Police given computer spy powers
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  1. #1
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    Police given computer spy powers

    Look at what’s going on “Down Under”

    Police given computer spy powers

    By Rob O'Neill
    December 13, 2004

    Federal and state police now have the power to use computer spyware to gather evidence in a broad range of investigations after legal changes last week.

    The Surveillance Devices Act allows police to obtain a warrant to use software surveillance technologies, including systems that track and log keystrokes on a computer keyboard. The law applies to the Australian Federal Police and to state police investigating Commonwealth offences.

    Critics have called the law rushed and imbalanced, saying police will be able to secretly install software to monitor email, online chats, word processor and spreadsheets entries and even bank personal identification numbers and passwords.

    click here:
    Quite positive they have newer programs by now, however doesn’t this reek of Carnivore?

    http://computer.howstuffworks.com/carnivore1.htm

    Edit: Well the original link died quickly so they must already be at it.

    http://it.slashdot.org/it/04/12/13/1...tid=172&tid=17
    Connection refused, try again later.

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    It's a long way from Carnivore. This would be analagous to the feds robbing your mailbox. Carnivore was more like going to the post office and opening *all* of it.

    The difference between this and Carnivore is that this technique requires the effort to individually place this software on a suspect computer. The amount of power lies in whether this law allows this to be done remotely or only physically. It is theoretically impossible to eavesdrop on every computer in the world with this.

    However, given enough computing power and bandwidth, Carnivore would have theoretically been capable of monitoring every commication on the planet.

    Personally, I don't think this is all that different from the power bestowed by the Wiretap act (or whatever your local equivalent is).
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    Much like Magic Lantern, which I believe has been used succesfuly:
    http://www.msnbc.com/news/660096.asp...21017M32&cp1=1 Refers.
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    Kind of sounds like the software has to be installed by the police on the computer. So using something like a live cd or linux would make it extremely difficult. I'm sure later they will do like the fbi does and hook a little box (computer) up to the computers network (or direct with cross over cable). Or they may want to just invest in a larger capacity key recorder that plugs into the keyboard port with a lock.

    Eitherway, I won't be surprised when microsoft comes out with that little hardware chip that has to be plugged into the computer for windows to boot.
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    Nothing new there. I beluieve this was already happening way before 9/11. You get a warrant and that's it. Look at Scott Peterson. His entire life was wired once he became a suspect on his wife's dissapearance.

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    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    I do not see anything untoward. Technology changes, so surveillance techniques change with it?

    The real question is, do the watchers have to go through "due process" to get permission, and who is monitoring them?............who is policing the policemen?

    It is hardly as if torture is being condoned?

    Or, if you don't like the twenty first century.... go and set up in a commune somewhere..........if you want to live in a society, you have to be SOCIABLE and live by that society's rules? Let's get real folks? the kind of money that is paid in the .gov, .med, .edu sectors is such small pants that they are going to have to employ outsiders to get anyone decent............and they cannot do that. So it is hardly a shift to a police state

    In my view that legislation merely formally acknowledges the technology. The activity has been going on for ages?

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    i love how they are finding loopholes to get around the internet privacy act signed by clinton back in 1995. ill prolly be flamed for saying that, since i havent really researched it. but isnt it still again federal/worldwide law to break into someones computer without their permission as it is; or to spy on them the same. im still new to computer security of the past 5 years so any feedback on this would be helpful in gaining knowledge.

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    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    isnt it still again federal/worldwide law to break into someones computer without their permission as it is; or to spy on them the same
    I don't think so, provided that you are a duly appointed authority, and have a suitable warrant. After all the FBI/Secret Service can break into people's houses and confiscate all their computer equipment.

    Similarly the FEDs can get permission for bugging and wiretaps?

  9. #9
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    Originally posted here by karmine
    <snip>but isnt it still again federal/worldwide law to break into someones computer without their permission<snip>
    Worldwide Law? Under what governing authority? The United Nations?

    Nihil hit it right on the head...this isn't an issue of police abuse per se...it says 'with a warrant'. In a perfect world, authorities would be required to go before a Judge/Magistrate and request permission to perform acts normally illegal (hehe, that sounds naughty), after providing evidence of reasonable suspicion (that terminology is probably different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction).

    Now we all live in the real world, and are aware that abuse of power happens. Not always, and not by or to everyone, but it can and does occur. But this is just saying they have the authority to do these things WITH OFFICIAL REVIEW AND APPROVAL...why is that a big deal? It's like the police in Italy having Lamborghini's (google it yourself)...too many millionaire Italian citizens are outrunning their Polizia Renault's. I'd be more concerned about Carnivore type activities, where it's not necessarily sanctioned or limited to those under proper scrutiny/investigation.

    /* Edit: Sorry, I see this is an older thread, but the point needed to be made IMHO */
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