Italy To Storm Playstation Networks? The Steve Jackson Game Case Strikes Back

According to Andrea Orlando, Italian Minister of Justice, Italy plans to fight the war on terrorism on Playstations.

In a press conference, Mr. Orlando said that new technologies are exploited by terrorists, and it is imperative to keep pace with the innovation, by allowing the capability to wiretap chat (whatever this means) and Playstations.

Apart from the merit of the issue (we might either agree or not about the strategy, but this is a horse of different colour) what matters is the clear uneasiness of the Minister in talking about topics he’s clearly not knowledgeable in.

I really wander how the law enforcement agencies will be able to extract something useful by wiretapping network games that deal with assaults, terrorist actions, covert operation and so on.

Will they be able to sort the truth from the game?

Are we on the verge of a new Steve Jackson Games scandal?

The usual approximation showed by a politician in charge of taking the lead on technology-related issues shows that key decision on such a sensitive matters are made elsewhere, by someone else not at all well versed in the matter. And it would be interesting to know who this “Mr. Someoneelse” actually is.

To have a better grasp on the operative issues before talking to the Press, maybe it wouldn’t had been a bad idea for the Minister to spend some spare time playing Call of duty or Splinter cell.


How Do Cameron and Obama Are Going to Forbid This?

cipherThis is – the news is as recent as today – what the Italian Polizia di Stato found during a Ndrangheta (organized crime from Calabria) related investigation.

Although the cipher, in this case, is not that hard to handle for an expert codebreaker it shows that “old school” systems still work.

So, following the announced ban of side-to-side encryption application made by US Presidente Obama and UK Prime Minister Cameron (coupled with the statement by Italian Home Affair Ministry) I wonder how they’re going to fight this “new”, dangerous way to exploit the encryption.

Maybe outlawing paper and pencil?

The Italian Home Affair Minister To Call For Another Internet Crackdown

In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, as a way to improve the “safety” of the citizen, the Italian Home Ministry Affair, Alfano (a right-winger)  called for:

  • a “registration” of “dangerous” websites,
  • a further enhancement of the ISPs duty to block access to
    (terrorism-related) Internet resources,
  • an exception to the data-protection regulation, to allow the law
    enforcement agencies to easily access “sensitive” data.

This is an exploitation of the recurring rhetorical locus: “enhance safety needs the fundamental rights to be weakened”.
It is easy to answer with an often quoted statement by Benjamin Franklin:

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

But this is not the point.

From a “terrorism” fighting point of view, what Alfano is calling for is simply useless.

If the target is to gather as much information as possible to prevent new attacks, blacklisting websites obviously doesn’t help. It neither stops terrorists from talking each-other, nor allows to spot upcoming threats.

If the target is to gather advance information to run “pre-emptive actions”, it is useless to “weaks” the data-protection regulation to ease the law enforcement agencies access to “sensitive” (i.e. political-related) information. Those who need a fast and direct access to such king of information, in fact, are the secret services (whose activities are neither handled nor reported to a magistrate) and not the law enforcement bodies, that can only act, in Italy, AFTER a crime has been committed (having, in this case, full access to everything they need, under the control of the public prosecutor.)

Then, a couple of questions:

  • why does Alfano calls for measures that don’t help fighting terrorism, but allow a crackdown against normal citizens?
  • why the ISPs should be burdened to act as censors and central scrutinizer on behalf of the government?