U.S. blocklists Sandvine for enabling digital repression in Egypt

More accountability: U.S. blocklists Sandvine for enabling digital repression in Egypt

Access Now welcomes the U.S. government’s addition of Canada-based Sandvine to the Entity List for supplying deep packet inspection (DPI) technology to the Egyptian government that facilitated mass web-monitoring, censorship, and the targeting of human rights activists and politicians. 

This announcement, made on Monday, February 26, follows Access Now’s joint advocacy with the ​​Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights to hold Sandvine accountable for enabling digital repression in Egypt.

Adding notorious tech company Sandvine to the U.S.’ Entity List is a major accountability moment for digital rights in Egypt and beyond. For years, Sandvine has profited from enabling dictators to stifle dissent and silence the press en masse. Internet blocking should not go on business as usual. Marwa Fatafta, MENA Policy and Advocacy Director at Access Now.

Over 600 websites, including media and human rights websites, are currently blocked in Egypt thanks to Sandvine’s internet blocking technologies. In 2023, the Citizen Lab revealed that Sandvine technology was also used to inject spyware into the device of Egyptian journalist and former Member of Parliament Ahmed Eltantawy.

Sandvine has been involved in facilitating human rights violations by repressive governments around the world including in Azerbaijan, Jordan, Russia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, among others. In Belarus, the company played a direct role in facilitating internet shutdowns implemented by President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s regime during the brutal suppression of 2020 election protests.

The U.S. government should use every policy tool at its disposal to ensure that companies which enable human rights violations are held accountable. Adding Sandvine to its economic blocklist should send a clear signal to vendors and potential investors that there will be a price to pay for the abuse of technology. Michael De Dora, U.S. Policy and Advocacy Manager at Access Now.

This recent addition to the entity list follows the U.S. government’s inclusion of a number of spyware companies — including Intellexa S.A., NSO Group, Candiru, and Cytrox — on the Entity List due to activities conflicting with the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.