Service concept

Hello world!*

Ticino – in addition to being one of the rivers that crosses northern Italy, is also the river that gives its name to that land that is wedged in northern Lombardy. The stories that intertwine between these two territories are manifold, including that of the writer, that one winter 2018 afternoon gets on a Chiasso – Milan train to take part in a meeting on the GDPR. By now very few have never heard of the EU directive that should protect the privacy of the European citizen and that has filled the websites with popups that we close and accept “practically automatically” without even reading!

Chiasso is the last Swiss town to be found on the north – south axis, a border post, where the Swiss border guards and Italian financiers do their best to fulfill their duty: to suppress unlawful trafficking that, in past years however, they favored both the Italian and the Swiss markets.

That day, on that particular train in the direction of Milan on which I had already taken a seat, the service financier asked me to “sample” the documents (normally they simply pass silently between the seats): nothing to complain.

What really surprised me was the freedom that the man in uniform took, reaching out and opening my document folder that was simply resting on the table in front of me; started flipping through the sheets to see if there was – what? – Open the zippers and then find a letter that years ago a girl of six years (now an adult) drew me and since then I take with me as a fond memory, together with the drawings that my daughter gave me back when I was working in Lausanne .

“What if I had been against this personal search?”
“Then I would have made off the train for questioning!”

A few days later, this writing happened to me; is a passage from article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which reads:

“No one can be subject to arbitrary interference with their privacy, family, home or correspondence …”

I remembered the episode I told you and what – personally – I consider an arbitrary violation of my privacy. With what right can a border guard, representative of a police force, carry out an arbitrary search on a free citizen without having given any sign of being of any legal interest?
(Among other things, I was an Italian citizen who returned with full rights to his home)

That evening, thinking, I felt united to those travelers who – always arbitrarily – are searched by U.S. Homeland Security: A very deep search: Handy, contact list, social networks, documents kept on laptops.

The American journalist and writer Glenn Greenwald has clearly stated in his book “Under control – Edward Snowden and mass surveillance” that these “trawler” surveillance do not contribute in any way to greater “national security” or any other security purpose, but they are actions aimed solely at obtaining useful information from a commercial or strategic point of view at the benefit of U.S. companies.

Just the reading of this last book, even if several years after its publication, triggered this spring in me, instilled this obsessive seed: “No place to hide” but not necessarily “hide” with a negative meaning! For us – human beings born to be free animals – there is no longer a private place, a protected place to be ourselves.

Article 14 of the Italian Constitution reads clearly: “Home is inviolable”; now more than ever, our home is also an insecure place. During the current coronavirus crisis, Michael Ryan, WHO executive director, told Fox: “…authorities may have to enter people’s homes and remove your family members, even by force.”

Even before the pandemic, it was clear to me that it was necessary to look for a place where I could keep the proof of my existence, now fully digital, more secure and inviolable than it was my home.

That same evening I searched the net and was disappointed with the result. What was proposed as “100% secure” presented some points that I didn’t like: From payment by credit card (queen of traceability) to the request for validated e-mail addresses, traffic registration … Registration! All obsessively traced!

That evening I decided to create that corner of the net where to keep my essence and I sat down immediately to draw diagrams, database structures, think about which algorithms to use.

After four months of work I gave birth to the first draft of the protocol which I then called “Integrity Project” and when I saw that my idea came to life, I created the mobile app, the business plan, I opened the first experimental server, now determined to put everything my work available to others.

It was satisfying to see every piece of that idea go to its place in that ecosystem of products that – me and my collaborators – we now offer you on these pages, in the spirit that everyone can find a safer corner of the home network , where to deposit the traces of themselves.

We cannot miss some final technicality that as good programmers we cannot spare you, but we are proud of what we have achieved so far.

The encryption algorithms that we use to protect data are safe from computer attacks with the current computing power; any leakage of information from our data center does not compromise the confidentiality of the data. Only you as users are aware of the secret to open criptex and there is no means on Earth to violate it.

The future speaks of quantum computers; the data deposited and shared is safe today, tomorrow it may no longer be safe: Cryptographers and cryptanalysts are working to conceive and test safe algorithms even from attacks with quantum computers, algorithms that we will implement as soon as they are approved as safe.

A “Hello, World!” program generally is a computer program that outputs or displays the message “Hello, World!”. Such a program is very simple in most programming languages, and is often used to illustrate the basic syntax of a programming language. It is often the first program written by people learning to code.

In 1982, when I was 11, for the first time I’ve seen live a computer. It was an IBM/360; in 1983, for the first time in my life, I’ve turned on my own computer. In 1985 on my desk appeared a mouse and a box with some 5” 1/4 floppy disk. Now I’m about 50; every morning I open the lid of my MacBook Pro, that is n times powerful, faster and smaller than the IBM/360, the VIC-20 and the Apple //c together. But nothing can overcome the emotion I felt entering that noisy machine room, of writing on such ridicolous, small screen and of smelling the plastic of my earlier, outdated, mass memory supports.