A MATTER OF PRIVACY, NOT A PRIVATE MATTER
+++ Highlight:Perhaps we haven't been clear enough yet. We are sorry about that. For a year the police could tap and record the communication of 30,000 people: of all the people using this server.
To be clear, it's as though a whole town as may be Victoria, the capital of Seychelles, had been spied on and controlled.
So this is A MATTER OF PRIVACY, NOT A PRIVATE MATTER.
+++ Summary:+ A PRELIMINARY INTRODUCTION ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON
+ ABOUT OUR SERVICES AND WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN
+ ABOUT THE ACTION AND INFORMATION CAMPAIGN - WHAT CAN WE DO?
+ [A PRELIMINARY INTRODUCTION ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON]
With the connivance of the provider aruba, the postal police has retrieved some files from the hard disk of the server autistici.org/inventati.org, run by the association Investici, and with those files it could possibly tap any communication, including any confidential messages, by around 30,000 users: mailboxes, mailing lists, chat etc. ... to be realistic we can easily assume that that's what they've actually done.
The association was not informed about the facts; all our phone calls
asking for explanations about that down were answered evasively,
with talks about a technical failure.
This behaviour sets a very serious precedent - it's as though the police
had wanted to get information about a particular @hotmail.com mailbox
and, without notifying it to hotmail, they had obtained an access to the
whole content of @hotmail.com
THIS IS NOT A PRIVATE MATTER:
IT'S A MATTER CONNECTED TO EVERYONE'S FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS.
To read more about what happened exactly, read:
+ [ABOUT OUR SERVICES AND WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN]
The services offered by our server will NOT be inactivated. At the moment they are working in unsafe conditions, but as soon as possible we will put in action a "clean" machine and the services will be effective again. Of course, you'll have to change a lot of passwords :)
We believe this episode highlights two aspects. If you care for your privacy, you should see to it directly, using hard encryption systems and raising your levels of paranoia. Austistici/Inventati can try to do its best to protect data, but communication confidentiality can never rely on proxies. In the meantime, if we don't want to be alone with our gpg keys while facing a control structure much bigger than ourselves, we also have to organize a political battle in this field. Nobody can rely on mere technical instruments.
Before realizing the situation, we were already trying to reconsider our communication facilities, so as to have a stronger and more resistant structure and especially to prevent any down or fault; now we are also rethinking the part connected to data confidentiality.
We can expect that between July and September our plan will start yielding its fruits, and then we will invite you to a nice "happening" to tell you the whole story... :)
+ [ABOUT THE ACTION AND INFORMATION CAMPAIGN - WHAT CAN WE DO?]
We would like it to be very clear that in order to protect our privacy the solution is not to go back to commercial servers: in order to safeguard more our data and to protect ourselves from control mechanisms, we have to use technology consciously and critically, never forgetting its limits.
One of the many problems that in our opinion can be easily and quickly solved is the concentration of services around the server of our association or around Isole nella Rete (www.ecn.org). We think that the recent appearance of other projects offering similar services and much more should be exploited to make it harder for those who want to restrain digital and non-digital communication: indivia.net, oziosi.org and other servers offer opportunities as worthwhile and safe (well, we try at least ;) ) as those provided by autistici.org/inventati.org and www.ecn.org.
These days we are trying to sort out how to act in order to obtain a double result: first, mobilizing against aruba and against anyone wishing to trample on the few fundamental freedoms we still have, by informing as many people as possible about what happened. Meanwhile, spreading as much information as possible on the conscious use of technology, especially as regards the topics of privacy and control, while casting light onto the spiral of surveillance, suspect and freedom limitations we are going through.
You can help us in many ways.
a. spread as widely as possible the news on this story. As for us, we are trying to write documents explaining the facts in a simple way. Let us know if our efforts are successful and what is not clear yet.
b. take part in the campaign "boycott the isp that fucks us all" To help you do so, we are preparing a standard withdrawal letter you can send to aruba to break up your contracts [ more exactly to choose not to renew them and to inform aruba (and us, if you wish) that you took this decision because of their behaviour with autistici.org/inventati.org ]. We are also trying to outline, with the help of some lawyers, either some clauses to be introduced in the contracts with the providers, so as to avoid that they access your servers without you attending the process, or a form of contract updating that safeguards more the privacy of your websites and of your computers. Last but not least, we are also creating a collection of banners to let you help us spread our boycott campaign.
c. make out your stickers, graffiti, posters, newspapers articles, discourses to your house council, to inform everybody about what happened and to let as many people as possible get informed and ready to act.
d. keep up to date by following the autistici.org/inventati.org
and italy.indymedia.org websites.