This blog entry is in English, as it is in response to inquiries from Swedish journalists concerning the ASFADOR scandal, and the supply of mass surveillance and interception technology, involving the French company Qosmos, bought by the Swedish group ENEA in December 2016.
In a future blog entry, I will describe as clearly as possible my answers to journalists' enquiries.
But first I will provide information concerning the current scandal unfolding in Sweden.
The Swedish author Mattias Beijmo has published a book entitled "They Can’t Stop Us", about the repression operated by the regime of Bachar El-Assad against the people of Syria thanks to the use of mass surveillance and interception technology provided by western companies.
A brief introduction to the book can be found here : http://hedlundagency.se/2018/09/26/they-cant-stop-us/
The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (Today's News) published an article dated 18.10.2018 by the journalist Josef Svenberg, which you can read here :
The article is now behind a paywall, but it was available freely earlier this week : I will provide here, with the help of Google translate, an English version of it :
The surveillance systems of a Swedish company may have been used by the Syrian regime to suppress supporters of Syrian democracy, according to data from a new book.
In 2016, the Swedish software company Enea acquired the French company Qosmos. The company develops software equipped with advanced network monitoring capabilities, and has worked closely with the French State.
Enea has been doing well on the stock exchange, and among the shareholders there are, among others, the State Fourth Fund and Swedbank Robour. What is less known is that since 2015, Qosmos has been involved in a lawsuit in France, where the company is accused of having helped to torture in Syria.
In the book "They can not stop us," author Mattias Beijmo describes how the Qosmos software was sold to the Syrian regime and used in the persecution of democratic activists in Syria by dictator Bashar al-Assad. "Qosmos has helped the Assad regime with advanced skills and the most advanced technical capacity to intercept and track online communications," Mattias Beijmo told DN.
Mattias Bijmo describes Qosmos software as an important part of a new lucrative weapons industry. It allows you to track and intercept all traffic on a network in real time and at a detailed level. The method is called "legal interception" and can also follow some advanced encrypted communications.
The sale of technology is not illegal per se, as it can be an effective surveillance tool against terrorists or cyber attacks. However, with unrestricted legislation, it can be used as an effective weapon. - This technology is sold to countries and security services worldwide and used within authorized limits by the law. In Sweden, the police need a rigorous authorization to monitor so closely, but in the Syrian dictatorship, everything is allowed on behalf of the regime, said Mattias Beijmo.
The author has extensive experience in digital analysis with banks and the media. In the book, he provides sources of data providers in Syria and other parts of the world, technical documentation and legal evidence of the use of software.
The book is inspired by the youth of Bashar Al-Assad and the development of computer science in Syria, from the Arab Spring to the current war-hardened landscape, where the early peaceful protest movement has been demolished for a long time.
According to the book, Qosmo's products started being used in Syria in 2011. Then, in the cradle of the Arab Spring, Internet became an essential element of the coordination of events and the dissemination of information beyond the censorship of the regime.
Mattias Beijmo thinks that the democratic movement could communicate relatively freely before the establishment of the new technology. After that, everything changed.
"Based on my contacts, it is obvious that they had a completely different situation before this technology. The book describes, among other things, how protesters are seized, tortured and confronted with printed communications, impossible to obtain without advanced capability, such as that provided by the Qosmo technology.
Some of the activists described in the book are in jail today, others have died.
- I can not say that the peaceful opposition movement would have lived today without Qosmos. But it would have lived longer, there is nothing left, says Mattias Beijmo.
DN contacted Enea about this information, but they declined to comment. The shareholders of Swedbank Robur e-mailed to DN that they can not comment on the matter without considering the issue, but that they have a sustainable investment policy.
"If we realize that a company that we have invested is in violation of such standards or conventions or in activities that do not comply with our policy, we always act, "they write.
The fourth AP fund also says that that it is not aware of the data or the investigation against Qosmos. "We will study further and contact the company," they wrote in a response to DN
Josef Svenberg, for Dagens Nyheter