NetApp Under Investigation For Spying Equipment Used in Syria

Posted by at 5:44 pm on May 29, 2012
Category: BISSyria

NetApp HeadquartersA recent story from Bloomberg indicates that California-based NetApp, which manufactures and sells network storage solutions, is under investigation by the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) in connection with one of NetApp’s storage devices winding up in Syria. The NetApp equipment was made part of a massive system built by Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to intercept and review all email sent in Syria.

According to the story, the Italian company Area SpA, which built the surveillance system, bought the NetApp equipment from one of NetApp’s distributors in Italy. Area then exported the equipment to Syria and incorporated it into the surveillance system.

That in and of itself would not have posed problems for NetApp or led to an investigation. However, the Bloomberg story reports, “workers for Area and NetApp communicated directly, e-mailing each other after the sale about configuring the equipment.” That could indicate that NetApp knew of the sale before it occurred. More likely, if true, these emails might be construed as provision of services to the Syrian government which would have been problematic if they occurred after the Executive Order issued on August 17, 2011, banning export of services to Syria.

A NetApp spokesperson indicated that the company was finishing its internal review of the matter and declined to provide a comment to Bloomberg on the investigation.


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Copyright © 2012 Clif Burns. All Rights Reserved.
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One Comment:

Its a bit ironic that Area’s English language web-site boasts that its curtomers are “Lawful Enforcement Enforcement Agencies” as well as Governments and Military Intelligence. Its pretty clear that Area would know or have reason to know what the Syrian government would be doing with this technology. I hope that Syrian refugees and asylees who make it to the US make good use of the Alien Torts Act to go after Area and its money. The ICC decision against Charles Taylor for his role in aiding and abetting the crimes committed in the Sierra Leone civil war makes it clear that aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity is a tort under the law of nations within the meaning of the ATA.

Comment by Hillbilly on May 30th, 2012 @ 2:51 pm