(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Dennis Yang


Filed Under:
crime, internet, mafia



The Internet Is Making It Hard To Be A Gangster

from the take-the-cannolis dept

One of the Sicilian Mafia's oldest and most steady revenue streams, protection money, called "pizzo" in Italian, is now at risk a new website that now provides extorted businessmen the support with which to stand up to the mob. Traditionally considered a death sentence to stand up to the Sicilian Mafia, Addiopizzo.org, which means "Goodbye Pizzo," voluntarily lists 230 businesses who openly defy the payment to the Mafia. There is safety in numbers, and the tide of pizzo payments is indeed starting to turn. Perhaps what the website organizers should offer next is the ability for the pizzo-paying business owners to list what they are each paying for "protection." That way, perhaps they can lend some transparency to the Mafia's business. After all, why pay 500 euros a month if your neighbor is only paying 100 euros a month for his "I-hope-nothing-bad-happens-to-you" policy? Or, perhaps, once again, the web has brought an end to an outdated business model, and the Sicilian Mafia needs to adapt with the times. From spam to porn to gambling, the Internet is rife with shady schemes in which the well-organized gangster can participate.

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  • icon
    lavi d (profile), 15 Jan 2008 @ 11:06am

    Suggestion...

    How about an AudioPizzo to keep track of the people who pay "protection" to the RIAA upon receipt of file-sharing subpoenas?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shun, 15 Jan 2008 @ 11:20am

    It's called recording industry vs. the people

    Ray Beckerman's site lists most of the on-going litigation in this field. Check groklaw, as well. #1 beat me to it, but I was going to say:

    The gangsters are leaving the mafia and joining the MAFIAA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      DittoBox, 15 Jan 2008 @ 2:23pm

      Re: It's called recording industry vs. the people

      As much as I hate to say this (and I'm not defending the MAFIAA) the MAFIAA does not threaten your life or the lives of your children.

      Monetary and financial extortion is terrible, yes, but extortion with the threat of physical violence is that much worse. Don't confuse the two.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2008 @ 11:21am

    Old news.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dave, 15 Jan 2008 @ 11:32am

    An updated business model

    Old: Pay up or we will trash your store.

    New: Pay up or we will trash your web site.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2008 @ 11:43am

    What happens when quite a few of these 230 businessmen start turning up in the obituary page of the local newspaper?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Monarch, 15 Jan 2008 @ 12:02pm

    Is that site for businesses in Europe or the United States? From what I read of the article the businesses were in the U.S.A..
    Now if that is the case, why would we have an analogy based on the Euro instead of the Dollar? Has the U.S. Dollar fallen so much that the Euro is completely taking over as the dominant currency in the World?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      awlzac, 15 Jan 2008 @ 5:42pm

      "Has the U.S. Dollar fallen so much that the Euro is completely taking over as the dominant currency in the World?"

      ...yeah, basically.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jan 2008 @ 12:41pm

    My money is on the gangsters. They can pay some 'smart kid' to figure out the 'web thingy' for them, and I'm going to have to agree with post number five for the rest.

    I know I'd be pulling my name from the list if my neighbors (who were also on the list) started suffering from their sudden lack of protection.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sea Man, 15 Jan 2008 @ 12:50pm

    Fuck the mafia

    "Fuck the mafia"

    'cuz I can safely say that here ;-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Danny, 15 Jan 2008 @ 2:13pm

    i don't get it

    What I don't understand, from the Mafia's point of view, is why don't they just kill a couple of the people at the top of the list? Wouldn't that scare others to drop their names off the list? [I note that this, of course, is not ethical - but it is what the Mafia does.]

    That is to say, why in this case does the Internet make the Mafia's protection racket an outdated business model?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Captain Nemo, 15 Jan 2008 @ 2:45pm

    Even the mafia has honor- The MAFIAA, although it isn't killing people, is specifically NOT killing old ladies and children, if you catch my drift.
    Also, Anon... Why don't you make up a tag? Right now, I don't know how many people you are. :-(

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Nick, 15 Jan 2008 @ 3:23pm

    The Russian Mafia

    The Russian mafia has actually been engaging in online protection rackets for quite some time-they will hack eCommerce sites and force the owners to pay protection or release the compromised information (usually credit card numbers), or they will denial of service attack websites who do not pay.

    http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Past-News/Russian-Mafia-Net-Threat/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    paroch, 16 Jan 2008 @ 3:14am

    @Monarch

    Mate, the article specifically listed the Sicilian Mafia...
    I mean, i know that most of the world is "Here there be dragons" for people in the US, but still...

    For americans - Sicily is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, part of Italy, which is a country in Europe.
    Italy is part of the EU, and so it's monetary unit is the "Euro".
    That's where the analogy comes from.

    Also, yeah, the euro has pretty much replaced the dollar as the "strongest" currency for quite a few years now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Texpatriate, 16 Jan 2008 @ 5:55am

    @paroch

    The "mafia" - in the usually accepted sense of the term - in the United States consists mainly of Sicilian immigrants and their descendants. Therefore, the "Sicilian" Mafia could apply here. Thank you, though, for the geography and economics lesson, even if not all of us needed it.

    That being said, if anyone bothered to visit the website, which is multilingual (even though following the link takes you to the *English* version), it clearly states that it all began in Palermo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Danny, 17 Jan 2008 @ 5:55am

    Lawsuit

    The mafia will just pull an RIAA (now those are real gangsters) and suit that site for copyright infringment. Infringing how you ask? Since when do gangsters need a real reason to bully people?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2009 @ 6:53pm

    Do you guys not realize that by even searching and looking at this website/blog you will be tracked by the authorities. !!!
    I dont giv a shit i dont hav nout to hide !!!

    Im guessing real gangsters are too busy robbing/raping/stealing/extornating/etc/ect to even notice about my bad spelling !!! Before u all comment HA HA

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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