Wednesday, 27 February 2008

the law and cybercrime: an illusory pursuit?

Not a new debate I am afraid. Yes the law is behind technology, but has not law always been behind innovation? The question is more likely: can the law adapt to innovations or can it not requiring then new legislation to be enacted? The question is particularly crucial for criminal law as the key principle is that of non-retroactivity.
"Australian High Court Judge Recognizes That Technology Outpaces The Law" (22 February 2008)

Terrorism: imaginative detection or illusory means?

Apparently, the IARA in the US reviews Second Life for potential terrorists. The information seems weird, for how can they know who is behind a character in Second Life; second, what about the other offences committed on Second Life, like blackmail, fraud, drug dealing, probably by now money laundering? "Government Continues To Search Virtual Worlds For Terrorists" (26 February 2008),1000000189,39352920,00.htm

Hacking: preventive manoeuver

An example of hacking, within formal or official circumstances, in order to prove that a system does not work. How does the behaviour comply with criminal law? Motive, whether good or bad, is not intent... "Researchers hack 'tamper-proof' PIN terminals" (26 February 2008),1000000189,39352920,00.htm

Friday, 22 February 2008

Fraud: which offence to go for?

The adventures (?) of a hacker/insider trader in the US: would be funny if at stake were not so much money and many a lack of thinking from authorities "Hacker May Get To Keep Insider Trading Windfall -- Because He Obtained Info Illegally" (18 February 2008)

Tackling cybercrime in the UK and in the US

Need of ressources

The House of Lords tries to put pressure on UK Government, with limited success though. Nothing serious has been done since August 2007, and to wait until next August, knowing the timing of legislation, just means more delays... "Lords inquiry looks again at internet security "(21 February 2008),1000000189,39327039,00.htm

Use of ressources: charging for the right crime!!
use of insider trading laws in the US instead of computer fraud! (18 February 2008)

Censorship and control of the internet by many

The article is clear enougthand echoes Goldsmith's and Wu's book on Who controls the internet?
"China To Disable Great Firewall For The Olympics?" (21 February 2008)

And see Pakistan's attitude "Pakistan Joins The Axis Of NoTube; Screws Up The Internet" (25 February 2008)

Contrast it with Australian attempt to control the internet over child porn "That Didn't Take Long At All: $89 Million Australian Internet Filters Called A Failure" (21 February 2008)

and the issue with Finland: "Finland Censoring Sites Police Don't Like, Falsely Claiming They Contain Child Porn" (19 February 2008)

On the ISPs front, always the same issue "Did Yahoo Delete The Pirate Bay From Search Results?" (18 February 2008)

(08 February 2008) "Chinese Professor Suing Google And Yahoo For Making Him Disappear From Chinese Search"

and the use of tracking system for ads... and maybe one day for other purposes? "UK ISPs To Start Tracking Your Surfing To Serve You Ads" (18 February 2008)

Friday, 15 February 2008

Cybercrime: what is free information?

we've seen it with the theory of post-scarcity economy; but what about academic research? I always maintained research should be available for free but with acknowledgement of authors. It is thus interesting that Harvard takes that path. "Harvard Faculty Agrees To Free Up Its Research" (13 February 2008)

If the EU goes that way, what about theft of IP address? Think about what stealing a postal address is and compare: same issues at stake; not so much, actually IP is worse.
"Is Your IP Address Your Personal Information?" (23 January 2008)

Investigation: police forces and the internet

The negative (and recurrent) view about the need for special forces and more money to tackle cybercrime: (15 February 2008),1000000189,39292863,00.htm?r=1

and more specific problems of investigations: "German Government Struggles To Tap Encrypted Skype Calls" (28 January 2008)

with a US case that could well apply in the future to the UK: "Police Officers Can Search Your iPhone Following Arrest For A Traffic Violation" (22 January 2008)

and an unusual turn to investigatigatory powers related to piracy laws (21 February 2008)

But finally for the positive side of the internet!!! "One Other Thing The Internet Is Useful For: Highlighting Dumb Criminals" (28 January 2008)

and for the use of YouTube (21 February 2008)

