Hamed Aleaziz at Mother Jones has an interesting article on how a US technology company named Blue Coat may have sold technology to the Syrian government “to suppress dissent and block access to the internet.” According to the article, a tech activist group named Telecomix obtained publicly-accessible log files from inside Syria. Analysis of these log files shows that:
Syria’s government is using Blue Coat’s devices to prevent its citizens from accessing social media, video-sharing, and other websites. By using the devices, the Syrian regime can block information about its abuses from getting out of the country and monitor web activity.
If Blue Coat sold the technology to Syria, it would be in violation of US trade sanctions. Blue Coat denies that it exported the technology to Syria, although a Wall Street Journal article has reported that Blue Coat has long sold its technology to other countries in the region, including “Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar” where it is used to filter anti-government messages. These sales place companies like Blue Coat at odds with the US State Department, which is officially committed to promoting greater Internet freedom as a way of advancing democracy.