A US company apparently sold Egypt technology to monitor Internet and mobile phone traffic—now being used by the regime to crack down on communications as protests erupt across the country. Boeing-owned, California-based Narus sold Telecom Egypt, the state-run Internet service provider, “real-time traffic intelligence” equipment, more commonly known as Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology. DPI is content-filtering technology that allows network managers to inspect, track and target content from Internet users and mobile phones as it passes through Web routers.
The company is also known for creating “NarusInsight,” a supercomputer system allegedly used by the US National Security Agency and other entities to perform mass surveillance and monitoring of public and corporate Internet communications in real time.
Narus vice president of Marketing Steve Bannerman told Wired magazine in May 2006: “Anything that comes through (an Internet protocol network), we can record. We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their [Voice Over Internet Protocol] calls.”
Timothy Karr, director of the media reform group Free Press, said: “What we are seeing in Egypt is a frightening example of how the power of technology can be abused. Commercial operators trafficking in Deep Packet Inspection technology to violate Internet users’ privacy is bad enough; in government hands, that same invasion of privacy can quickly lead to stark human rights violations.” (Free Press, Jan. 28)