While it has become common knowledge that surveillance and censorship technologies are frequently exported across the world, the extent to which this is taking place has only become apparent in recent years. Public reports on censorship and surveillance technologies created by Nokia Siemens Networks being used in Iran, by Ericsson in Belarus, by SmartFilter in Tunisia and by Narus in Egypt are all suggesting substantial human rights implications. In response to these concerns the Global Network Initiative in the U.S. has initiated a self-regulatory framework for Internet companies to respond to these concerns. In Europe the European Parliament, the United States Congress and several European governments have expressed a desire to regulate these technologies more extensively.
This paper will discuss what we know about the export of Internet technology, before looking at the specific cases of exports of censorship and surveillance technology to Tunisia, Syria, Egypt and Libya. After briefly mentioning additional cases, which have received widespread public attention in 2011, it will then focus on at the specific human rights impact that censorship and surveillance technologies had in Tunisia. Subsequently, the global corporate governance responses will be listed before additional public policy measures are discussed. In conclusion, the paper will look at potential future directions in the trade in censorship and surveillance technologies, before providing key recommendations to the different stakeholders involved.