RealTime IT News

Italy Challenges U.S. on Internet Security

Alarm over Internet security and espionage was launched early this month by Stefano Rodota, a government watchdog for the rights of privacy of Italian citizens and businesses.

Of particularly concern, according to Rodota, is Echelon, an ultra-sophisticated, satellite spy network operated by the United States National Security Agency, which is able to intercept telephone, fax, and e-mail communications from any part of the world.

"There is pressure from businesses, said Rodota, "to purify or sterilize the Internet, so that it becomes a great network where people can enter, as if going into a supermarket. But the Internet is a very large gamble for democracy and I believe that we must work to insure it remains a great forum, with the possibility of discussions, and free access to information."

Currently, Rodota is preparing a report that will be presented to the Italian parliament regarding the invasion of privacy of citizens as well as businesses, including an official denouncement involving what some consider Internet spying by the NSA.

"(The United States) continues to maintain super-sophisticated systems of civilian espionage, dominated by Echelon," said Rodota. "This is a system that escapes all methods of control."

The hope of Rodotas group is to establish acceptable standards for protection of Internet communications and data base networks, among its European partners and global allies. Perhaps the largest obstacle facing such regulation, as Rodota points out, is not the standards, but "establishing which countries will participate in adhering to such standards."