Part II: Hacking Team vs. Jacob Appelbaum

After last Tuesday’s RSA Conference panel on cyber-surveillance wrapped up the fireworks continued off-site at a nearby hotel. Big thanks to Jen from Rapid7 who helped produce the “after-party” which we filmed in its entirety.

Alberto (L) and Eric Rabe (R) of Hacking team.

Alberto (L) and Eric Rabe (R) of Hacking Team.

Our breakfast club included Eric Rabe and Alberto of Hacking Team, Jacob Appelbaum of Tor, Kurt Opsahl of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Claudio Guarnieri of the Honeynet Project, and Bloomberg reporter Michael Riley.

It was a surprise that Rabe and Alberto of HT would subject themselves to even more vociferous challenges by Appelbaum, Guarnieri and Opsahl. Made us wonder why they showed up. Is HT trying to burnish its image? Make overtures to the human rights community? Show the security industry its respectable?

The conversation continued where the panel left off: use of HT’s commercial surveillance tools by repressive regimes such as the UAE and Morocco, corporate responsibility for end-uses, the ethics of selling intrusion tools to questionable governments.

As Appelbaum said, “Everyone thinks they’re doing the right thing.”

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“No one thinks they’re doing the wrong thing,” Jacob Appelbaum said.

To which Rabe replied, “Who’s going to be the decider… you, EFF?”

A discussion between Opsahl and Rabe actually seemed to start finding some common ground between HT’s and EFF’s positions — that HT would be open to some form of government regulation.

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Eric Rabe, Hacking Team and Kurt Opsahl, EFF. Would new regulations help control cyber-surveillance software?

We’ll be watching to see if that discussion continues.