Nokia Siemens makes lots of mobile networking gear. Most of it provides the connectivity we use every day. But they also make and sell equipment to monitor that connectivity. Such devices are required in the U.S. and much of Europe for law enforcement purposes, and Nokia no doubt makes a pretty penny selling this monitoring equipment to various governments. New details have emerged recently that Nokia sold the same gear to Iran, where the government used it not for law enforcement purposes but to silence dissent. Big surprise!
Nokia’s not alone in this practice of playing both sides of this issue: Cisco sells gobs of equipment to China for their Great Firewall; and plenty of other companies sell stuff to dictatorial regimes in the pursuit of profits. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right? Ars Technica has a thorough story about the monitoring equipment, and Nokia’s claim that they did nothing wrong after the EU Parliament harshly reprimanded them.