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back to article Operation Ore was based on flawed evidence from the start

Britain’s biggest ever computer crime investigation, Operation Ore, was flawed by a catalogue of “discrepancies, errors and uncertainties”, disclosed reports of two national police conferences seen by The Register reveal. The police memoranda show that within months of the operation launching in April 2002, detectives who …

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Boffin

flawed evidence ?

The flawed evidence relying on Credit Card receipts that the perps could claim were stolen over the Internet. What they should have done was tag the images with digital signatures and use the presence of such images on the perps hard-drive in evidence ..

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Fail troll fails

Anybody with the most basic knowledge of browsers knows that, firstly, they cache pages for fast loading. This is a feature from the dark days of 28.8kbps modems where pages with pictures took upwards of 30 seconds to load. Caching made sure that the page was available quickly next time.

Secondly, anybody with the most basic knowledge of browsers knows that they load the whole page requested, and there's no way of knowing the content of that page until it is requested. The top of the page could be My Little Pony Play Ground Adventure Ride for 3 - 5 year olds flash game, the lower portion (which you wouldn't scroll down to if you only wanted to play the game) could be all manner of horrific content. This goes without saying that scripts, single-pixel forced size images, pop ups, pop unders, frames, cross sight scripting, flash, blaa blaa blaa which can load images into your web cache without you noticing.

The mere presence of images in itself is not an indication of meaningful perusal of such content any more than walking by a TV in a shop window showing a car chase is an indication that you are a car thief.

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Unhappy

Sigh

i can't imagine why the police are treated with suspicion and fear these days as opposed to being respected like when I were a lad?

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@ sigh

Wait let me fix your statement

<sarcasm on>

i can't imagine why the police are treated with suspicion and fear these days as opposed to being respected like when I were a lad?

</sarcasm off>

There fixed it!

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Think of the....

Think of the children.

Think of the children who may never believe a parent was not in fact a paedophile, however much that parent may continue to protest their innocence.

Think of the children who may have been given a good kicking by their dear friends in the playground for being from one of 'those' families.

Think of the children (I have no evidence or data, I admit) whose parents may have been unable to continue their relationship because one of them was 'a paedophile'.

Think of the children who may have been taken into care.

Think of the children who suffered because a !@#@!$ great big rock was pushed down a hill for reasons that seemed good to those who pushed it, but were unlikely to be mowed down in its path.

Think of the children - and ask what should happen to a system that appears to have comprehensively condonded and concealed flaws of evidence and process and the contrary opinions of those inside that system.

Think of the children - and then ask your local Chief Constable, your local Member of Parliament, your local 'bloke down the pub' whether it was worth it.

And when they tell you it was, because no matter how many were improperly pursued, there was a good chance one or two actually guilty of the activities in question were caught, think of yourself. Ask yourself if you agree - but before you answer -

Think of the children.

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In north amercia one profession is frequently at the forfront of family abuse statistics

I don't know about the UK, but in North America one profession is frequently at the forfront of family abuse statistics.

Just usually the don't abuse them while on the job, being paid by taxpayers, and with the aid of crown prosecutors and opportunistic politicians and district attorneys.

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Unhappy

Well given the US disgust

with the way UK plod clodhopped all over their carefully gathered evidence, and their subsequent decision to be very careful as to what they share with the UK, it's inevitable that some guilty will go unpunished.

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@Gordon 10

"The worry that real Paedo's now have grounds for appeal, release and compensation."

Pray tell, how do you know which are the ones who are guilty yet acquitted, and the ones who are actually innocent? By definition, acquittal is innocence of wrongdoing through lack of evidence.

I'm under no illusion that the system is perfect, and has no hope of successfully prosecuting 100% of criminals, but It certainly scares me far more that there's the potential for innocent people to be prosecuted than a scarce few may be released mistakenly, and I'm not specifically referring to any type of crime here. To think any other way begs for all people to be tagged monitored, and imprisoned "just in case", and that's a police state.

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Re: Well given the US disgust

Indeed. It's also inevitable that some of the innocent will have their names dragged through the mud, lives ruined beyond repair. Once happy homes will be broken, intelligent and employable people will become workplace kryptonite.

The innocent suffer, either way.

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<sigh> Grow up and learn to read Mr Anon coward

Considering the flawed evidence (actually lies) from the US investigator who faked the portal page.

No doubt the perfection of the US legal system prevented any innocents from being targeted?

Lets face it in the US anybody who is NOT rich & white who pleads non guilty is completely fucked.

