Ralf HallerRalf Haller February 2, 2009

NOKIA to protect itself against espionage with e-mail screening?

Looks like ever since Nokia closed down its mobile phone manufacturing plant in Bochum, Germany, whatever the Finnish company does that looks only slightly controversial, the German public jumps at it vigorously.

This just happened once again in German’s IT portal Heise Online (where comments on news articles are well known for being quite direct and often aggressive, using vulgar language as well). A news article saying that Nokia was pushing the Finnish government to pass a law that would allow it to screen e-mails of its employees generated 400 — mostly hate — comments on Heise Online.

While Nokia won’t make the masses in Germany their friends anymore, also due to the way they handled the closure of the mobile phone plant, I think they should have the right to screen e-mails for suspicious recipients such as competitors’. Espionage by Chinese companies is big. Huawei in particular is known to have copied Cisco routers one-to-one, incl. all its manuals and of course bugs as well. They also copied Ericsson’s GSM network elements and are now only replacing SW parts with their own developments as I heard from some insider sources.

That Nokia seems to have similar issues with Huawei is not surprising. To think though that they could protect themself by screening e-mails I think is a bit naive. Someone stealing design insights would hardly use company e-mails to do so.