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Police Using Spyware


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#1 Noggie

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 10:22 AM

Has the development of the internet reached the point that there are situations where spyware is permissible? Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache examine this issue and whether such 'fedware' will be overlooked intentionally by the products that people online buy for privacy and security:

"A recent federal court decision raises the question of whether antivirus companies may intentionally overlook spyware that is secretly placed on computers by police."

link: Will security firms detect police spyware?
http://news.com.com/..._3-6197020.html

You can imagine that hackers would be celebrating if so-called fedware were allowed. How easy would it be to spoof fedware? It would seem that if security companies intentionally avoid the detection of fedware, then they are opening up a Pandora's box of trouble. Essentially, they will take a major step in undermining their own credibility.

Certainly, law enforcement can cite examples where such spyware would be expedient and protect citizens. However, it is the age old argument - 'does the end justify the mean?' And how will the court of the land look upon a "good intentions" argument? Without doubt, the legal system will lag behind technology - and basic civil rights will be at risk further.

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#2 TheJoker

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 08:09 PM

Another way to look at it, Say there is commercial keylogger "XYZ". If someone were to install it on your system without your knowledge maliciously, and it's detected by anti-spyware application "ABC", how is that detection any different from a case where a police department were to use that commercial keylogger. Same application, one usage is illegal, the other isn't. How can the anti-spyware application tell which installation should be detected and reported and which shouldn't?

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#3 TheJoker

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 10:14 AM

Here's another related story:
FBI remotely installs spyware to trace bomb threat

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#4 hornet777

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 05:18 PM

Frankly, I think the discussion is academic, for in light of the next gen global network being implemented, what we call "internet" now has already been deemed expendible -- after it was declared obsolete.
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#5 screen317

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 10:01 PM

Would you mind clarifying what you mean by "what we call 'internet' now has already been deemed expendible", hornet?

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#6 hornet777

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 11:17 PM

Its called the "global information gateway" or GIG; hardly anything is beig said in the str8 press about it, but it will replace the internet for all military purposes (at least to begin) and will be based exclusively on IP v.6, allowing every military member their own IP address.

Current plans are only to allow those the military deems acceptable risks in, thus ensuring its security, and will probably be where all sensitive things such as financeial transactions, et cetra, take place as well. I learned about it first in an article in the 06-June issue of Electronic Design magazine, wherein they were alerting designers of the possibilities for this endeavour within this realm.

In short, a two-tiered "internet" is already being implemented, after having been planned for some time now. Did anyone seriously think the government would put up with being hacked all the time? Too bad we "mere" citizens don't get a say in it, much less share its benefits, huh. I have no idea how the abandonment of the traditional internet will affect those constrained to its exclusive use, but based upon experience, it probably will be even less fun that it already is. As bad as it is to tell who the "bad guys" (or "good" for that matter) are now, it will be well nigh impossible in short order. So goes the primitive interpretation of "anarchy."
After all is invested in correctness, then how does it stand with truth?

#7 TheJoker

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Posted 23 July 2007 - 08:33 AM

That's Global Information Grid (GIG), and if you can figure out exactly what it is, you'll be doing better than the people working on it.

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#8 Chancellor

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 07:30 AM

A curious legal point occurs to me in relation to this situation.

Hypothetically, lets say the police in country A obtain a warrant to conduct intrusive surveillance against person B and choose to do this by means of keylogging trojans or other such means which to us would be "spyware".

Then let's say person B without necessarily knowing he is being targeted by the authorities simply comes to a removal forum such as ourselves and posts a request for help and we then innocently remove that "spyware" not knowing it is there for an official purpose; could that make us legally liable for charges of "seeking to pervert the course of justice" or some such similar offence?

In the UK, there is an existing offence under Sections 4 and 5 of the Criminal Law Act 1967 of "concealing offences" or "assisting offenders" in the sense of assisting them evade lawful prosecution and although there should always be a test applied as to the motives behind a person's actions, in today's hostile world environment and with the threat of terrorism being ever at the forefromt of people's minds many freedoms are being curtailed and corners cut which is always a worry if our motives were not then taken into account.

Whilst in no way seeking to condone any sort of crime - could we, from the very best of motives end up in trouble somehow for helping?

Just my 2c :D
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#9 hornet777

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 06:26 PM

That's partly my I made the remarks above, Chancellor.

While The Joker might think it clever to dismiss this, it would appear that "we" (people concerned with security issues, in whatever capacity) have already been dismissed. There are many more far-reaching implications to this, that ultimately involve computing in general, methinks.

p.s., yes, its "grid" not "gateway" -- sorry for the inaccuracy
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