One thing that’s clear from reading through the trove of over one million emails from Italian surveillance firm Hacking Team is that its employees despise activists, many of whom have been criticizing them for years about their disregard for human rights.
Christopher Soghoian, the ACLU’s Principal Technologist and an outspoken advocate for privacy and free speech, noticed Thursday that Hacking Team employee Daniele Milan joked about gathering enough Bitcoins to pay for his assassination. His email was dated April 16.
Translated to English, this says:
I’m very tempted to respond, but we would only unleash hell. I think it’s self evident what a inbecile Soghoian is. If I could gather up enough Bitcoin I would use a service from the DarkNet and eliminate him. An asshole of this caliber doesn’t deserve to continue to consume oxygen.
[Update: An Italian reader writes that the third sentence is more accurately translated: “If I gather up enough Bitcoin I will…”; Another reader writes that in the first sentence “a flame war” would be a more accurate translation than “hell”.]
The same day that email was sent, Hacking Team had tweeted an article opposing Bitcoin, blaming the crypto-currency for helping pedophiles hide from the authorities, saying, “This has to be stopped”.
Soghoian (picture above) shot back, asking if Ethiopia was using its Hacking Team malware to go after child porn or journalists.
Hacking Team sells malware to governments around the world, including Ethiopia, which uses that malware to hack journalists that it disagrees with.
Soghoian says he feels “pretty good” about the assassination joke. “I’ve been sad all day since I learned about Caspar,” referring to prominent privacy advocate Casper Bowden who died today.
“This cheered me up. If they are making jokes like this, it means I am doing the right thing.”
Previous coverage of Hacking Team from The Intercept:
- Secret Manuals Show the Spyware Sold to Despots and Cops Worldwide (Oct. 30, 2014)
- Hacking Team Responds in Defense of Its Spyware (Nov. 3, 2014)
- Leaked Documents Show FBI, DEA and U.S. Army Buying Italian Spyware (July 6, 2015)
- Why Did the Firm That Sold Spyware to the UAE Win a Special Export License From State Department? (July 7, 2015)
- A Detailed Look at Hacking Team’s Emails About Its Repressive Clients (July 7, 2015)
- Adviser to Cyber Program at NYU’s UAE Campus Linked to Spy Tech Used to Repress Activists (July 8, 2015)
- Hacking Team Emails Expose Proposed Death Squad Deal, Secret U.K. Sales Push and Much More (July 8, 2015)
Photo: Chris Soghoian (dubfire.net)