back to article You've been arrested for computer crime: Here's what happens next

It isn't just paedophiles. It is the accountant who thinks he is worth more than the company decides to pay him, and decides to create and pay fictitious invoices. It is the card-cloning gangs buying and selling mag stripes and card dumps. It is the drug dealers who think they are smarter than the police. Or it is just the …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

    "The good news is that if no evidence is found the seized items are returned to the owners. [snip] The hardware will often be returned without hard drives."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Alert

      Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

      But I have a macbook Air and an iMac, are they going to repair my device, replace the hard drive, even if I have not been charged with any offence. Does this also include my Android phone with non-removeable storage >

      1. Sheep!
        Coat

        Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

        "But I have a macbook Air and an iMac"

        That's a crime in itself surely :)

    2. Peter Simpson 1

      Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

      "...the seized items are returned..."

      ...eventually. Maybe. If the owners ask nicely. If the cops can "find" the evidence, which seems to go missing at a rate proportional to it's potential for use in cops' homes.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

      Yes, and if my case was any guide, 2 years later when it was worth less than the cost of it's collection cost

    4. Martin
      FAIL

      Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

      "The good news is that if no evidence is found the seized items are returned to the owners. [snip] The hardware will often be returned without hard drives."

      Hmmm. The [snipped] bit is "The bad news is that can take several months to happen. If illegal images (i.e. child pornography) are found on the disks, they will be shredded and destroyed without exception."

      That's a pretty vital [snip].

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

        ....but they don't seem to have to provide any proof that it is illegal child porn, there's certainly no mention of a court case.

        So, the only thing we know for certain is that the computer comes back without its hard drive and the excuse is that a policeman says he thinks there was something illegal on it.

        I'm sure that in most cases the policeman is telling the truth but that's not much comfort to those who've lost their livelihood due to the missing computers disks when they'd done nothing wrong.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

          Property disposal is normally ordered by the court if the case get's that far. If it doesn't every Police force in the country has a civil claims department should your hyperthetical scenario occur, which it doesn't.

          In reality, only hard drives containing indecent or prohibited images are not returned. Also. if someone's livelyhood is at stake then every effort is made for a copy to be made and the original returned (in non-paedophile cases). If a friend uses your computer and puts IIoC on there, they will endevour to copy off your data for you, if the offspring of a paedophile have course work on a computer that too will be recovered.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

            > In reality, only hard drives containing indecent or prohibited images are not returned.

            AC, what is the definition of "indecent" in this context? And, assuming it does not imply possession is unlawful, why should that be grounds for not returning property?

            Same goes for "prohibited", with the addition of: would a presumption on my part that only a court can decide if a given image is "prohibited", be correct?

            Does the owner get compensated for the hardware being confiscated? Even if there is any data on it that cannot be lawfully returned, the hardware itself is not "illegal".

            Lastly, do you happen to have any practical experience in this area?

    5. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: If proof were needed that police are theives [lying and bribery proof currently in the courts]

      The chances of your harddrive getting destroyed by the police is pretty low. The chance of it randomly failing i much higher.

      Either way, use off site backups!

  2. dv
    Black Helicopters

    Or, to put it a bit less eloquently,

    if you get v&, you are pretty well fscked no matter what. You have almost no rights, and the few rights that remain are designed to be, can be and will be used against you.

    God forbid you are innocent, because then they will get you either on encryption or non-cooperation. And of course in the "course of justice" your life is pretty much destroyed. Your kit is confiscated and will be returned damaged and/or incomplete some time in the future. You cannot do your job, because you have restricted computer access restraint placed upon you.

    Welcome to the free world.

    1. durandal

      Re: Or, to put it a bit less eloquently,

      >You cannot do your job, because you have restricted computer access restraint placed upon you.

      This is a bit misleading - you're unlikely to have that condition placed upon you during police bail (as distinct from court bail) as it is practically unenforceable.

