US data surveillance report hits Russian technology

Washington, June 8 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Data technology developed by Russia is fighting suspicion to compete in US markets, developers said, amid mushrooming revelations about secret US government data surveillance programmes.

But that drive to win contracts has no motives other than making money in a free market and is not rooted in Russia's track record of monitoring the communications of its own citizens, as critics are starting to accuse the US government of doing, they said.

"We're a 22-year-old independent company formed by individuals who quit their day jobs and started a new company from scratch," said Alexey Khitrov of the New York office of SpeechPro, a voice biometrics company based in Russia's St. Petersburg.

"All of our technology, we've developed ourselves, and through hard work and R&D, we've grown into one of the world leaders in the voice recognition market," Khitrov said.

Khitrov said that a story in one online tech journal, claiming that SpeechPro grew out of a company born in the Soviet gulag system, was not true.

"We have no roots in any government agencies anywhere, none of the agencies mentioned in articles that you might have read," he said.

SpeechPro established a presence in the US for the same reasons all other foreign companies do -- because it is a huge market and, for high tech companies, the birthplace of their industry, Khitrov said.

The Russian tech company does business with private commercial interests as well as government entities, he added.

But rather than building applications that could be used to spy on Americans, it develops voice recognition software that has the potential to make people's online lives easier, like a vocal recognition password to replace the need to type passwords on keyboards.

Another Russian company that has established itself as a solid competitor in the US is Kaspersky Labs.

Writing about the company, Wired Magazine harkens back to its Soviet origins, noting that it was founded in the late 1990s by Yevgeny Kaspersky, a 1987 graduate of "the KGB-backed Institute of Cryptography, Telecommunications and Computer Science".

After his studies, Kaspersky was commissioned as an intelligence officer in the Soviet army, leaving a few years later to pursue his passion -- computer viruses, Wired says.

Kaspersky reacted angrily to the Wired article, saying he was misquoted.

The company Kaspersky founded and still runs sells a popular anti-virus software in 200 countries, including the US, and tracks and exposes cyber bad guys around the world.

Last week, a report issued by Kaspersky Labs blew the lid off a massive secret surveillance operation - not by the US government against cell phone and email users but by a group of "about 50 individuals, most of which speak Chinese natively and have working knowledge of the English language".

Most of the victims of the extensive cyber-spying operation were in Mongolia, India and Russia, although some were in the US.

Victims included oil companies, scientific research centres and universities, private companies, government institutions, embassies and military contractors, the report said.

Other Russian tech companies with a US presence include Discovery Telecom, which describes itself on its website as a "source of wholesale cellular and satellite equipment".

One of the products the company sells is the AIBIS system, which can be used to "intercept incoming and outgoing GSM communications with any type of encryption, in real-time", Discovery says on its website.

GSM, which stands for Global System for Mobile communications, is used by AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, and is said to be the world's most widely used cell phone technology.

The AIBIS is made in Russia and sold worldwide, but it was unclear if it is widely used in the US.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

pm/vm

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

As two of the most glamorous sides in the Indian T20 league, the focus of the match between Mumbai and Bangalore will invariably be on the middle-order… More »

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srinivasan, says Manohar

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Pietersen ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Beleaguered Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistan cricketers face probe

Pakistani cricket authorities have launched an investigation after a number of current international stars played in exhibition matches in the United States… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Bangalore's arsenal blazes to victory

Yuvraj Singh was back to his best in his first match for Royal Challengers Bangalore. More »

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

BCCI to meet before next court hearing

The BCCI will hold an emergent working committee meeting on April 20 to discuss the future course of action with regard to the Supreme Court hearing concerning… More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Time for Chennai to enter familiar cocoon

Chennai have an emphatic 8-3 lead in the head-to-head with Punjab, with one game tied More »

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

Kallis, Narine star in KKR win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

Rajasthan and Hyderabad face-off

A quality that defines Rajasthan and Hyderabad is consistency. Rajasthan was one among two teams to enjoy complete dominance at home last season. Hyderabad… More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

Yuvraj happy to play for RCB: Kohli

New-look RCB will play their first game of IPL-7 on Thursday. More »

IPL: News Line

IPL: News Line

A round-up of all the news from this season of the IPL. More »

Shane Watson issues moral warning

Shane Watson issues moral warning

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »