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20 Jan 2023

Iran: Citizen Lab finds firms based in Russia, UK & Canada in "advanced" negotiations over service provision to authorities' legal intercept system; incl. co. comments

An investigation by Citizen Lab into documents received by news outlet The Intercept has found evidence that firms based in Russia, the UK and Canada have been approached and are allegedly at "advanced" stages of negotiations with Iran's Legal Intercept system to provides services that would allow invasive monitoring and communications interception of citizens. Citizen Lab found that the envisioned system “would enable state authorities to directly monitor, intercept, redirect, degrade or deny all Iranians’ mobile communications, including those who are presently challenging the regime”.

The investigation comes at a time of heightened protest and civil society organising in Iran, in the wake of the killing of Mahsa Amini in police custody over accusations she was not wearing her hijab correctly, and mass protests and uprising against the regime.

The companies named are Telinsol, PROTEI and PortaOne; Citizen Lab approached all three companies for a response. They received a response from PortaOne, followed by an official statement from the company. They also received responses from Telinsol. These are available below. At the time the investigation was published, PROTEI had not responded to CitizenLab. Business & Human Rights Resrouce Centre additionally contacted Ariantel, the state-telecommunications provider in Iran which solicited the services from within the country; it did not respond.

Company Responses


No Response