      Even if plod decides to give it a punt, you can ask that free lawyer you were given to appeal it to the magistrates court, who can vary or remove police bail conditions. If the condition is so onerous as to not let you earn a living, then it's more likely than not to be removed unless you not working outweighs the risk that you might pose whilst on bail.

      1. dv

        Re: Or, to put it a bit less eloquently,

        I agree, up to a point. Remember that we're talking about an innocent (i.e. not guilty) person under investigation. That investigation can drag on for years.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Or, to put it a bit less eloquently,

          It can drag on for years and years. Especially if you've not done anything that serious.

          People with dodgy porn and creative accounting processes usually get shifted to the top of the forensics queue.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Or, to put it a bit less eloquently,

        Then your Employer catches wind of your "shenanigans", then decides to place you on Administrative Leave, or just sack ya all together. 'Cause you've been branded as a Security Risk!

      3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: durandal Re: Or, to put it a bit less eloquently,

        Whilst I applaud your efforts in trying to educate the sheeple, they will only downvote you when you try and present them with actual facts that get in the way of their mindless hating of The Man.

    2. Pete 2 Silver badge

      There is no innocence

      > God forbid you are innocent

      The difference between being found guilty and not being found guilty (whether not being charged, or being acquitted in a trial) is only in the degree to which you are punished. In ALL CASES, irrespective of your guilt, bad things happen to you.

      As the article says, even before you are charged, you are deprived of your freedom Every piece of electronic storage is removed from your house - some of which you may get back, though whether it would be after weeks, months or years is questionable. So how do you manage your work and your life while your "property" is gathering dust in a police lock-up?

      The only solution is to buy replacements, presuming you are allowed to. So apart from the time you spent in a cell, you are also several £££hundred or thousand out of pocket - and still no-one's even charged you with doing anything wrong.

      The problem is that our laws are based on the 18th century ideas of freedom and physical captivity. While you might be freed to walk the streets at some point after you finish "helping police with their enquiries", modern-day freedom requires a lot more than just physical presence. So all the restrictions and confiscations (whether temporary or permanent) exact a huge toll on ordinary people living ordinary, modern lives. Can you imagine a motorist having their car impounded for months while a traffic cop (possibly any given force's only qualified "forensic" traffic cop) plods slowly through the backlog of cases, for months on end, until they get to your 31MPH and only then decide not to prosecute and hand you back several car-shaped pieces of your vehicle? That seems to be on a par with the sort of thing that an IT accusation can bring.

      1. Squander Two
        Big Brother

        Re: There is no innocence

        Look at Barry George. Murder sentences being what they are these days, it's debatable whether he'd have been punished more or less had he actually killed Jill Dando. And he's not entitled to compensation for being wrongly incarcerated because, according to the Court of Appeal, he may not be guilty but he's "not innocent enough".

        Interestingly, if you are wrongly imprisoned and then eventually released when your case is overturned, the Home Office will send you a bill for room and board. Yes, really. If you get a compensation payment, half of it gets blown on paying for your imprisonment. I find it useful to remember that fact when considering the issue of justice in the UK. Once you're charged, our lords and masters believe you should be punished, and they will do so regardless of annoying distrations such as verdicts.

        1. Ted Treen
          Big Brother

          @Squander Two:- Re: There is no innocence

          "...considering the issue of justice in the UK..."

          Justice in the UK?

          An intriguing idea - but the establishment would never permit it.

      2. Terry 14

        Re: There is no innocence

        A lorry where my wife works was in serious traffic accident (but it was not damaged) it impounded by the police outside for 12 months and was worthless when they got it back. So, this just doesn't apply to IT equipment.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Terry 14 Re: There is no innocence

          "....for 12 months and was worthless when they got it back...." Wow, a lorry that's market value dropped from useable to worthless just from sitting outside? Yeah, that's what happens when you buy those vehicles made of chocolate. Back in the real World, most lorries spend their entire lives outside and exposed to the elements and are valued assets for many years. So please do explain how the supposedly "undamaged lorry", sitting still and not adding any mileage and receiving the occasional rain shower, somehow reduced a working lorry to a pile of worthless scrap?

