The latest report from the Toronto group indicates that Blue Coat’s technology was more widely used in Syria than previously thought. Deibert says that while the company acknowledges 13 of its servers ended up in Syria, forensic analysis of networks shows that at least 15 of its devices are in use there. And after Citizen Lab conducted a forensic examination of Internet traffic in Myanmar, “we found very strong evidence that Blue Coat devices are presently employed in Burma at the highest level to censor the Internet and facilitate surveillance,” he said. The report offers no insight into how the devices, if they are indeed in use in Myanmar, might have ended up there.
Deibert said prior Citizen Lab reports showed that products from the Canadian company Netsweeper are being used in a variety of countries to block access to Web content related to human rights, political opposition, and gay and lesbian issues. Technology from McAfee, now owned by Intel, and Websense has also been used in repressive regimes. In a recent blog post, Websense called on the industry to regulate itself more tightly.
Deibert called on Blue Coat to take action to prevent further use of its technology by repressive regimes. But it’s not clear that the transfer broke any U.S. embargo. “We are unclear whether it constitutes a violation of the sanctions according to the strict reading of the sanctions themselves,” Deibert says. “But certainly they constitute a violation of the spirit of the laws, and raise some serious questions about lack of due diligence on the part of Blue Coat.”
Calls to the State Department press office about Blue Coat were not immediately returned.
Changes to this story were made on 11/11/2011.