The Italian Ministry of Economical Progress (Il Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico – MISE) has revoked Hacking Team’s licence to export their Galileo remote control software outside of the EU.
The Ministry’s General Directorate for International Trade Policy has previously (on April 3, 2015) allowed the company to sell their software in 46 countries without having to ask for additional approval.
The countries in question were: Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, Chile, Colombia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Etiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Israel, India, Iraqi Kurdistan, Jordan, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Mongolia, Mexico, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Peru, the Philippines, Paraguay, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
According to Il Fatto Quotidiano (in Italian), the criteria that the authorities kept in mind when they gave HackingTeam authorization to export to those countries are unknown.
According to sources within the Ministry, the authorization has been granted after an evaluation by the Advisory Committee for the Export of Dual-use Goods deemed the list of countries “consistent with the public interest at that time.”
The same committee now revoked the authorization – two years before it would expire, on April 30, 2018 – by offering the following explanation: “The authorization is not in the public interest anymore.”
Until the situation changes, Hacking Team will have to ask express permission for every single commercial operation that involves the sale of their Galileo system to countries not in the European Union.
The company has yet to comment on the revocation, as they are still in the dark regarding the reasons why it was made. CEO David Vincenzetti noted that they did not export their software to all of the 46 countries on the list, but didn’t elaborate further.
Il Fatto Quotidiano’s reporter Antonio Pitoni posits that part of the reason for the revocation are the current diplomatic problems between Italy and Egypt, which are tied to the recent death of Italian graduate student Giulio Regeni. Regeni was abducted, tortured and killed in Egypt while he was researching Egypt’s independent trade unions.
UPDATE: This story has been amended to say that Hacking Team can still sell Galileo to countries in the European Union without special permission.