03-07-05

Justice Italy - Privacy is not a private matter

 

Privacy is not a private matter

On 15th June 2004, officers of the Italian postal police, under an order coming from a Bologna attorney, arrived without warning at Aruba, the Internet provider which hosts one of the servers belonging to activist organization Autistici/Inventati. Aruba switched off the machine of the Autistici/ Inventati project and let the police copy all the data. Nobody from Autistici/Inventati was warned or informed this was occurring. Instead, the provider, when called by telephone, said that there had been an electricity failure.

Police then demanded access to the webmail account named croceneraanarchica at inventati.org and they have had continuous access since that date. Potentially, they had the chance to read and decrypt all data kept in the machine, and they still can. Only now, one year later, Autistici/Inventati has been alerted to this situation, due to the legal events regarding the last witch hunt against anarchist collectives.

Autistici/Inventati is an independent grass-roots project which provides space for websites and mailing lists of a vast network of grass-roots groups, in Italy and all over the world. These include the Genoa Legal forum and supporto legale.org. The organization has now decided to switch off the machine and retire it from that provider.

Privacy conditions in italy were compromised: nobody knows how many commercial Internet providers give help to the police without giving any notice to their clients. Nobody knows what the police will do with the data. Participants in the Autistici/Inventati project are convinced this is not an isolated event concerning one association or a single independent server, especially since the FBI misused a federal decree permitting it to acquire one log file to seize the entire Indymedia Italy server, on October, 7th 2004.

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