Prof. Marco Ventura‘s School for Biotech Industrial Innovation Management will start its Fourth Year on April 2008. The School is an initiative of the University of Siena, Italy, funded by the Fondazione Monte dei Paschi di Siena in the framework of the Siena biotech pole.
Last year I have been invited to give a speech on “Copyright and Bioinformatics” and I had the chance to appreciate both audience and speaker “quality”. Marco Ventura’s initiative is really a unique place – in Italy – to learn about the interaction of two of the most complex (biotechnology) and confused (law) branch of human knowledge.
In Italy, whenever you ask for an official copy of a trial-related document you must pay a specific tax established by a Presidential Decree (Testo Unico sulle Spese di Giustizia).
So – as happened today during a computer forensics phase of a criminal trial – a client had to withdraw the request of getting a 120Gb hard disk copy, because the final tax amount would have been about 40.000 Euros. The Testo Unico, in fact, set a rate of 258 Euros-per-CD.
Thus, if you do the math…
This is the title of a speech Withfield Diffie gave in Rome at University La Sapienza last Jan. 31 2008, where I have been invited to attend the round table the followed. Other participants were Corrado Giustozzi, Giovanni Manca (CNIPA – National Centre for Information Technology in the Public infrastructures), prof. Luigi Mancini and Luisa Franchina (ISCOM).
There are a few online account for the day but none of them tells about the “content” of the conference. Mr. Diffie’s talk was professional and fascinating – if you don’t belong to the IT security professional’s circle. And this is the point: how is it possible that in 2008 we – Italians – still are so far from moving (even a few) steps ahead from what we were talking in 1995?
“Fighting terrorism” was – as usual – the “leading concern” to advocate defense and civil rights suspension in Italy. And each time I ear some Italian civil servant singing that song I remember about Michael Crichton’s State of fear, whose lesson – creating a state of fear to let powers and lobbies pursue their goals – is largely missed. This is not to say that terrorism is a fake issue. But when security of the State become a political (i.e. partizan) weapon, all we get is neither effective anti-terrorism measures nor freedom protection.
As Benjamin Franklin said,
They that would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety
And this is what we are doing right now.