          /We seriously need a male bovine manure icon.

          1. Squander Two

            Re: Terry 14 There is no innocence

            Why assume that the only way a lorry can become worthless is by turning into scrap? I can think of lots of ways it could become worthless. For a start, if it was out of action for twelve months, the company will have had to replace it. Once they've had to pay for a replacement for a year, getting the original back is near-enough worthless. Especially if that payment significantly affected their viability.

            1. TopOnePercent Silver badge

              Re: Terry 14 There is no innocence

              "Why assume that the only way a lorry can become worthless is by turning into scrap? I can think of lots of ways it could become worthless. For a start, if it was out of action for twelve months, the company will have had to replace it. Once they've had to pay for a replacement for a year, getting the original back is near-enough worthless. Especially if that payment significantly affected their viability."

              Erm, no thats totally wrong.

              The lorry will still have had redisual value and could be sold for very near the identical cost of its replacement. The company will be out of pocket, but to pretend the lorry is a total loss (worthless) is to show ignorance of even basic economics or finance.

              To assume they have to make a cash payment for the replacement lorry upfront is even worse. They can take a loan and pay interest charges, which will be signifcantly lower than the cost of the lorry.

              I'm not denying there is a cost to the company, but its miniscule compared to the value of the truck. And becuase its a loan, it can be offset against tax.

            2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Squandered An Education Re: Terry 14 There is no innocence

              "Why assume that the only way a lorry can become worthless is by turning into scrap?...." Because the poster expressly stated that the holding of the lorry for a year made it worthless somehow.

              "..... I can think of lots of ways it could become worthless....." So you can supply lots of convincing examples? This should be funny!

              "..,,,For a start, if it was out of action for twelve months, the company will have had to replace it....." Nope, not even one convincing argument. Even if they had to replace it by hiring or purchasing another the original vehicle would still be an asset with value, and it would still have value a year later when returned, especially as the poster claimed it was undamaged in the accident.

              "....,Once they've had to pay for a replacement for a year, getting the original back is near-enough worthless....." You obviously don't work in accounting, please go read up on the write down of fixed assets.

              ".....Especially if that payment significantly affected their viability." Ah, but that's not what the poster claimed. Yes, there might be a financial inconvenience due to their asset being held, but that in itself would not reduce the value of the asset to zero, it would simply be an additional cost.

              So, that as a non-example, where are the rest of all those "ways" you insisted you could think of?

              1. Squander Two

                Re: Squandered An Education Terry 14 There is no innocence

                If you're going to be so obnoxiously confident in how superior your intellect is to the ignorant masses', you might want to avoid conflating the concepts of "value" and "worth".

          2. Graham Dawson

            Re: Terry 14 There is no innocence

            matt, most lorries may spend their lives outside, but they also spend their lives being regularly maintained and serviced. a lorry that spends a year outside, unused and unmaintained, will be wrecked.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Graham Dawson Re: Terry 14 There is no innocence

              "..... a lorry that spends a year outside, unused and unmaintained, will be wrecked." Wow, you must have some serious acid rain around your way! Do you live on Saturn? Please do explain, from your obviously voluminous extent of mechanical knowledge, what "maintenance" is required to stop a lorry becoming "worthless" just from sitting outside for a year? Before you do, you may want to understand that the majority of the World's vehicles spend their entire lives without being garaged against the elements, let alone commercial vehicles designed for the outdoors life. As an example the British Army maintains a stock of lorries and other vehicles at rest in open-air storage in-between deployments, often for periods exceeding a year. Strangely, I don't recall the Army replacing all their lorries every year.

              I kept a Fiat Mirafiori, probably the most rust-prone make of car ever, outside a London flat for three years without it magically dissolving away. One of those years was spent contracting in the Middle East with the only "maintenance" required upon my return being charging the battery, refilling the tank and giving it a wash. Please do try and claim an Eighties Fiat is somehow more resilient to the ravages of time and weather than an industrial lorry!

