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 PM15 Comments


Brutus May 2, 2007 1:27 PM

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

Somebody Anon May 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 ???

BunBun May 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…

dakkar May 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 Italy May 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.

Kerub May 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_sayer May 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


“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.

Nicola May 3, 2007 4:12 AM


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

lost in translation May 3, 2007 4:38 AM


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.

SteveJ May 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 🙂

Peach May 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” (?)

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