– Blue Coat confirms Syria used its Web filtering devices (CNET News, Oct. 28, 2011):
Blue Coat Systems has confirmed that its devices were being used by Syria to censor the Web and said it is investigating how they got into that country despite a strict U.S. trade embargo, The Wall Street Journal reported today.
The appliances were “transmitting automatic status messages back to the company” Blue Coat executives told the newspaper.
“Blue Coat says it doesn’t monitor where such ‘heartbeat’ messages originate from,” according to the report. “Computer code reviewed by the Journal indicates that Syrians were also using other Blue Coat products, raising questions about how the tools came to be used this way and whether Blue Coat has violated the trade embargo.”
Reports began trickling out this summer that the devices were being used by Syria to monitor its citizens’ Internet activity in a crackdown on opposition that has left thousands of protesters dead and injured.
Last month, Blue Coat told ZDNet UK that company policy forbade the sale of equipment to the Syrian government.