Recently, Julian Assange, on behalf of WikiLeaks, has brought out information on the production and usage of lawful interception technology by governments. We find it extremely important to look critically at the relationship between security and privacy in general and the use of lawful interception technology by governments in particular. We consider it positive that this debate has been brought to a broad public, independent from the question of how this is happening. We have also recently devoted an article in our FoxFiles on this topic.
The reports and conclusions of Wikileaks, however, contain a number of inaccuracies and misstatements regarding Fox-IT, which we would like to correct with this message.
The Wikileaks report contains the name of Fox-IT, because from December 2006 to September 2011 we have developed the product FoxReplay Analyst. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are using the product to analyze already intercepted internet traffic. For example, the product is used for reading intercepted emails from criminals as part of a criminal investigation. Governments, including the Dutch police, are using FoxReplay Analyst to investigate and fight terrorism, cybercrime and traditional crimes.
FoxReplay Analyst cannot be used to impose censorship. In contrary to what Wikileaks claims, Fox-IT has never developed trojans.
It is our mission to provide technical and innovative contributions for a more secure society. We understand that our innovative solutions can be used for other purposes as well. Therefore we are critical in the choice of our customers. We test in every single case if a sale is compliant with our mission. The goal is to make society safer, not to keep a dictatorial regime in power. These considerations have led us to turn down foreign interest in FoxReplay Analyst several times. It is regrettable that WikiLeaks suggests that the mere fact that companies were present at an international conference indicates that they are offering their technology to dictatorships to contribute to the oppression of their people.
So far, companies in Europe are free to sell ‘dual-use’ technology. We do not consider this desirable. In April 2011, Fox-IT has therefore made agreements with the Dutch government to avoid abusive usage of the technology. More information on the agreement: http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/nieuws/2011/04/19/bedrijfsleven-en-overheid-werken-samen-aan-internetvrijheid.html. The European Parliament has urged to regulate the export of lawful interception technology. Fox-IT supports this initiative wholeheartedly. Again: it is good that this debate has been sparked by Wikileaks.
As of October 1, Fox-IT’s department Replay had been sold to the American company Netscout. This has been a strategic choice. Fox-IT uses the proceeds to fund new innovations. In contrast to the European legislation, the U.S. export control applies rules for these types of products: http://www.bis.doc.gov/news/2007/foreignpolicyreport/fprchap13_surreplisten.htm.