Swiss block spy technology exports to Syria

Swiss customs stopped two deliveries of spy technology materials from European firms destined for Syria and Iran in 2010 and 2011, Swiss television has reported.

This content was published on February 19, 2012 - 15:25 and agencies

Both countries were attempting to procure equipment to monitor mobile phones, a Swiss official confirmed on Friday.

Mobile phones have become an important source of footage documenting the brutality of the government crackdown in Syria, where an estimated 7,000 people have been killed in 11 months of violence.

The opposition movement in Iran also uses mobile phones to inform the outside world about the violent response of police to demonstrations.  

In the mobile telephony sector, the Middle East has long been a growth market for surveillance technology.

According to research by Swiss public television, numerous companies, including some from Switzerland, were offering such equipment at the ISS World trade show in Dubai earlier this month.

The event programme also included workshops on the surveillance of services such as Twitter and Facebook.

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