On 15 March 2017, the Italian Senate voted on a Bill, put forward by Justice Minister Andrea Orlando, that will reform the criminal justice system, including amending the Code of Criminal Procedure. Among the many provisions contained in DDL Orlando, currently pending approval by the Italian House of Representatives, the Government is mandated to regulate, via a legislative decree, the utilisation of malware (commonly referred to as ‘Trojans’ in Italian discourse) to engage hacking for criminal investigations.
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We look at our smartphone first thing in the morning to check the weather, and our to-do list for the day. During breakfast, we read the news and learn about what is going on in the rest of the world. In our commute to work or college, we scroll through our social media feeds to check on our friends, family, and acquaintances. We might download a new app, or listen to a new song.
Why would we ever let anyone hack anything, ever? Why are hacking tools that can patently be used for harm considered helpful? Let's try to address this in eight distinct points:
1) Ethical hacking is a counter proof to corporate claims of security.
The financial services industry is eager to gather more and more data about our lives. Apart from mining the data they have historically collected such as credit history, they are looking to use our social media profiles to reach into our friendships and social interactions. They are using these data in new and unexpected ways, including personality profiling to determine the risk of lending to you, and thus the price you will pay.
This week the United States Congress voted to strip away one of the country’s few safeguards of the right to privacy by repealing rules which would have limited internet service provider’s ability to use or share customers’ data without customers’ approval.
Technologists hoped the “Crypto Wars” of the 1990s – which ended with cryptographers gaining the right to legally develop strong encryption that governments could not break – was behind them once and for all. Encryption is a fundamental part of our modern life, heavily relied on by everything from online banking and online shopping services to the security our energy infrastructure.
On a hot day in Nairobi, our researcher is speaking to an officer of Kenya’s National Intelligence Service (NIS). The afternoon is wearing on and the conversation has turned to the presidential elections, taking place in August this year. He has just finished describing the NIS’ highly secret surveillance powers and the disturbing ways in which these powers are deployed.
Privacy International Executive Director Dr Gus Hosein said:
The investigation was done with the assistance of Netzpolitik.
The Arab Spring of 2011 transformed the political landscape of the Middle East and Gulf. The scale of the popular uprisings seemingly caught off guard the governments of Syria, Egypt, and Libya among others, leading to brutal crackdowns, civil wars and instability that continue to this day.
This piece originally appeared in the Responsible Data Forum.
Would you mind if, every time you post a comment on Twitter, Facebook or another social media platform, the police logged it? I mean, it’s public — surely it’s fair game?
If you think that’s OK, then maybe it’s also OK for a police officer to follow you when you walk down a busy street. That’s also public, right?
Privacy International has today published an investigation, which sheds light on the shady deals that built Syria’s surveillance state and the role Western companies have played in its construction. The investigation also shows how Western surveillance companies seek to exploit loopholes to do business with repressive states.
This piece was written by PI Research Officer Edin Omanovic and originally appeared here.
Whatever happens over the next few years, if there is to be a storm, then it is best to prepare. It is essential that western liberal democratic societies are resilient enough to uphold their fundamental values.