Sandvine Inc., the U.S. company whose technology helped Belarus block much of the internet during a disputed presidential election last month, promotes its wares with a stark selling point: it can be used to “blacklist” as many as 150 million websites. The private-equity-backed technology firm demonstrated its equipment to a government security team in Belarus in May, two people with knowledge of the matter said, and its marketing materials boast of the blacklisting capabilities, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. The Sandvine equipment is also used to manage and secure networks, and its website blocking feature can prohibit users from accessing content deemed illicit, such as terrorist propaganda or child pornography, according to the documents. For several days in August, however, Sandvine’s “deep packet inspection” equipment played a central role in censoring social media, news and messaging platforms used by protesters rallying against President Alexander Lukashenko’s re-election, Bloomberg reported last month. On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany called the Aug. 9 election “fraudulent.” The documents and product demonstration, as recounted by the people familiar with the company’s affairs, lend added insight into Sandvine’s work in Belarus, showing that company representatives met directly with officials in Belarus and later shipped the equipment, via a contractor, to be installed at data centers in Minsk. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin called on the Treasury Department to investigate Sandvine for potential violations of U.S. sanctions on Belarus. For more than a decade, those sanctions have imposed restrictions on U.S. companies from providing funds, goods or services that benefit Lukashenko or others engaged in “actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions,” according to Erich Ferrari, a Washington-based sanctions expert.

via bloomberg: U.S. Company Faces Backlash After Belarus Uses Its Tech to Block Internet

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