Due to the plea bargain culture many US citizens believe that anybody brought before the courts must be guilty, after all (who would plea bargain if they where innocent and) the conviction rates say so. The prevalent view really is you are blamed for wasting the courts time if you plead not guilty and will be punished to the maximum extent.

At one point due to the number of UK citizens who accepted cautions (/me waves Pete Townsend) the operation was considered a great success at the time.

Considering the number of people in the UK who accepted cautions (without realising (or it being fully explained) that they where essentially pleading guilty) because their credit card details where found on a porn gateway (which (ironically) was only created to comply with US legislation)

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Carefully gathered?

From the description of the actions of that Dallas detective, it sounds more like carefully fabricated evidence.

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Disagree

Regardless of whether it's too many innocents getting punished or too many guilty (in fact, not necessarily in law) going unpunished both are signs of the justice system not working properly.

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The real child abusers were never in the dock

The real child abusers were never in the dock.

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WTF?

Why the downvotes ?

I was just trying to say that it's pretty certain that as a result of the mishandling of OO, there will have been people who should have been charged that weren't. Why is that so bad ?

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How many children were saved?

The thing that seems to be missing from all the reports I see about this is how many children were taken from abusive situations, and how many people were jailed for abusing them. Did this exercise in police arrogance and abuse actually help anyone anywhere?

One thing I do know for certain is that I shall never help the police in their enquiries -- because it is evident, from this and the various abuses carried out under the guise of "anti-terrorism", that they are no longer interested in upholding the law or protecting anyone.

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Anonymous Coward

Why You Shouldn't Talk To The Police.

"One thing I do know for certain is that I shall never help the police in their enquiries -- because it is evident, from this and the various abuses carried out under the guise of "anti-terrorism", that they are no longer interested in upholding the law or protecting anyone."

Here is a really interesting talk on this subject.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=97484157416073610#

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Unhappy

A quick look at your name...

... is all the information needed; Your video is Norfolk 'n' Goode. The very first six words of the first image in the video are "In Praise of **THE FIFTH AMENDMENT**..."

This is the UK. We have no ratified Constitution, and we have no Amendments to it. Our officers do not state at arrest that evidence can and will be used *against* you in a court of law. They say "If may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything say do may be given in evidence."

This is not America. The advice is not pertinent here. If you are put in a situation where you are formally questioned by police, ask for a court appointed legal representative and do not answer any questions except to confirm your identity. If you're asked further questions, reply (if applicable) "I'm very sorry, but I've not been in this situation before. I don't feel comfortable answering questions without first speaking to a solicitor.'

TL;DR: That video's useless to Brits.

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@The Original Ash

I wouldn't say the video is useless to us Brits. The ideas involved should make one think about giving evidence to the police and how/when/whether to answer their questions. As legal advice, you're right, it's useless -- but as something to bear in mind it's a good explanation of why saying anything can get you into trouble. In fact, tack on your advice to make it country specific and it's worth a watch.

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Video

Still great fun, though.

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Up to a point

The problem with the US advice is that it is only half right for the UK. Yes: it is absolutely true that talking too much to the police in the early stages of questioning could well damage any form of defence you try to run at a later date. So the obvious advice is NOT to talk to them.

Unfortunately, not talking may also damage your defence at a later date. That is because if you have an innocent explanation for your actions and that explanation is not forthcoming until long after you had a chance to give it, there is a good chance that a smart prosecutor will argue that it was concocted between you and your Defence Counsel after the event.

<sigh>

Damned if you do: damned if you don't.

Also complicating is that for some offences, the duty sol will be well out of their depth, and advise individuals to plead one way or another without really understanding the depth of the law they are dealing with. I'd guess the best possible way forward is to say something along the lines of above, stating you'll answer questions fully as soon as a sol arrives - and then use your phone call NOT to get someone from the local roster, but to phone a friend and to ask them to find a dedicated lawyer (i.e., an expert in the law you are deemed to have breached) to turn out.

jane

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perjury?

No longer a crime for the police and associated agencies.

The prime characteristic of a police state is that the police are not themselves subject to the rule of law.

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An individual officer

Often an individual officer does not need to perjure himself when the system of officers can perjure itself. No human can be found to have lied, but the false information can still make it to the jury.

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With all the signing and testimony

Someone has to certify the evidence and others had to sign to maintain the chain of custody.

There will have been lots of individual perjury and obstruction of justice, and lots of evidence of it in paper work and court transcripts.

It doesn't matter. Criminal law on perjury doesn't apply to police or crown witnesses due to established custom, and while that is not in writing anywhere, newspapers in common law countries are full of the precedents.

Remember that if you are called to serve as a juror.

