British company accused of selling phone tracking software to Iran

British company has been accused of selling mobile phone tracking software to the Iranian Government.

The Telegraph writes that Creativity Software signed a contract two years ago to “provide lawful intercept solutions” to Iran, and alleges that this software could have been used to track protesters.

The deal was signed with one of the biggest mobile phone networks in Iran, Irancell, on 1 August 2009. An Iranian journalist, Saeid Pourheydar, says that the technology was used to track down protesters, even when they were not using their phones. He adds that he was “presented with his ‘entire phone history’ when he was arrested”.

The newspaper report adds that a major shareholder in Creativity Software is a company called MMC Ventures; and both the CEO and chairman of this outfit contributed towards William Hague’s private office.

However, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills told the newspaper that the software was not covered by export controls and therefore Creativity Software has done nothing wrong. A spokesman said: “The Government actively discourages all trade with Iran. We take any reports of exports being misused overseas seriously. It does not appear that the exporter has broken the law.”


The news comes just a week after allegations that the Metropolitan Police had deployed software to track, and remotely jam the mobile phones of protesters in London. The Guardian reported that the software developer, Datong, sells its products to nearly 40 countries worldwide, including some in the Middle East, but does not give details of which. It does, however, add that “in 2009 it [Datong] was refused an export licence to ship technology worth £0.8m to an unnamed Asia Pacific country, after the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills judged it could be used to commit human rights abuses.”

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Author Retired

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