Selling Software That Kills

Syrian Uprising MapWrites Jon Evans on TechCrunch:

The government of Syria uses made-in-California technology from BlueCoat Systems to censor the Internet and spy on its pro-democracy activists (who are regularly arrested and tortured, not to mention slaughtered wholesale.) Amesys of France and FinFisher of the UK aided brutal dictators in Egypt and Libya. Sweden’s Teliasonera allegedly took up the same cudgel in Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Georgia and Kazakhstan. McAfee and Nokia Siemens have done the same in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Meanwhile, back in the USA, Bain Capital recently bought a Chinese video-surveillance company reportedly “used to intimidate and monitor political and religious dissidents,” and Cisco “has marketed its routers to China specifically as a tool of repression.” You can’t help but be impressed by how globalized the oppression-technology industry has become.

So what privacy/surveillance story caused an eruption of outrage this week? Yes, you guessed it: SceneTap, a startup that uses facial-recognition software to (anonymously) track demographics at bars and clubs in major American cities in real time. Forget the dissidents risking their lives for democracy: what matters is that the hipsters are creeped out! …

Read More: TechCrunch

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  • Nunzio X

    ‘Twas ever thus.

    The Nazis did lots of deals with companies who didn’t give a shit about Hitler’s atrocities, as long as they could make some $$$.

    “When blood is flowing in the street, there’s you’re opportunity for big profits!” goes the saying.

    Evidently, there are big opportunities for profit that then CAUSE the blood to flow.

  • Magpie Allbeing

    Public companies are obligated to pursue profit. It’s the Law. Also, some government has to beta-test this software before western governments can use it on us.

  • charlieprimero

    Microsoft is a top military contractor.  I wager their body count is orders of magnitude higher than some start-up.  Perhaps at little criticism of the slaughter they assist would be useful.