Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Inadequate training of police forces - collateral damages

A bit ironic but not enough when thinking about Julie Amero's life. If the information is really true, and there is no reason to doubt, this is a scandal both in terms of training of law enforcement officials, and in terms of complete failure for the American criminal justice system to protect the innocent. I am not surprised though; I studied the system enough to know that plea bargaining is a powerful tool and that the US Supreme Court's conditions are insufficient to guarantee fairness in the process. The ECHR has a more humane approach.
and by the way, not all charges were dropped as PB done

"Connecticut Finally Drops Charges Against Julie Amero" (24 November 2008)

US - China - computer attacks

Don't know if the US report should be completely trusted. A few things certain: China built the great firewal; it can do much more than that. Given the pressures it put on ISPs and Google like to give away details of dissidents, no doubt similar pressures can exist against Governments.
"US easy target for Chinese cyber-spies, says report " (25 November 2008)
For the report itself, see US Congress report especially p. 291 et s.

Thus that the two former candidates to the White House may have been targeted by CHina, is far from impossible. "Obama, McCain Cyber-attacks have Chinese Origins?" (17 November 2008)

"China denies hacking US politicians' computers" (ZDNet.uk, 13 June 2008)

Better educated children, less victims?

So many conflicting reports about the influence of internet on children and adults that I do not know if this one must be trusted either. I disagree with the idea that the internet cannot have a negative impact. No later than a week ago, a teenage girl escaped from home and met a man met through msn, paedophile presenting himself as a 16 years old...
on the other hand, the message that on the net you cannot know who the other person is really and that one should be more wary about one's privacy, may start to come through?
"As Internet Usage Grows, Sexual Offenses Against Kids Have Decreased" (21 Novembre 2008)

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Second Life - for the best or the worse?

Three interesting uses or outcomes about Second Life - will write later about it as I am a middle of a research on it for hate crimes

"Other Tools Terrrorists Might Use: Voice, Pencils, Fax Machines, Email, Mobile Phones, Etc." (27 October 2008)

"That Was Fast: Woman Arrested For Virtual Murder Of Virtual Husband" (23rd October 2008)

"Well, At Least Second Life Won't Need A Gov't Bailout" (20 October 2008) because it has already crashed? "No, Second Life's Bank Crash Did Not Predict Real World Bank Crash" (26 November 2008)

Online services and police work

I personally don't see what they are worried about. Crime statistics about areas are already available on the web. Is it because police and Government would have to rethink their crime control strategy and be a bit more efficient?
"UK Police Worried About Online Crime Maps" (24 Otober 2008)

Filtering and ISPs' role

Along the lines I argue, that ISPs should not enforce public policies as cops unless they have the same duties, and also only after we have rethought enforcement policies.

"Why ISPs Shouldn't Be Copyright Cops" (20 October 2008)

"Belgian Court Realizes That ISPs Shouldn't Be Forced To Block File Sharing" (27 October 2008)

"Woman Sues MySpace For Taking Down Her Page" (27 October 2008)

Espionage and Hacking: just updates

Nothing new but targets make it interesting.

White House email archives targeted by hackers (10 November 2008)
Sarkozy falls prey to bank hacker (France) (21 October 2008)

Online Criminals Move On To Corporate Espionage (13 November 2008)

DDOS and amended CMA

At last the amended version of CMA by Police and Justice Act 2006 comes into force on 1st October 2008. The delay is inadmissible when considering the threats and the potential for a different outcome than in the Lennon case.
DoS and distributed hacking tools finally criminalised (14 November 2008)
For the official text, http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2008/uksi_20082503_en_1

Filtering and censorship - updates

It's quite trendy to filter internet contents. Apart from freedom of expression concerns, it's quite a never ending task and probably an impossible one given the breadth of information on the internet, unless one builds the Great firewall like in China and employs thousands of people filtering.

Australian ISP Agrees To Filter... Just To Show How Stupid It Is (19 November 2008)

Perhaps Turkey Should Just Ban The Entire Internet (27 October 2008)

Saudis Crowdsourcing Internet Censorship (17 November 2008) - only 25 people to filter)

and the ironic result of what filtering can mean in terms of economic gain: how China is making some profits by reorientating searches in Google to its own website. "China Says: If You Must Infringe On Copyrights, Use Baidu" (10 November 2008)

Internet Censorship -- Whether By Gov't Or Parents -- Has Downsides (12 November 2008)

and the funny interdiction to search about some Argentian celebreties, funny and scary though "Argentinian Celebrities Succeed In Forcing Search Engines To Block Search Results On Their Name" (November 2008)

For something slightly different:
German Politician's Plan To Block Wikipedia Backfires... Badly (17 November 2008)

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Cyber-terrorism - possibility of death penalty in Pakistan

At first sight, for us European, it seems a heavy sentence that of death for cyber-terrorism. But it seems that the sentence is tied to a result: causing death of an other person, even it is indirectly by simply allowing access to computers. And death penalty is only an option, the other being life imprisonment. Comparing to the US regime, the US knowing also death penalty for murder, that is not so unreasonable. Note that Pakistan has not yet signed the Convention on cybercrime (http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/Commun/ChercheSig.asp?NT=185&CM=&DF=&CL=ENG)
"Cyber-terrorism will be punishable by death" (7 November 2008)

Jury duties and new technologies

The way jurors perform their function have not changed for centuries. They sit down, listen, no notes can be taken most of the time, and after a few days or a few months of trial, decide on the case. In a world where writing is now key, where aural transmission of culture and knowledge is inexistent (without images/video, I mean), Lord Judge of Draycote's comments is certainly a viable and valuable one. Yes, childrend and young adults cannot sit anymore to just listen and do nothing else. I would certainly not dismissed its comments on how this inability to listen can affect criminal trials. Now should we change the way a jury trial is conducted?
The fact of listening with no writing is an intrinsic part of an adversarial trial; it is viewed as being the only way to arrive to a fair decision. Introducing writing would certainly modify the process of reaching a decision. But that does not mean the adversarial trial would sell its soul to the devil. Financial trials (complex frauds) are actually hindered by this traditional process and a fair decision cannot be reached. So time for a change? Work from criminologists and linguistics could help understand the impact writing could have.
"Web-savvy young make bad jurors because they cannot listen, says Lord Chief Justice" (7 November 2008) and TechDirt on the same day

Google charged - but on which grounds?