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Anonymous Coward

Trauma Consultant...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/yorkslincs/series6/computer_doctor.shtml

The trauma consultant appears to have been particularly badly treated. The above link dates back to 2004, but has an interview with him. Well worth a read.

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Anonymous Coward

...another website to view...

http://ore-exposed.obu-investigators.com/The_Grout_Case.html

I have no idea of how accurate this website's information is, but it's certainly something to consider alongside the previous BBC page...

The consultant appears to have been totally obstructed by the Humberside Police whilst trying to defend himself...

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Anonymous Coward

Stolen credit cards?

You will get you arrested, and your computer seized if:

* Someone uses your stolen credit card details to access child porn

* A hacked website contains hidden/embedded link to child porn

* Spam sent to you contain child porn

* Someone hacking into your computing and access child porn

* Some file sharing software can access child porn on behalf of someone else.

* Someone just makes malicious allegations against you

* An underage kid texts/emails you explicit images by mistake

* You have revealing baby photos (you abuse yourself by just looking at them!)

Lock-up the pedophiles, but don't try to incriminate the innocent just to make law enforcement look good. They seem to be doing the complete opposite.

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Coat

Python-esque

I suddenly learn that Monty Python is a documentary, not comedy...

Right, I'm on my way - no need to shove!

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Thanks to Duncan Campbell and The Reg...

...for continuing to cover the Ore scandal. This is such a huge travesty of justice that surely one day justice will finally be done and those in the Police force who so wilfully perverted the course of justice will eventually be held to account, made to explain their actions?

In the meantime,The Register remains one of the few brave media outlets prepared to openly revisit and question this worrying story time and again in the interests of truth. Thanks for having the balls to stand up and do your jobs as journalists when so many of your colleagues in the national media refuse, or fall short of their duties to their readers.

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No

Sometimes justice gets done but the coppers involved get promoted.

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WTF?

Vigorous moderation

25% of posts "deleted by moderator"?

Is this one frothing commentard or a real hot-button issue?

G.

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abc and/or 123

Probably "for legal reasons".

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Interesting

That mine was posted long enough to get a reply then deleted. They must have reviewed it twice.

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Meanwhile...

... the real victims of Operation Ore, ie the innocent people who were coerced into accepting Cautions (effectively admitting guilt for something they didn't do) are still suffering the shame and damage to their reputations that this witch hunt has caused.

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Grenade

Just make wrong doers apologise publicly(?)

Surely it would be OK if everybody responsible for the injustice apologised publicly on prime time TV - every police officer involved in the case (not a particular individual, their collegues for going along with it, everyone, possibly every officer if necessary) - and their management (who obviously would be involved because of poor management practices) - and ministers with any relevance ("any" in the broadest possible sense) and the Prime Minister(s) (at the time and all during dodginess because these sort of cases go on for a long time)

And I mean that the TV advert time be paid for by those featured apologising, not the tax payer who had already paid for the apologisers to commit the injustice.

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As long as you include

...all the racketeers from the 'child protection' industry who were so quick to tailgate the Ore sensation and attempt to make capital out of it for their own agendas.

I recall the two very wel-known choldren's charities seemed especially vocal on the issue at the time and both did their bit to stake their claim and mark out out their territory - which must have paid off nicely as Ore rolled out and the £multimillion CEOP, as a direct result of the subsequent hysteria, was created - which then handily 'partnered' with such organisations.

Every moral panic needs it's useful idiots. Ore seemed to have no shortage of them.

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RE: ..apologised publicly on prime time TV - every police officer involved ...

NOT GOOD ENOUGH SIR!!

I, for one feel that these slimy bastards ought to be thrown into the most vile dungeon, and WELD THE DOORS SHUT!!!

They should NEVER see the light of day again for the remainder of their miserable lives.

They should be fed urine and excrement.

FAIL, because that is what the justice system has done to many of those charged.

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Happy

interesting

*lots* of deleteds. Rude, unsupportive or just grossly offensive.

I agree that *had* this investigation been properly run tagged images with embedded (steganographic?) identifiers would have been found on the PCs of *real* culprits.

But then a *proper* investigation would have picked up the *faked* home page "proving" all subscribers must have known they were getting CP.

However that might not have played so well in the media as "15 people in UK buy *lots* of CP with hundreds of stolen credit card details"

Not forgetting the ever calm tones of CEOP predicting Paedogeddon on the streets of the UK.

BTW Is this The Duncan Cambell? I thought he'd retired years ago.

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Misquoting by the Met?

"Better twenty innocent men be jailed than one pedophile go free."

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