In Praise Of Psion
  • Psion encryption

Date: 26 Jul 2007 17:24:29 +0700
From: Timothy H.D. Williams [on The Digest]
Subject: Psion encryption

I didn't know about this - it's old news, going back to 2003 - but a
friend mentioned it to me this morning over a coffee:

Dated May 21, but worth mentioning: Italian police say they've been
unable to read PGP-encrypted files stored on Psion PLCs by members of
the Red Brigade. Much of the article is spent detailing the use of
PGP by human rights groups, and has quotes from Phil Zimmermann
defending PGP and crypto. InfoWorld seems a little unsure on the
availability of PGP for the Psion, but there's a version available
here that seems to support most Epoc models.

The Psion devices were seized on March 2 after a shootout on a train
travelling between Rome and Florence, Italian media and sources close
to the investigation said. The devices, believed to number two or
three, were seized from Nadia Desdemona Lioce and her Red Brigades
comrade Mario Galesi, who was killed in the shootout. An Italian
police officer was also killed. At least one of the devices contains
information protected by encryption software and has been sent for
analysis to the FBI facility in Quantico, Va., news reports and
sources said.

The software separating the investigators from a potentially
invaluable mine of information about the shadowy terrorist group,
which destabilized Italy during the 1970s and 1980s and revived its
practice of political assassination four years ago after a decade of
quiescence, was PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), the Rome daily La
Repubblica reported. So far the system has defied all efforts to
penetrate it, the paper said.
Italian investigators have been particularly frustrated by their
failure to break into the captured Psions because so little is known
about the new generation of Red Brigades. Their predecessors left a
swathe of blood behind them, assassinating politicians, businessmen
and security officials and terrorizing the population by "knee-
capping," or shooting in the legs, perceived opponents. Since re-
emerging from the shadows in 1999 they have shot dead two university
professors who advised the government on labor law reform.

? InfoWorld,

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