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The Department of Commerce has placed Sandvine, a network equipment provider, on its blacklist for supplying censorship technology to the Egyptian government.

Announced on Tuesday, this action bars Sandvine from acquiring US technology due to concerns over national security. The company has been added to the “Entity List,” which includes organizations suspected of compromising the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States based on “specific and articulable facts.”

Accusations against Sandvine include utilizing mass web monitoring to obstruct news outlets and target political figures and human rights advocates. Originating in Ontario, Canada, and later acquired by a company based in San Francisco in 2017, Sandvine’s technology has capabilities for extensive internet traffic monitoring. It can be employed to filter out spam and viruses, but also to block access to websites, messaging apps, and conduct internet surveillance.

The move to blacklist Sandvine follows a report on the company’s $30 million worth of sales to Egypt, involving transactions with state-owned entities and government agencies. Governments have used the company’s technology in at least a dozen countries to censor online content, and it was reportedly used to hack the iPhone of an Egyptian presidential candidate.


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