Hacking Team claims that it draws the line at customers who commit “gross human-rights abuses” and that it sells exclusively to governments operating within the laws of their own countries. In at least one case, David Vincenzetti, Hacking Team’s founder and chief executive, told a salesman to hold off on a potential Mexican client. “We sell to official, governmental LEAs” — law-enforcement agencies — “and security agencies ONLY,” Vincenzetti wrote in an email. But at other times, a more casual attitude prevailed inside the company. “If one sells sandwiches to Sudan, he is not subject, as far as my knowledge goes, to the law,” one Hacking Team lawyer wrote in an internal email. “Hacking Team should be treated like a sandwich vendor.”

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