The use of cloud-systems for data storage carries with it some unique challenges for law enforcement. Attempts to investigate and gather evidence for digital crimes – particularly content offences like child pornography, raise several issues of jurisdiction, privacy and digital rights. Many challenges include:
- Locating data – which could be across several jurisdictions and may be ‘dynamically’ stored across several servers in different locations.
- Separating data – as many cloud systems run VM-Ware in order to store multiple confidential accounts on one machine, gaining access to just one of these accounts without exposing confidential material of innocent users and possibly conducting an illegal search in the process.
- Not pissing off Cloud Providers – who have an incentive to keep their servers running 24/7 and will avoid any negotiation with investigators which may result in their servers being seized or their operations interfered with.
- Not pissing off consumers – who love privacy, although also do not read terms and conditions very often.
ArsTechnica has an interesting article on how cloud services contractor Verizona has used a contract-out method to scan for and determine content offences on its servers. The provider began this technique in response to the PROTECT Our Children Act of 2008 which mandated that service providers report suspected child pornography. The provider uses a combination of “PhotoDNA” technology supplied by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and third-party to scan uploaded content. Once collected, the provider is required to hand over evidence to law enforcement.
ZDNet has an interesting article on the blackmailing of Singaporean males by “women” in foreign countries who take photos or record the men masturbating / being other wise embarrassing during webcam sex.
This kind of scam is not at all rare, and would appear at least from my observation to be on the rise. There was an Australian case last year of man using a fake recording of a woman to force web cam using males on the other line to perform sexual acts – then he would threaten to use the recording if payment was not made (link on the way).
All courtesy of ZDNet:
- US President Barack Obama signed an executed order yesterday, hinted in his State of the Union address, to crack down on cybercrime. Although, not everyone is convinced.
- The Japanese Police Agency plans to compile a handbook on cybercrime investigations and create more specialist staff position. This follow their enactment of the Convention on Cybercrime last year.
- A proposed Australian Cyber Security Centre will be comprised of 95% Department of Defence staff. Have a concern about this? Well you have very limited ability to comment on these growing changes in line with Julia Gillard’s plans for cyber-reform.
Two oldish articles of note over at ZDnet:
- The US Department of Homeland Security has sent a serious warning in regard to networking devices such as scanners, printers, computers, and routers; which may be at risk due to vulnerabilities in the UPnP or “Universal Plug and Play” networking protocol used. The threat is considered so serious that the Department is recommending users disable UPnP, or risk possible breach by hackers.
- Feds struggle as Anonymous launch ‘Operation Last Resort’ campaign (video below) by attacking Federal government websites and threatening to release government information. The attack appears partly motivated by the death of Aaron Swartz and is driven by a call for law reform.
- The New Yorker has a piece on the vexing questions raised by automated machines – from driverless cars to drones – and how we can “teach them” to act ethically.
- Bloomberg has a free-market argument against restrictive Copyright.
- Wired has an opinion piece by Sally Wentworth of The Internet Society – providing great commentary on the possible changes to international arrangements for telecommunications networks coming out of the World Conference on International Telecommunications. Wentworth’s concerns are very serious, indicating that large telecommunications providers could be undermining open education goals of the internet.
- Foreign Policy has a great piece busting the myths about the ‘Great Chinese Firewall‘ and just how restrictive its reach is.
- A terrifying post on Wired about the risk of sarin chemical weapons finding themselves into terrorist cells in Syria.
- Another Wired piece on Anonymous Spokesperson Barrett Brown’s arrest for hacking Stratfor credit card numbers.