders. Given China’s increasingly rigorous censorship of web-borne content and …


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  1. LarsG

    They are all at it, there is no surprise here. The real surprise is that it has taken so long to find out what they are up to.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Information security vendor Blue Coat Systems is slammed for “providing filtering and censorship devices for countries such as Syria and Burma”

    ...rather than just to upstanding, democratic and free, western nations.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They say "enemies of the internet"

    Western Governments say

    "Testing ground for the latest monitoring techniques" (well behind closed doors, before re-branding it IMP )

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but these despots are just using 'standard API's'

    the interception points were mandated in international law, by inter government agreements, with state required backdoors in each and every telecommunications system since the 1990's launch of CALEA and the ETSI equivalents. There are heavy fines for a system NOT having a backdoor, and that's just in the USA.

    The repressive states that currently spy & worse on their citizens have in some cases been and continue to be members of the international committees that set these snooping standards!

    I know it's all secret(*) so that the public shouldn't know that they're being monitored/analysed - it just emphasises that sometimes "The State" is a threat to its citizens, irrespective of which of the world's States we're talking about.

    In some States the risk/threat is very clear and urgent and deadly, if you're saying/thinking/'liking' the wrong thing at the wrong time; in other States - such as the UK - the existing communications analytical & monitoring systems are pervasive enough to make straight journalists very very worried about their ability to do their job, and already self-censor.

    This was pointed out at the time of the debut of the EU data retention & interception initiatives when the UK managed to get the Agricultural & Fishing Committee of the Conseil to start the process. Surely in the rush to grab the data of all citizens it was completely weighed-up & found proportionate that the same systems would inevitably be abused by failed states - who simply buy Off The Shelf 'repression devices'?

    (*) 'secret' sources include ETSI public portal, early 3GPP documents, SORM discussions in NYT, Guardian, Daily Mail, StateWatch etc etc..

  5. cortland
    IT Angle

    A thing known to be possible

    ... is inevitable; In the not too distant future it's *possible* predictive algorithms programmed in mass-market devices may make it impossible to SEND offensive/verboten content.

    Thank god for Morse Code!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: A thing known to be possible

      Send me a video by Morse code. I'll be listening on 3860.5.

  6. Richard 120


    Skype is clearly an enemy to the internet, the company I work for has actually blocked this article with their proxy filter because of the keyword "skype"

    There's some irony about somewhere...

  7. HereWeGoAgain

    One person's despot

    is another person's Western government.

  8. hrohrohro

    Very biased reporting

    Instead of pointing fingers at companies, why don't institutions and pressure groups point fingers at countries and their regulations? Software companies cannot but follow the rules... BTW, I'm a happy QQ International user and it's not a trojan at all: so much that I downloaded it from Softonic, which certifies all its software as clean. This is utter BS, El Reg.

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