Does cyberspace exist?


This is an interview I gave to that I casually re-discovered. It is an old text, while still up-to-date.

The following interview of the Italian lawyer Andrea Monti
took place in Prague during the APC Europe Internet Rights Workshop.
My thanks to Karen Banks and Chris Bailey of APC for inviting me to speak at the workshop. See also the other interview carried out in Prague of the philosopher, Giancarlo Livraghi entitled “Souls writing on the Net“.

Continue reading “Does cyberspace exist?”

Italian Democratic Party’s Competition: faxes aren’t good enough to support a candidate

The Italian online daily magazine announces that Furio Colombo (S-DS) will not run for the future Italian Democratic Party board (the new political entity that next October will merge Margherita and Democratici di sinistra into one, big party.)

The reason is – Repubblica says – that Mr. Colombo got his votes by fax – an unreliable communication device that doesn’t grant non-refutability, integrity and authenticity of the message. Mr. Colombo then claims that since he ain’t a political structure working for him, it was impossible to ride the whole Italy collecting the originals documents containing the “electoral” whishes.

But if only Mr. Colombo – and his supporters – had used digitally signed certified e-mail, he could have run for this competition with no particular problem. Digital signature is “around” since almost ten years, while Certified e-mail (Posta Elettronica Certificata – PEC) is widely available since at least a couple of year. Then it would have been entirely possible to run for the Democratc Party board by handling a digital electoral campaign. Why, then, Mr. Colombo didn’t use it?

Complex answer for a simple question. The deadly mixture of legislator’s lack of competence and Certification Entities wrongly aimed lobby efforts created a poisoned cocktail that almost killed the possibility to have these technologies at handy for the “average” citizen. BTW, nobody seemed really care to actually enhance the use of digital signature and certified e-mail through the citizenship.

And now, we face the early consequences of this non-culture: this is the very first case, in Italy at least, where the technological ignorance had the direct effect of banning a person from the active political life of a country.

Is the “Peppermint case” a scam?

The “cease and desist” letters sent by Peppermint lawyers to the Internet users’ – whose identity has been dislosed by a questionable decision of the Court of Rome – allegedly infringing German label’s copyright contains a legal trick almost unnoticed that expose people to criminal investigations even after having paid what Peppermint’s lawyer ask for.

Peppermint scheme is easy (at least at first glance): you pay us 330 Euros, we file ? no legal action against you. The problem is that in Italy copyright’s infringment is a criminal offense and the Public Prosecutor can charge somebody even if the “damaged party” (Peppermint, in this case) states to having waived any claim.

Peppermint and its lawyers, than, cannot enter into an agreement that includes the waiving of ? such legal claim because they have no power to waive ALL the possible legal claim. But they completely fail to advise their counterpart on that issue.

The result is that people who already paid the 330 Euros, cannot rest in peace… or do they?