Sandvine terminates deal with Belarus citing human rights violations

The American IT company Sandvine, which supplied equipment for blocking Internet traffic to Belarus, has canceled the deal. The IT company motivated its decision by the fact that “the government used technology to violate human rights,” Bloomberg reports. “Mediazona. Belarus” has more on this.

According to Bloomberg, the American IT company Sandvine supplied Belarus with equipment used by the authorities to block Internet traffic, through the Russian company Jet Infosystems. The National Traffic Exchange Center (NTEC) in Minsk uses Sandvine equipment to manage internet activity in the country.

The IT company discovered that a “customer code” had been added to its software “to prevent the free flow of information during elections in Belarus”. The company interpreted this as a violation of human rights, which automatically led to the termination of the license agreement.

Sandvine noted that the equipment will be available for use. However, the technology will stop receiving updates and the technicians will not have technical support.

Large-scale blockings of Internet traffic have been taking place in Belarus since August 9. The director of the Society for the Protection of the Internet, Mikhail Klimarou, explained that bynet connectivity was interrupted in Beltelecom, which controls 90% of the market, and in NTEC. The Ministry of Communications of Belarus refused to consider the issue of interruptions with the Internet, referring to the day off.

On August 10, Alyaksandr Lukashenka claimed that the Belarusian authorities were not involved in the shutdown of the Internet:

“They turn off the Internet from abroad to cause discontent among the population. Now our specialists are figuring out where this blocking comes from. Therefore, if the Internet does not work well, this is not our initiative, it is from abroad”.

On the same day, NTEC reported that problems with access to the Internet arose due to “malicious traffic coming from outside the Republic of Belarus from external IP networks”.

Pavel Durov reported that the Telegram messenger uses its own “anti-censorship tools in Belarus, but communication is still very unstable, since the Internet in the country is sometimes completely disconnected”.