David Kushner has a fascinating piece on Stars & Stripes about the Hacking Team’s David Vincenzetti. While Kushner discusses how the firm’s surveillance software has been used by governments to spy on dissidents, it is Vincenzetti’s attitude about what they are doing that will especially infuriate privacy advocates.
Here’s an excerpt from his article:
As media and activists speculated about which countries the Italian firm served, the founder and CEO of the Hacking Team, David Vincenzetti – from his sleek, white office inside an unsuspecting residential building in Milan – took the bad press in stride. He joked with his colleagues in a private email that he was responsible for the “evilest technology” in the world.
A tall, lean 48-year-old Italian with a taste for expensive steak and designer suits, Vincenzetti has transformed himself over the past decade from an under-ground hacker working out of a windowless basement into a mogul worth millions. He is nothing if not militant about what he defines as justice: Julian Assange, the embattled founder of WikiLeaks, is “a criminal who by all means should be arrested, expatriated to the United States, and judged there”; whistleblower Chelsea Manning is “another lunatic”; Edward Snowden “should go to jail, absolutely.”
“Privacy is very important,” Vincenzetti says on a recent February morning in Milan, pausing to sip his espresso. “But national security is much more important.”
Vincenzetti’s position has come at a high cost. Disturbing incidents have been left in his wake: a spy’s suicide, dissidents’ arrests, and countless human rights abuses. “If I had known how crazy and dangerous he is,” Guido Landi, a former employee, says, “I would never have joined the Hacking Team.”
Read the full article on Stars & Stripes.