Examples of interactions between Italian justice and surveillance companies

We received by email nine official documents published by italian courts or other italian agencies that illustrate the interactions between Italian justice and surveillance companies. In this article, we explain the content of these documents, and give links to the documents themselves (in italian).

On this website, we usually write about the use of physical surveillance devices (such as hidden microphones and cameras, GPS trackers) by cops in investigations. But in many judicial systems, long-term investigations also involve prosecutors and special judges. In Italy, as we will see, prosecutors often directly purchase services of environmental interceptions (intercettazioni ambientali), which means putting spying devices where you live.

Calls for tenders

Calls for tenders (bandi di gara) are published when a prosecutor office of an italian court is looking for companies that can provide equipment or services to help with investigations or surveillance operations. Companies are invited to respond to the call for tenders if they want to provide the equipment or services to the prosecutor office.

Sometimes, a call for tenders is directly addressed to specific italian surveillance companies. For some of these companies, we were able to confirm that they market physical surveillance devices designed to be hidden in spaces to law enforcement agencies or prosecutor offices. When it is the case, the companies are included in our list of companies and each company name points to the company page on our website.

Call for tenders from the court of Nola (2013)

Download the document : https://cloud.disroot.org/s/8HPK2gNyqyPkX7J/download

Call addressed to : RCS, IPS, CTE International, Area, Radio Trevisan, Sio, Urmet Sistemi, RPC, RIF

The companies are invited to respond to the call for tenders by providing prices per day for various environmental interception services, such as providing equipment for GPS tracking or audio/video recording, or installing the equipment.

Call for tenders from the court of Santa Maria Capua Verde (2015)

Part one (october 2015)

Download the document : https://cloud.disroot.org/s/wPSpfyZ5ExNM3BB/download

Call addressed to : RCS, IPS, CTE International, Area, Radio Trevisan, Innova, Sio, Urmet Sistemi, RPC, RIF

This call for tenders includes a list of services that should be provided by the companies that respond to it. These services are the same as the ones listed in the call for tenders from the court of Paola in 2019 (see below).

Part two (april 2016)

Download the document : https://cloud.disroot.org/s/bmSjJpdbPyB7L9Y/download

This document, published about six months after the previous one, is the result of the call for tenders. Only the companies RCS, RPC, Sio, IPS, Area and Lutech responded to the call. The document compares the offers of the companies, and announces that RCS and Area have been selected by the prosecutor office to provide the requested services.

Call for tenders from the court of Rimini (2018)

Part one (march 2018)

Download the document : https://cloud.disroot.org/s/LXP8oCq7PiSANbm/download

Call addressed to : Area, Innova, IPS, Lutech, Movia, RCS, Sio, GR SISTEMI, Nexia Sistemi, Record.

The prosecutor office invites the companies to submit economic offers for providing services of :

  • Telephone interceptions (intercettazioni telefoniche) : surveillance of phone communications.
  • Telematic interceptions (intercettazioni telematiche) : surveillance of other networks, such as Internet connections.
  • Environmental interceptions (intercettazioni ambientali) : surveillance of spaces through physical devices such as hidden microphones, cameras, GPS trackers. This type of interceptions are our subject of interest on this website.

The document explains that the prosecutor office had contracts for the provision of these services with the companies IPS and Record, but that these contracts expired. So they are looking for a new contract for three years, that would include the rental of the equipment and technical assistance on using the equipment.

The companies are invited to respond to the call for tenders by providing :

  • Documentation about the company, in order to show its technical competence.
  • The price per day for various interception services. For example, they should provide the price per day for :
    • An outdoor GPS tracker without audio/video recording
    • Recording audio inside a vehicle, with or without a GPS tracker, and with or without video recording
    • Recording audio and/or video (in color or black and white) in places other than a vehicle
    • Recording audio and video during the talks between prisoners and their visitors in a jail in the city of Rimini (Casa Circondariale di Rimini)

Part two (april 2018)

Download the document : https://cloud.disroot.org/s/9bJSiipzDBK5CRB/download

This document, published about a month afer the previous one, is a response to questions sent by some of the companies invited to participate in the call for tenders.

Question number 7 shows that during the years 2016 and 2017, environmental audio/video interceptions conducted by the prosecutor office of Rimini were used against 165 targets for a total cumulative number of 3791 days, and GPS tracking was used against 132 targets for a total cumulative number of 3745 days. It should be noted that these surveillance actions are likely to have taken place in the province of Rimini, which has a population of about 340 000 people.

Call for tenders from the court of Paola (2019)

Download the document : https://cloud.disroot.org/s/RSNr25oBYPKbMAp/download

Companies are invited to respond to this call for tenders by providing prices per day for various services. The document includes the maximum prices accepted by the prosecutor office. Examples of maximum prices for environmental interception services include :

  • Between 40€/day and 45€/day for a GPS tracker that can transmit the location data on a mobile phone network.
  • 70€/day for a device able to obtain its own location using the identifiers of the GSM base stations it connects to, powered by a battery for up to 90 days, and that can be hidden inside “suitcases, shoes, clothing, etc”.
  • Between 8€/day and 70€/day for devices able to record and transmit audio.
  • Between 70€/day and 90€/day for devices able to record video.
  • Between 105€/day and 115€/day for devices able to both locate a vehicle using GPS and record and transmit audio.
  • 90€/day for audio monitoring at the jail (Casa Circondariale).

The companies are also invited to offer prices for installation of the equipment. Maximum prices for this kind of services include :

  • Installing the interception equipment : 250€ by day, 400€ by night.
  • Opening a door by reproducing the door key : 1200€ for a classic cynlinder key, 1500€ for double bit and pump keys, 2200€ for high security keys.

Other documents

Price list from the court of Milan (2017)

Download the document : https://cloud.disroot.org/s/GX5marrw6yxEftx/download

This price list, published in 2017 by the prosecutor office of the court of Milan, lists the prices per day that they are willing to pay for a number of interception services. The prices are similar to the ones listed in the call for tenders from the court of Paola (see above).

Contract between the Guardia di Finanza and the company Innova (june 2019)

Download the document : https://cloud.disroot.org/s/AEgR7botnEX7aPx/download

This contract award notice (avviso di appalto aggiudicato) shows that the italian surveillance company Innova was selected by the italian law enforcement agency Guardia di Finanza to provide rechargeable batteries and a battery charger for a GPS tracker of model PR400. The Guardia di Finanza is an italian law enforcement agency that deals with financial crime, smuggling, and defense of the italian borders (see their page on Wikipedia for more informations). The equipment was sold by Innova for 780€.

Contract between the city of Vigevano and the company Innova (september 2019)

Download the document : https://cloud.disroot.org/s/t7yTFmAgNQanDCc/download

This commitment of expenditure (impegno di spesa) shows that three italian companies were contacted by the city of Vigevano to provide a GPS tracking system to be used by the local police agency for investigations. The three companies are :

  • Esitel, which did not answer.
  • “G.R. di Gigli Norberto”, which answered with a proposition that did not satisfy the requirements.
  • Innova, which answered with a valid proposition and was selected. The city decided to buy their GPS tracking system of model PR400 for 2810€ (without IVA, which is the equivalent of the VAT – Value Added Tax).
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