Social networking - privacy and crime

"Deleting Your Facebook Profile Isn't So Easy": if you can only deactivate, but details still seen by others, how can ID theft be avoided? TechDirt (11 February 2008)

"Cop Gets Investigated Because MySpace Friend Links To Porn" TechDirt (29 January 2008)

ISPs/hosting liability - noticing - Comparative law

A translated decision from a French law court on December 12, 2007 (Court of appeal from Paris, i.e. an important court because of its location, it gets interesting cases to deal with). Google's liability is at stake as it did not remove promptly the litigious posting:

"That it results from all the above that it is by communicating to the appellants, after having issued a writ against them, the evidences proving [i] their rights in the trademarks of BENETTON group, [ii] the fact that no "Angela Brozzi" worked for this group, [iii] the fact that her face appeared on the Internet under another name, [iv] the fact that the pictures reproduced on the litigious blog were those of a catalogue belonging to BENETTON group, [v] the fact that the non-professional editor hiding himself behind the name "Angela Brozzi" requested to young women, by wrongfully claiming a professional reason, pictures showing them in swimsuit or underwear, THAT the respondents provided the justifications which enabled GOOGLE INC to take knowledge of the manifestly illicit nature of the denounced content;

That GOOGLE INC does not deny the fact that the manifestly illicit nature was established and known, since it had these evidences; that, therefore, it should then have acted promptly to withdraw this information or to render it inaccessible, without awaiting the decision of the first judge; "

For the full decision, see

And for Canada's view on ISPs' liability, see TechDirt 22 January 2008

Friday, 8 February 2008

Post-scarcity and virtual worlds

a November post already looked at this economic theory of post-scarcity the founder of TechDirt often explains and discusses. Another article quite interesting for the implications it could have on cybercrime "Kevin Kelly's Eight Key Scarcities" (4 February 2008)

may not seem related, but I think they are: "More Evidence Of Why Virtual World Economies Are Risky" (6 February 2008)

Cyber investigation and anonymity

Been a long time since I last heard of anonymity; I nearly thought it was a buried issue, but US Government policy seems to stir the matter again. The approach is definitely threatening liberties, plus technically and financially I wonder if it is really viable. Can't police forces be used differently? "Gov't Says Second Life + Online Anonymity = Terrorism" (7 February 2008)

not sure to agree with the comments that other jurisdictions are less protective, unless by jurisdictions the author thought of some particularly problematic countries... "California Appeals Court Supports Right To Anonymous Posting" (7 February 2008)

and "One Way To Reveal Anonymous Posters: Subpoena The Sites They Read" (30 January 2008)

Censorship and ISPs liability

Not a cybercrime problem as such, there is no criminal offence here, but rather a question of liability of ISPs in protecting fundamental rights. Only one person really talks about the Great Wall of China in technology, isolating very effectively the country and questioning fundamental assumptions of the West about the link between economic development and democracy: Goldsmith and Wu in their book of "Who controls the internet?". Note that newspapers tend to keep silent on that issue and yet they should be at the forefront the battle, no?
(7 February 2008) and

Fraud and cybercrime

An timely article for our next class will be on fraud: "Tech helps UK fraud reach a 12-year high" (5 February 2008),1000000189,39292629,00.htm

Idem for this one on identity fraud and Facebook. The social network really is not my cup of tea and I found it more problematic than enhancing communications. "Forget Identity Fraud, What About Facebook Identity Fraud?" (7 Februrary 2008)

Fighting cybercrime: police forces

whereas the UK seems to take the opposite option with the dismantlement of the cybercrime special force, India wakes up to the challenge with training specialised police officers. Obviously 4000 persons is an insignificant number compared to the indian population, but on the other hand, it is not that bad because not even 50% of the country is computer literature. "India to train thousands more cyberpolice" (7 February 2008),1000000189,39292697,00.htm

Hi-jacking and wi-fi

Just to see new avenues to cybercrime: the problems of wi-fi and its current lack of security features rendering it an easy target for criminals. Apart from using the internet for free, there is the obvious danger of accessing important information, manipulating it or using it for fraudulent purposes. "Home workers' online mischief puts employers at risk" (7 February 2008),1000000189,39292704,00.htm