Everywhere you see his face. The hacker in his scary black hoodie, revealed for the first time to law enforcement by the magic of Hacking Team's targeted surveillance tools.
Who is this man? And how did he come to appear in Hacking Team's commercial?
According to leaked Hacking Team emails, the commercial, entitled "Dark Secrets," was filmed in January, 2012. The director, Teo Ross, auditioned two of his friends, Raffaele and Marco.
Teo wrote to Hacking Team in an email dated 2012-01-10:
Raffaele: can work well for the part because he has a particular face. When serious, it expresses severity and a touch of fear (which makes the spot work). When he smiles, it expresses confidence that overlaps the previous state.
Marco: works mainly in the moment of a smile. When serious his features are very influential. But his smile also expresses sociability.
In our opinion Raffaele looks better on camera, but if you don't like either choice, we can organize a more extensive casting call (but do take into account our schedule).
Everyone agreed that Raffaele was the right choice.
Raffaele Bisio really didn't want to be interviewed for this article, but over email I promised him people would understand Hacking Team's conduct wasn't his fault. So people? Be nice.
Motherboard: Lots of folks are curious who you are. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Bisio: I'm Raffaele, from Genoa, 40 years old. (Yes, I'm in my 40s, but I look younger!) I live in Genoa but I work in Turin. I'm a digital art director working at a web agency called Bitmama.
How did you come to be involved in this project?
Teo and I were colleagues in another agency in Turin. We are close friends and sometimes we work together even outside the office.
Years ago, Teo was hired from another agency to work on the HT video. He was looking for some faces for the video, but the budget was really low so he asked for my help.
Another friend and I agreed to be part of the project because we thought it was funny, so we shot some photos. That day I was wearing my favourite black hoodie so the client thought I was perfect for the role. So… I did it.
Before we started, they told us that the software was built to fight crime and terrorists, and for the kind of companies that need to control their confidential information. [Or so] they said…
The day we shot the video I was sick as shit (I had [a bad case of] flu) and the huge ventilator they used to create the right atmosphere did not help.
What do you think of Hacking Team and their surveillance business?
Well, what do I think now about Hacking Team?
I never met [any] of them. At first I was a little annoyed and angry about the situation with them. But now I think they have more and more problems to think about.
We know that we are always surveilled, but there is a limit. There should be a limit. They did something really wrong, and it's right they have to pay for this, in a right way.
What else about me?
I work everyday with computers. I create online advertising campaigns. But I also like "old school" things: I don't have a Kindle, I read only paper books, I like wine (good wine), I like to have BBQs with friends (also with Teo).
I love the sea. I used to live in Sardegna when I was a little hooded puppy. And I dream to go back there in my 50s or 60s, with no computers, no hackers. With just a vineyard and a patio in front of the sea.