Hacking Team on the relative morality of their general line of business

From Ars Technica post today. It does make sense in many regards:

Rabe argued that just as the United States and other Western countries routinely sell arms to allied countries like Saudi Arabia, so too should Hacking Team be able to sell its wares as well. After all, he pointed out, more than a dozen of the September 11 hijackers were from that country.

“Do you want Saudi Arabia to be able to track that sort of thing or would you rather have them be able to operate behind contemporary secrecy and the Internet?” he said.

“My point is not really to argue the various dangers of different kinds of equipment but just to say that if you’re going to sell weaponry to a country, it’s a little disingenuous to say that a crime-fighting tool is off-limits.”

Rabe ended the call with a forceful defense of the company’s entire business model, saying that there should be a controlled, appropriate way for governments and law enforcement to breach digital security.

“[CEO David Vincenzetti] started life in what we would call defensive security, to keep people out, and then he realized as more and more of the communications became inaccessible, that there was a need for a tool that gave investigators the opportunity to do surveillance. I don’t think that’s really that hard to understand, frankly. I don’t think any of us are against cryptography, but what we’re against is police being able to catch criminals and prevent crime, that’s what we’re worried about.”

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