Steel fist against whistleblowers

State violence against those who report its crimes can be fierce. Like that towards hackers and whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, Ola Bini and many others. But in Italy a window opens up


Edward Snowden was again sued by the United States. The reason? He would not have respected the non-disclosure agreements in the realization of his book Permanent Record. In addition, the whistleblower, repaired in Russia, is accused by the Justice Department of having held without authorization public speeches on issues related to the agencies for which he worked. The US is waiting to try it for revealing their global electronic surveillance system, Prism.

Julian Assange instead, co-founder of Wikileaks, will remain in prison because according to the judge he could run away. The australian whistleblower should have been released on September 22 after serving his sentence for violating bail when, in order to escape a probable extradition request to the US after disclosing secret documents on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, he had taken refuge in Embassy of Ecuador in London. The US demanded his extradition, accusing him of 18 crimes including the unauthorized disclosure of information on national security and for conspiring with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. Even though Obama’s pardon, Chelsea was arrested again for refusing to testify against Julian Assange.

In August, Anonymous activist Jeremy Hammond was called against his will to testify against Wikileaks. Hammond had hacked private intelligence firm Stratfor Global Intelligence in 2013, revealing its network of informers, payment structure, recycling techniques to hide payments, and psy-ops it led for Dow Chemical Co., the disaster one of Bhopal, and various US government agencies.

Three days ago among the 20 million records relating to Ecuadorian citizens found without protection on a server in Florida, Assange’s data were also found. The dataleak was discovered by the cybersecurity company vpnMentor. The server could be owned by the Ecuadorian consulting and analysis company Novaestrat since he was at the home of his lawyer, William Roberto G. The data includes name and surname, date and place of birth, home addresses, emails and a lot of financial information, including the balance and type of credit of bank customers. Ecuadorian minister Maria Romo thundered on Twitter against the incident.

Maria Romo is the same minister who has worked hard against Ola Bini, the Swedish hacker, a human rights activist who has been working in Ecuador for six years on security software development and who, with Eff, has allowed journalists and activists to gather evidence in a safe manner avoiding illegal government surveillance. Accused of violating computer systems and conspiracy, he was unjustly detained and three weeks ago, in an almost completed investigation and without evidence, accused of other imprecise crimes.

Exactly a month ago, the pro-government press issued false evidence against him to prove a non-existent attempt to access a government server.

Two months ago in Italy the legal proceeding against a young Sicilian hacker, I.C., was archived in spite of the accusations for having disclosed the flaws of an Italian app that wanted to compete with Skype without authorization. The judge has closed the lawsuit because he recognized the ethical purpose of the hacker’s behavior, namely to report a system vulnerability and protect users. For once, Italy makes the path.

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