Wiretapping in Italy

Encrypted phones are big business in Italy as a defense against wiretapping:

What has spurred encryption sales is not so much the legal wiretapping authorized by Italian magistrates -- though information about those calls is also frequently leaked to the press -- but the widespread availability of wiretapping technology over the Internet, which has created a growing pool of amateur eavesdroppers. Those snoops have a ready market in the Italian media for filched celebrity conversations.

Posted on May 2, 2007 at 1:02 PM • 17 Comments

Comments

BrutusMay 2, 2007 1:27 PM

Every telephone conversation in Italy is XXX-rated. I see their need for encryption.

Somebody AnonMay 2, 2007 2:49 PM

Have heard Italians can't talk without using their hands (and possibly legs !!). How do they manage to have any conversations on phone ???

BunBunMay 2, 2007 2:54 PM

'Rolando Rosas, the United States development director for Snapcom, which operates in 40 countries, said he believed that its software was 90 percent reliable. “Nothing is 100 percent foolproof — nothing, nothing, nothing,��? he added.'

90% reliable? What is THAT supposed to mean? If there's a 10% chance that someone would be able to eavesdrop on your conversation after all, I'd say that the product is actually 0% reliable...

dakkarMay 2, 2007 3:06 PM

First: I'm Italian

The "news" is not really "new". The wiretaps have been performed in the past couple of years, mostly without warrants (which are required also by Italian law), and in a lot of cases by the phone company itself (we have a monopoly...).

There have been cases of people spied upon because they said bad things about the phone company. There have been cases of people accused of "crimes" from details emerged via wiretaps for unrelated enquiries. There has been *a lot* of bad practices.

The "solution", so far, from the state: ban newspapers from reporting the content of the wiretaps. And, recently, a proposal to ban newspapers from reporting *anything* from investigations, even if not secret...

If anyone knows of a sane place on this Earth (or of a colonization mission to outer space ;) ) write me...

Ex pat in ItalyMay 2, 2007 3:12 PM

The Italian public are quite gullible when it comes to mobile phones. They accepted a minimum 5 euro charge for each time they paid for prepaid credit to use them for yearssssssssssss - only ended last month.
They are also very resigned to not having any privacy on the phone. Moggi the man who fixed the soccer matches actually resorted to using a phone registered abroad to avoid being intercepted on his most dodgy telephonic deals - In that way the Italian authorities could not legally listen in.

KerubMay 2, 2007 3:41 PM

it would be good if Bruce could recall of GSM encryption and fears of French and/or German authorities for the cross iron-curtain wireless-tapping problems of late 80s'

sooth_sayerMay 2, 2007 5:53 PM

I wonder if they discovered a new key-exchange protocol, they surely will claim the spellings are jumbled for security reasons

http://www.caspertech.com/prodotti.php

"Encryption key inserted directly by customes with phone keybord and session key generated with Ciffie Hellmann protocol. The two systems can be used at the same time for high security configuration"

Can't blame it on poor translation, surely poor oversight; wonder if this thing is worth anything.

NicolaMay 3, 2007 4:06 AM

As you can guess from my name, I'm Italian.
The encrypted phone is not so famous here, i don't know why the nyt is interested in it.

Quote:
Have heard Italians can't talk without using their hands (and possibly legs !!). How do they manage to have any conversations on phone ???

Have you also heard that all muslim are terrorist? That all French are queers? That all niggers are criminal?
Hint: don't trust the prejudice, because, before or later, you could be the next victim of it (you would be surprised if you knew the opinion of most italian about the ordinary american people).

Quote:
They are also very resigned to not having any privacy on the phone.

You're right. 1 or 2 years ago, a congress report stated that there were 5 millions of tel. number (total land + mobile) over a population of 56 millions. Everytime i call one of my friends i know that I could be listened and taped by a cop... I'm not resigned, i try to fight the system, i use pgp when possible, but I'm realistic. By the way, did you forget echelon and the massive home spionistic plan of the bush administration some months ago?
Here in Italy we have a proverb: "Tutto il mondo è paese".

Quote:
Moggi the man... In that way the Italian authorities could not legally listen in.

The authorities DID legally listen in.

Quote:
If anyone knows of a sane place on this Earth (or of a colonization mission to outer space ;) ) write me...

me too.

NicolaMay 3, 2007 4:12 AM

ERRATA CORRIGE:

... 5 millions of tel. lines WIRETAPPED over a 56 millions inhabitants

lost in translationMay 3, 2007 4:38 AM

@sooth

I love reading translations just for the nuggets your find. Years ago I read a product sheet translated from German. Had me ROTFL @ the "Stupid Terminals" reference.

SteveJMay 3, 2007 5:07 AM

"As you can guess from my name, I'm Italian."

Almost: Nicola in English is a girl's name, so we can tell you're either Italian or a woman :-)

PeachMay 3, 2007 6:06 AM

a little bit of translations of the solgans from the above cited site:
for the private: "whom's she talking to?"
for the business: "And if I could listen to them in that particular moment?"
for the family: "Control the activity of your son"
for the company: "Keep an eye on your sales rep"
custom: "Build your own custom file" (?)

AnonymousNovember 23, 2007 12:00 PM

The comment by Nicola is total stupid because there is no niggers race or nationals in the world. All this came because of european brutality and if I were to judge I think the first peole to be called criminals are eurpeans. Look haow they came to America and Australia and killed all native people. They tried in Asia and Africa with no success.

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