This 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?
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?
This is a close-up of a banner belonging to the Prefecture de police, Paris, Rue de la citè.
Actually this banner says nothing special but what a public police power is supposed to do; nevertheless – as I wrote commenting the picture – I don’t know why, but every time I hear a public power saying that he cares about me I feel a bit worried.
Back to one of my first love: next March 11 (Rome University La Sapienza) and 20 (Milan University Statale) I have been asked to talk about “Reverse Engineering of the gray world: Intelligence as a black-box” and “Use(less) online Open Source Intelligence”.
An interesting article from Axel Spies, a Washington-based ICT lawyer, assesses the impact of the US spying over the German Chanchelor, Angela Merkel.
Here is an excerpt from the “Conclusion” section:
Most Blog participants were more pessimistic about the legal remedies having any leverage against spying. To quote a key statement in the Blog: “What Germany can “legally” do against wiretapping is likely to be on a similar level as asking what Pakistan can do ” legally” against U.S. drone attacks on its territory. Politically, maybe some counteraction in the areas of punitive tariffs on imports from the U.S. or the termination of international treaties is conceivable. But this is less a question of being allowed, rather than being able to follow through with sanctions and thus hardly the subject of a legal discussion.” Müller further added this observation: “If there were an effective counter-espionage [in Germany], also against supposed “friends” [in the U.S.], then it would hardly be possible to spy on the head of a befriended government’s private and political communication.”