As publicity coups go, this one is not what most security startup vendors dream of. The amiable founder and CTO of Switzerland-based Wabisabilabi, Roberto Preatoni, has been arrested in Milan over alleged spying charges that relate to a complicated wire-tapping case from his days as a Telecom Italia penetration tester.

From what we can tell, the charges have nothing to do with his security vulnerability auction company, though they obviously stop him running the outfit until the charges are read out by a judge, which we understand will be tomorrow morning, November 7th, in Rome. After that, the company will make a public statement on the matter.

Now I am beginning to grasp why Preatoni was so keen to run his Wabisabilabi business from Switzerland, only a few kilometres from the Italian border. Why not run it from Italy, I asked? Italy was a legal minefield for a business selling security vulnerabilities to the highest bidder, came the reply.

I’ve got no qualification to judge the charges from a country whose history gave us the word “Byzantine”, but I warm to Preatoni’s instinctive views on civil liberties and the possible misuse of technology by the state, of which you can read more of here.

Let's see how this develops.