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Posts Tagged ‘ crime ’

Do we need the Snooper’s Charter to save lives?

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Theresa May and the Sun have teamed up to deliver the Home Secretary’s message on the importance of the Communications Data Bill – AKA the Snooper’s Charter – in an interview article that borders on gratuitous with its level of scare mongering.
The Home Offices uses the article to ram home why it believes additional surveillance measures are needed with  a piece headlined “Track crime on net or we’ll see more people die” and littered with emotive reasoning.
“The people who say they’re against this bill need to look victims of serious crime, terrorism and child sex offences in the eye and tell them why they’re not prepared to give the police the powers they need to protect the public,” the piece asserts. “ “Criminals, terrorists and paedophiles will want MPs to vote against this bill. Victims of crime, police and the public will want them to vote for it. It’s a question of whose side you’re on.”
The warning comes as Whitehall waits for a parliamentary committee report into the draft DCB, with many people expecting a negative response and Nick Clegg reportedly ready to oppose the surveillance legislation.
Yet despite calls for clearer evidence on why and how the changes would make a difference, there is again very little actual fact in the claims that the bill would save lives..
In its evidence that the legislation is relevant, the article cites two cases that have been helped using technology, one in which a child pornography ring was partially brought to justice because of IP addresses being identified, and another in which police tracked down a suicide attempt and cut the would-be victim down before he died.
“Cops were provided with the IP addresses of everyone who had been accessing the site and many people were identified from the data and prosecuted,” the example suggested adding that although some were arrested ”others escaped because internet access companies had no record of who had used the IP addresses”.
The second example, has little to do with terror, organised crime or paedophiles, which is apparently the whole point, and the first could have been dealt with under existing laws.
As Big Brother Watch said in its blog on the subject “In this case, it would be proportionate to go to internet service providers and ask for the IP address of any computer accessing the website, and for data to be retained about that use. Those people could be identified and prosecuted without needing to record every website visit of every person.”
IP addresses are already routinely kept by ISPs under data retention guidelines from the European Union that are in effect in the UK. Although not all ISPs are covered by this – and the government doesn’t disclose the list of those that are – it’s understood that larger ISPs are all required to keep the data. The Home Office could quite easily extend that list to all UK ISPs.
For those that are required to keep the data it’s not “random” as the report suggests, but, according the ISP Association, is a legal requirement.
Using IP address information, therefore, really doesn’t go any way to justifying the bill, and in fact if the government really wanted to make its point surely it would be better to highlight the cases where authorities couldn’t solve a case because they didn’t have access to data.
But the confusion over using lack of IP address seems even more bizarre given that over at the Department of Culture Media and Sport, officials have enough confidence in current IP address information to base the policing of copyright protection measures in the Digital Economy Act on IP addresses, it rather begs the question of whether IP addresses are reliable or not – the government appears to want them to both at the same time.Theresa May and the Sun have teamed up to deliver the Home Secretary’s message on the importance of the Communications Data Bill – AKA the Snooper’s Charter – in an interview article that borders on gratuitous with its level of scare maysunmongering.


Theresa May and The Sun have teamed up to deliver the home secretary’s message on the importance of the Communications Data Bill – AKA the Snooper’s Charter – in a scare-mongering article.

The Home Office uses the article to ram home why it believes additional surveillance measures are needed with an emotive piece headlined: “Track crime on net or we’ll see more people die” — and illustrated with a photo of the bus torn apart in the attacks on 7 July 2005.


The plummeting price of stolen personal data

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Falling profit chartHow much is your data worth? You may think that the customer database your business has built is priceless, and individuals probably regard their online data as being rather valuable as well. After all, that’s why we put so much effort into securing it. Unfortunately, the basic economic laws of supply and demand exist within the criminal marketplace just as they do elsewhere.

Which means that our perception of value is hugely over-inflated when compared to the reality of the online underground economy. That reality is that as malware production and exploitation has rocketed, and stolen data has flooded the marketplace, so the price has plummeted to pretty unbelievable lows.


How to physically secure your business hardware

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Laptop padlockThere seems to be something of a misconception, at the smaller end of the business scale at least, that data security is somehow a terribly complex thing that is also expensive to achieve properly. This myth is no doubt massaged just a little bit by small business consultants with one eye on the invoice.

The truth of the matter is somewhat different, of course, and basic data security is neither difficult nor expensive to achieve. All it takes is a little bit of technical know-how and an awful lot of common sense.


Online crime maps are a criminal’s adventure playground

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

So the PM has agreed to the idea of online crime maps to keep the public informed of goings on in their area. It sounds great, doesn’t it: just log on, type in your post code and see a breakdown of all the crimes committed near you this month, compared to neighbouring areas.

It isn’t totally new – Londoners can check their borough already at the Met Police website. And a quick look at the figures shows that – despite the media giving the impression we’re entering a new Wild West of guns and knives – crime in London has been on the decline for several years now.

At the time of writing, gun-enabled crime is down 11.5% on last year; violence against the person has dropped 4.8%; murders fell by 1.9% in the last 12 months and robberies are down a massive 19%.

But according to the papers it’s crime “hot-spots” that are the problem, so a plan like these online crime maps is the ideal way to highlight it, right? Wrong, and to illustrate why, I give you an example of an existing online crime mapping scheme:


Irony alert: South London teens use mobiles in project on tackling violent crime

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Please forgive me for falling into the stereotype trap here, but in my defence I was born in South East London so feel I do have some right to pass judgement on the place. Anyway, the thing is I got this press release today which was bigging up (that’s me trying to be street, or something, and obviously failing) the use of mobile technology as part of a South London college project to tackle gun and knife crime. The LIFEWISE collaboration involves no less than 200 young people from South Thames College as well as six secondary schools across the London Borough of Wandsworth, who were given 200 Vodafone v1615 handsets with unlimited Internet mobile data access to help them work collaboratively on the project.

Very commendable, but am I the only person wondering how many of them still have those handsets? If the reports that hit the headlines only yesterday are anything to go by, then the answer should be 160, as 40 of them are statistically likely to have been nicked during a violent street mugging. The Design Council survey, on which the headlines are based, revealed that 1 in 5 of youngsters aged between 11 and 16 in London had been victim of a mugging where an item of mobile personal electronics (mobile phone or iPod essentially) had been nicked.







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