US Sanctions Canada-Based Sandvine For Enabling ‘Mass Web-Monitoring And Censorship’ In Egypt

The US Department of Commerce has added Canada-based Sandvine Inc., a computer networking company, to its Entity List, prohibiting the company from accessing US technology. 

The department is accusing the company of aiding the Egyptian government in targeting human rights activists and politicians. Sandvine, known for its networking equipment, allegedly supplied technology used for “mass web-monitoring and censorship” in Egypt, according to a filing on the Federal Register.

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Sandvine specializes in deep-packet inspection technology, capable of monitoring large volumes of internet traffic and customizable for various purposes including blocking spam and viruses. However, it has been reported that this technology has also been used for extensive website and app blocking, as well as covert surveillance.

As of this writing, Sandvine hasn’t officially addressed the matter. Former employees anticipate severe consequences for the company, as it heavily relies on components from US companies such as Dell Inc. (NYSE: DELL).

This decision follows a Bloomberg report revealing Sandvine’s substantial sales in Egypt, including to state-owned entities and government agencies. Similar usage of Sandvine’s equipment for internet censorship has been reported in several other countries, including Belarus, where it was used to block social media platforms and messaging apps during nationwide protests.

Sandvine was founded in Waterloo, Canada, in 2001. In 2017, the company’s shareholders accepted a $444 million takeover bid from by PNI Acquireco Corp., an affiliate of San Francisco-based Francisco Partners and Procera Networks. Sandvine had previously faced criticism and ceased operations in Belarus in 2020 following condemnation from human rights groups and US Senators.

China’s Chengdu Beizhan Electronics was also added to the list for unlawfully acquiring US-origin items on behalf of a Chinese institution involved in the nuclear weapons program.

Information for this story was found via Reuters, Bloomberg, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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