Open letter to Nokia Corp.

Disconnecting people

click for larger version

Dear Madams and Sirs,

I am compelled to express my concerns about what I perceive to be an unethical sale of citizen monitoring technology to a regime devoted to oppression, thus aiding in its blatant violations of human rights.

You know. That Nokia Siemens Network Monitoring Systems deal from last year.

The Irantelecom contract.

I have been exceedingly disappointed with what I have seen of statements coming from Nokia officials and spokespersons on this matter up until now. Especially considering Nokia is claiming its key issue of corporate responsibility to be as follows: «Above all, we aim to make a positive contribution to society at the local and global level».

Providing connectivity – wiring the populace – has become mandatory in prosperous societies. And so the defense proffered reveals the Nokia creed as one of moral relativism – paraphrased, «better we compromise and sacrifice human rights, so that the people of Iran may enjoy the greater good of connectivity».

I cannot accept that excuse.

In my opinion, your representatives have managed to reduce your otherwise commendable Code of Conduct to a lie, and your Ethics Office to little more than stage dressing. I find this state of affairs utterly deplorable.

Until you restore my faith in your alleged «ethically sound policies and principles», I shall be forced to withhold all further support of Nokia products, and actively oppose Nokia’s business with all means available to me.

The trade was doubtlessly legal and lawful. It’s still filthy.

Erik Holten

Write and send your own feedback to Nokia.

Further reading:

The Washington Times 2009-04-13 «Europe’s Telecoms Aid With Spy Tech»

BBC NEWS 2009-06-22 | Hi-tech helps Iranian monitoring

BBC NEWS VIDEO 2009-06-22 | Iran intercepting mobile calls

Wall Street Journal 2009-06-23 «Iran’s Web Spying Aided By Western Technology»

Nokia’s presentation of their corporate responsibility

direct links to the Nokia Code of Conduct:

text-only PDF: English(70 KB) Farsi (104 KB) Norsk (67 KB)

brochure PDF: English (1.0 MB) Farsi (1.1 MB) Norsk (1.0 MB)

UPDATE: I am aware that Nokia Corp. and Nokia Siemens Networks were and are different entities. I could easily have written the exact same thing to NSN. As mentioned by John in the comments, some already have. Please visit them. I’m personally still focusing on Nokia simply because they are (one of) the responsible, high-profiled owners of NSN.

Also, in the name of accountability, I’m obliged to provide the link to the official response from Nokia Siemens Networks, which I wasn’t aware of at the time of writing. After reading it, I have no choice but to uphold my demand. An admission to the providing of «Lawful Intercept» capabilities of PSTN and GSM traffic to a known oppressive and human rights violating government is exactly what I hold the corporation responsible for.

2 Responses to “Open letter to Nokia Corp.”

  1. John - 23. juni, 2009

    There is a similar blog and petition at We must ensure that we are heard!

  2. Holten - 23. juni, 2009

    Thanks for the tip! I wasn’t aware of it. Recommended reading. I think I’ll stick with tne Nokia focus here, even though the addressee should be Nokia Siemens Networks. It’s all about publicity at this point, I believe, and Nokia is the stronger brand name.

    Besides, that illustration is so descriptive.

Leave a Reply