The Swedish state owns almost 40 percent of the shares in Telia Sonera. The company is now accused of working closely with authoritarian regimes in several central Asian countries. Photo: Misha Japaridze/Scanpix.

Telia Sonera helps dictatorships monitor citizens

Swedish telecom company Telia Sonera, partly owned by the Swedish state, has provided technology to dictatorships and authoritarian regimes such as Belarus to monitor political opponents, according to a Swedish Television (SVT) investigation.

The Uppdrag Granskning programme reports that a subsidiary of the company has installed a system allowing national security services in Belarus and several Central Asian countries to locate individuals through their cell phones.

The system also provides easy access to text messages and phone calls.

“The conclusion is obvious. If I call my friend and I directly hear a reaction over the police radio, it means they are very efficient,” says Dimitri, a union representative in Belarus.

“That was the first time I noticed that they were tapping my phone.”

The programme reports that the technology was also provided to security services in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tadzhikistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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