Trovicor

trovicorTrovicor is one of the largest providers of lawful interception equipment worldwide, claiming to equip more than 100 countries. The company has been questioned, in particular during a hearing before the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights in 2010, with respect to engagement in Iran, but also in Bahrain and Syria, where torture and imprisonment of journalists and dissidents occurs on a regular basis, helped by Western technology.

Formerly known as Nokia Siemens Networks (until 2009) and Siemens AG, Division for Voice and Data recording. Owned by Johann Preinsberger through Ickehorn Asset Management.

  •  Country of origin: Germany, Munich
  • Known branches: Switzerland, Dubai, Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, Prague
  •  Countries present:
  • Employees: around 170
  • Website: www.trovicor.com

Portfolio: Monitoring Centre, Lifecycle Management, Intelligence Platform

The company

Trovicor, formerly a branch of Siemens, Department for Voice and Data Recording (operating since 1993), is one of the leading suppliers of surveillance equipment worldwide. This former operational division of German company Siemens claims to equip more than 100 countries worldwide with lawful interception technology and their specialized monitoring centres. Siemens outsourced this chain of business to a newly established business, the joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks in 2007. In 2009, it was sold again to form the new company Trovicor, which is itself owned by an asset management company.[1]  The new company vowed to fulfill all Nokia Siemens Networks maintenance contracts. Trovicor is a lead sponsor of 2013 ISS World, the world’s biggest fair for surveillance and censorship equipment.[2]

Monitoring centres are, in our view, more problematic [than standard lawful interception equipment] and have a risk of raising issues related to human rights that we are not adequately suited to address. Our core competency is not working with law enforcement agencies, who are not our typical customers. Those agencies could have an interest in expanding the capability of monitoring centres beyond the standards-based approach of lawful interception.

Quote by Barry French of Nokia Siemens Networks, testifying to the European Parliament[3]

There are many hints that Trovicor is closely cooperating with other surveillance technology companies, which supply wider ranging solutions like Trojans.

These [Trovicor] turn-key solutions are based on Trovicor’s own innovative cores and designed for integrating best-in-class third party products providing the most flexible platform for the apprehension of criminals.[4]

Portfolio

Trovicor monitoring centres are capable of intercepting all ETSI-standard communications. That means phone calls, text messages, Voice over IP calls (like Skype) and Internet traffic. Spying on hard drives is not possible. Trovicor also offers solutions that allow processing and analysis of vast amounts of data (intelligent platforms). The company explicitly offers Lifecycle Management technology, which means they offer first assessment of networks and Internet structure in a country, supply monitoring solutions and corresponding training for government officials. They also maintain and further develop their systems, even deploying new features on installed hardware.[5]

Involvement in Bahrain

Media reports as well as research by human rights groups around the world suggests that monitoring centres have been delivered to Bahrain and led to imprisonment and torture of activists and journalists. Sources from Trovicor (who formerly worked at Siemens) confirmed that technology was delivered by Siemens in 2006 and then maintained by its successor companies.

Prisoners like Abd al Ghani Khanjhar have been shown records of text messages, emails and intercepted phone calls during torture. This information could only have been obtained by the country’s interception programme.[6]

Currently, Reporters Without Borders, together with the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, Privacy International, the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights and Bahrain Watch, is  pursuing an OECD complaint against the company at the German OECD National Contact Point to further investigate the company’s involvement in Bahrain.[7]

Involvement in Iran

Nokia Siemens Network delivered lawful interception technology to Iran in 2009When the company suspended monitoring centre business, Trovicor continued to maintain the monitoring centres.[8]

Nokia Siemens Networks still has a presence in Iran, providing assistance for mobile phone networks. At the end of 2011 the company announced they would reduce their presence inIran.[9]

Other known appearances

Media reports state that Trovicor monitoring centre technology was delivered to Syria in 2000 and 2008.[10]

Yemen is said to have purchased Trovicor monitoring centres. In 2010 the company asked for trademark protection in Yemen, indicating that Trovicor does have interests in this country.[11]

Trovicor has an official branch in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2009 the company asked for trademark protection in that country.[12]

Trovicor is also involved in Germany, where it is providing lawful interception for the state police of Bavaria (Landeskriminaltamt Bayern).[13]

Contacted by RWB on the 08th Januaury of 2013, Trovicor had not replied at the moment we published this report