Dubai-based company involved in Syrian surveillance project
An advanced German Technology (AGT), a Dubai-based company with a letterbox office in Berlin, which worked together with RCS to propose the use of US equipment in a Syrian surveillance project between 2008 and 2009 - even though US export controls actually banned the sale of surveillance equipment to Syria at the time.
Privacy International obtained several documents which it says showed that the companies helped Assad buy equipment to intercept communications on the networks of a satellite internet service provider Aramsat. In response, AGT told Privacy that the project was never completed and anyway it abided by United Nations and European Union export regulations.
AGT has come to the attention of activists and journalists before. The German media outlet "Netzpolitik," which specializes in internet surveillance and privacy issues, reported in February 2015 that AGT "advertises 'massive and passive interception' as core competencies." But those specialties no longer appear on AGT's website, and the links that Netzpolitik provided are now dead. Indeed, in its response to Privacy, the company said it "does not own any surveillance technology," and has been "exiting the business of lawful interception services" for a few years.
Throughout the period leading up to the war, Assad intensified his pursuit of dissidents, and Privacy alleges that some of the "surveillance architecture" that Western businesses helped set up is still in place today. Assad's government is thought to still have control over internet and broadband access in the country.