Facts: four kids downloaded on Google a video of when they were taunting a disabled child. Prosecution, in addition to charge the children, contemplates charging Google.
I can't understand on which grounds the prosecution was thinking of charging four executives of Google. Complicity? impossible there is no mens rea and the actus reus is abstention because Google did not download the video but the kids authors of the offences. Conspiracy? impossible as no agreement... Corporate liability in criminal law? again makes no sense.
Thus the initial magistrate who rejected the case (not a trial decision if I understood well) is probably right. I wish I could speak Italian better to research a bit on this
"Italy Moves Forward With Plan To Prosecute Google Execs Over Online Video" (7 November 2008)

Friday, 7 November 2008

Police investigation - use of websites..

for the use of Craigslist (http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites) by police forces Police Realizing "Craigslist Is A Resource, Not A Problem" (5 September 2007)
On a reassuring outcome, thanks to traditional methods of detecting crime, "Yet Another WiFi-Borrowing Criminal Caught" (7 November 2008)

and Craigslist Pressured Into Policing Ads For Prostitution (6 November 2008) which I personally find problematic because Attorneys Generals are not the judiciary.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Avatar, copyrights and money

Not at first sight a criminal law problem but nonetheless related. To ask for copyrights for art copied to create an avatar; what about the reverse?

Artist Demands $500 From Guy For Using His Image As An Avatar (November 2008)

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Takedown notices - recurring issue

THis is a recurring theme: private enforcement of the law instead of courts deciding if it is worth taking down, even temporarily. Maybe time to think about allocating courts to those matters?
Facebook Using DMCA Notices To Takedown Private Videos? (30th October 2008)

Second Life - Real economy on virtual property?

Second Life hit by the financial crisis? yes, well possible because the so-called virtual currency of LInden Dollars has nothing virtual but it's name as long as you can exchange it against US Dollars. Now that's interesting because what about Second Life regulated by the FSA or the European agency that may be created? and what about bankruptcy laws???
On Second Thought, Maybe Second Life Does Need A Bailout, (30th October 2008 - Tech Dirt)

New offence?

Unless handling can be applied, which I doubt it could as there is no items held in hands in the traditional meaning of the word; or unless money-laudering laws apply, we are left with a gap for something which is clearly illegal. So new offence to think about?
Cybercrime takes to the cloud (3 November 2008)

French Bill on piracy

Due to an article I need to finish, no time to investigate this and read the Parliamentary Bill and debates, but it's worth looking at it, especially in comparison with Europen policy
French Senate Approves 3 Strikes Law (3 November 2008)

The French website Juriscom explains a bit more the details of the Bill, although sorry it is all in French. "Lecture au Sénat du projet ''Création et Internet'' le 29 octobre : risposte attendue contre la réponse graduée" 21 October 2008 on Juriscom.net http://www.juriscom.net
The comments from J-L. Fandiari are as follow: the European Commission just voted that no restriction should be imposed regarding rights and liberties without a decision from the judiciary, in compliance with ARticle 11 of the Charter on Fundamental Rights. The French Bill seems to do all the contrary: no judicial decision, only the administrative authority or quango type called HADOPI will serve the notice to offenders; no clear criminal offence refered to by the text; constitutional issues. The latter is definitely interesting as Article 55 of the Constitution forbids an Act to be contrary to European law or any other treaties; thus the judiciary has the right to strike the law down; but then no judiciary is at first instance competent in the Bill; so it will fall upon the Conseil d'ETat the French supreme court for administrative law to decide on appeal/judicial review to settle the issue.

For the Parliamentary procedure, see the Senat website: http://www.senat.fr/dossierleg/pjl07-405.html The Bill has been declared urgent and strangely enough, it is called the "little Act" (petite loi). Is it because it is controversial?

Virtual worlds - real law

Just the beginning of the problems with virtual worlds: why applying real laws and which laws? Tax and laws linked with money, it's easy: those virtual worlds produce real economics, so no point in hiding being the notion of "virtual" world. Next is what about criminal law and criminal procedure? China Sends Tax Collectors Into Online Worlds (3 November 2008)

Security - Convention on cybercrime

THe convention on cybercrime allows for the law to require a minimum of security features implemented by users as a pre-condition to prosecute for hacking... So that for WI-FI, users are required to be cautious could hardly be surprising. However, two things trouble me here: first, it's not the Government which set up the requirements, but the ISPs; certaintly consumers have a contract with ISPs but I find this unilateral change problematic given the indirect consequences it can have on criminal law, even if those consequences are unwanted. Second, to which extend the ISPs are refusing to engage into providing security features, I wonder? because I suspect it is easier to pass the burden of building good security that doing it themselves.
UK ISP Claims It Will Disconnect Any Customers With Open WiFi (3 November 2008)