Gathering Evidence ‘In The Cloud’

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.


US News: UPnP Vulnerable to hackers, Anonymous attacks ‘Operation Last Resort’

Two oldish articles of note over at ZDnet:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.


Downloadable Guns and the 24 Year Old With A Dangerous Idea

Cody. R. Wilson (below), a stolid looking but still fresh faced 24 years old law student from Texas, supports an idea so controversial, that he was recently named by Wired Magazine as one of the 15 Most Dangerous People in the World.

What could this young American have done to warrant such a title?

He is the founder of a not-for-profit organisation called Defence Distributed, also know as the ‘Wiki Weapon Project’ an advocacy group centred around the development of technology and widespread availability of  3D printable firearms.

I have written about the dangers of 3D printing in the past, and the proliferation of an online  physical arms trade as a growing cause for concern. How these risks will be managed if widespread availability of downloadable firearms designs is available is difficult to fathom. However, for Wilson and his supporters who hold a narrowly libertarian view of society,  such concerns are unlikely to hold much weight.


(image source – Wired)

Man Robbed After Dating App Invitation

A man has been gagged and robbed with a firearm after inviting another man he had met  via dating app Skout  to his inner-Sydney home (via The Age). Concerns about geo-locating apps have been noted in the past as facilitating  crimes against the person, and indicates the need for greater caution when using these applications.

Facebook lax on Child Pornography?

Facebook has been criticised for not being vigilant in removing naked / semi-naked  images uploaded by underage users as part of “Naked Selfies” meme pages (Source: SMH).