Coinbase Neutrino Acquisition Stirs Controversy and Privacy Concerns
“Two of Neutrino’s executive members oversaw the development of spyware sold to governments and law enforcement and founded Hacking Team”
By Block Society
In 2001, Alberto Ornaghi and Marco Valleri created Ettercap, a program that allows users to conduct man in the middle attacks, such as eavesdropping, password hacking and remote monitoring of computers. Originally an open source code marketed as way for companies to test the security of their network, the Ettercap program served as the basis for a new company focused on selling government suite spyware to governments and law enforcement agencies.
The Milan Police eventually contacted Ornaghi and Valleri to create a Windows driver for Ettercap so the Police department could monitor Skype calls. By 2013, they expanded to 40 employees and operated one of the first companies that sold commercial hacking software to law enforcement. They acquired customers in nearly 50 countries and six different continents.
Their first major product, Da Vinci, “enables law enforcement at federal, state, or local levels to collect heaps more data than the National Security Agency’s controversial PRISM program is reportedly capable of gathering. With Da Vinci, the police can monitor a suspect’s cell phone conversations, emails, and Skype calls, and even spy on the target through his or her webcam and microphone. It’s as if the investigator were standing behind a suspect using their computer.”
“Several executive members of Neutrino, including CEO Giancarlo Russo, CTO Alberto Ornaghi, and CRO Marco Valleri, oversaw the creation and sale of government spyware packages for Hacking Team.“
Jeffries, Adrianne. 13 September 2013. Meet Hacking Team, the Company That Helps Police Hack Into Computers. https://www.theverge.com/2013/9/13/4723610/meet-hacking-team-the-company-that-helps-police-hack-into-computers
Ignatius, David. 7 December 2018. How a Chilling Saudi Cyberwar Ensnared Jamal Khashoggi. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/how-a-chilling-saudi-cyberwar-ensnared-jamal-khashoggi/2018/12/07/f5f048fe-f975-11e8-8c9a-860ce2a8148f_story.html?utm_term=.0c828149a515
Cuen, Leigh. 1 March 2019. Angry Bitcoin Fans Delete Coinbase Accounts to Protest Neutrino Acquisition.https://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-delete-coinbase-neutrino-crypto
Srinivasan, Varun. 19 February 2019. Welcoming Neutrino to Coinbase. https://blog.coinbase.com/welcoming-neutrino-to-coinbase-b3f56171850d