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Saudi Arabian Telecom Pitches to Moxie Marlinspike 128

An anonymous reader sent in this excerpt from Moxie Marlinspike's weblog: "Last week I was contacted by an agent of Mobily, one of two telecoms operating in Saudi Arabia, about a surveillance project that they're working on in that country. Having published two reasonably popular MITM tools, it's not uncommon for me to get emails requesting that I help people with their interception projects. I typically don't respond, but this one (an email titled 'Solution for monitoring encrypted data on telecom') caught my eye. ... The requirements are the ability to both monitor and block mobile data communication, and apparently they already have blocking setup. ... When they eventually asked me for a price quote, and I indicated that I wasn't interested in the job for privacy reasons, they responded with this: ' I know that already and I have same thoughts like you freedom and respecting privacy, actually Saudi has a big terrorist problem and they are misusing these services for spreading terrorism and contacting and spreading their cause that's why I took this and I seek your help. If you are not interested than maybe you are on indirectly helping those who curb the freedom with their brutal activities.'"
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Saudi Arabian Telecom Pitches to Moxie Marlinspike

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  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @05:07AM (#43717935)

    the participants in the "arab spring" used a variety of tools to facilitate and coordinate their activities

    I'm glad you used quotes around "arab spring", in reality it has turned out to be an islamist winter [].

  • Re:Point of view (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @05:36AM (#43718031)

    Terrorism is a tactic.

    You can fight for freedom without resorting to terrorism, you can be a terrorist without having any interest in freedom.

    Sure you get a media bias and "friendly" governments tend get a pass, but really it has nothing to do with which side you are on and everything to do with what you actually do.

  • by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @06:57AM (#43718307) Homepage
    That's nice, except that the issue with the Saudi regime *itself* is that it's as much a part of the problem of terrorism as it is of the solution. That is, it presents two different faces to the world- the one it likes to present to the West, and the one it likes to present to the Wahhabist elements [] within the country. They need to not merely tolerate, but pander to the latter in order to remain power.

    (For those who didn't want to read the linked article, the tl;dr version is that Wahhabism is the Saudi-founded brand of Islam that Al-Qaeda et al espouse; if you've ever heard the term "Islamo-fascism", Wahhabism is the interpretation of Islam it's most likely referring to).

    In other words, the Saudi regime is in the position of having to be blatantly two-faced about this; claiming to be cracking down on terrorism to their Western allies, while at the same time being one of the largest supporters of it.

    Of course, the West knows this, but likes to pretend otherwise, because there's the inconvenient fact that they have lots of oil which we want. Regarding Western attitudes towards extremist Islamic terrorism, Saudi Arabia isn't merely the elephant in the room in the sense that it's a major factor- as the home and the heart of Wahhabism, it's arguably *the* central factor. Modern Saudi Arabia was *founded* on an agreement between Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab (the founder of Wahhabism) and the house of Saud to spread his teachings while the latter retained power. From Wikipedia:-

    Upon arriving in Diriyya, a pact was made between Ibn Saud and Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, by which Ibn Saud pledged to implement and enforce Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab's teachings, while Ibn Saud and his family would remain the temporal "leaders" of the movement.

    Many of the alleged grievances of terrorists supporting Wahhabist organisations such as Al-Qaeda revolve around the supposed US "occupation" of Saudi Arabia. Yet, despite all this, you'll rarely hear Western politicians attack the Saudi regime for their covert tolerance of extremist elements. Why? See the start of this paragraph.

  • by TWiTfan ( 2887093 ) on Tuesday May 14, 2013 @08:45AM (#43718795)

    The Saudi's could learn a lot from us.

    You can bet they already have. The CIA has been actively propping up the ruling regime there for decades.

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