              1. Graham Dawson

                Re: Graham Dawson Terry 14 There is no innocence

                In fact yes, an 80s Fiat is more resilient than a modern lorry, in the same way that I could leave an old mini mayfair sat out on the street for a year without moving it and be able to drive away without issue, yet I couldn't leave my 2003 ford focus out for a year without having to spend a fortune having it repaired. Never mind the diesel in the lorry's tank turning to sticky sludge or the engine seizing up from lack of use, the ECU will be knackered, the electrics will be shot and the tyres will be ruined from sitting so long.

                Those trucks you mentioned that the army keeps? They maintain them. They regularly turn over the engines, roll the wheels and clean the bodies, and air out the various bits where stale moisture will trap and corrode things. They change the oil, occasionally pump and replace the fuel, replace the wheels and test the electrics to be sure they're in working condition. They don't just leave them sat out in a field without touching them.

                That aside, your fiat was built to very crude tolerances. Modern vehicles aren't. Even a 1980s lorry would have had a finer tolerance in its manufacture and would be much more vulnerable to environmental effects without regular maintenance.

                So yes. Your fiat could survive conditions that a lorry would not tolerate, but only because it was made of rust and string to begin with.

                1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: Graham Desperation Re: Graham Dawson Terry 14 There is no innocence

                  "In fact yes, an 80s Fiat is more resilient than a modern lorry......" What complete cobblers! You do realise (well, you're probably trying to ignore) that many manufacturers store their vehicles before shipment, and may store them for extended periods before sending them to showrooms or customers? That the lorry you receive as new may actually have spent well over a year standing outside before you got it?

                  "..... in the same way that I could leave an old mini mayfair sat out on the street for a year without moving it and be able to drive away without issue, yet I couldn't leave my 2003 ford focus out for a year without having to spend a fortune having it repaired....." Stop now, it is quite obvious you know SFA about cars or lorries and are just embarassing yourself.

                  "......Never mind the diesel in the lorry's tank turning to sticky sludge....." Whilst you will get some sedimentation, commercial vehicle diesel will not turn to sludge in a year. But that's ignoring the fact it would be a simple task for a mechanic to drain the system and flush it through, even if it had magically turned into porridge, leaving the lorry ready for use.

                  ".... the engine seizing up from lack of use.....". Simply would not happen. Why don't you claim it would be abducted by aliens, it would be more likely.

                  ".....the ECU will be knackered, the electrics will be shot....." Apart from the fact that seals simply wouldn't break down over such a short period in order to allow enough water in to do any damage, it would be simple and cheap to repair or replace and in NO WAY AT ALL reduce the vehicle to being "worthless". Quit talking through your rectum.

                  "..... and the tyres will be ruined from sitting so long...." The only vaguely possible outcome, although extremely unlikely, and even then easily and cheaply sorted.

                  "......Those trucks you mentioned that the army keeps? They maintain them. They regularly turn over the engines, roll the wheels and clean the bodies, and air out the various bits where stale moisture will trap and corrode things....." Bullshit. They don't, and I know that because I have seen firsthand how they are stored at such depots as Aldershot.

                  ".....That aside, your fiat was built to very crude tolerances....." Actually it wasn't because it was a road-prep'd Abarth rallycar with the hand-built Volumetrico engine. Apart from the headlight bowls and the doorhandles there was SFA standard about it at all, thanks. Once again, you are simply blathering complete male bovine manure in a desperate attempt to avoid admitting the whole story is a crock of the same.

                  But the most suspect bit of the whole story of is how a lorry was held for a year after an RTA, especially as the lorry was supposedly undamaged. The police normally measure up at the scene, take pics, and that's it. The only time they would seize a vehicle is if it was evidence of a serious crime such as vehicular manslaughter, or corporate manslaughter (such as not having been maintained), or fraud, or something like being used to transport drugs. So not only is your dribbling reply a joke but so is the original claim. It is just another example of vacuous police-bashing.

  3. Timmay

    > "1 is the lower end of illegal through to 5 at the extreme end of the scale."

    Heh, this is a bit illegal, and this is really illegal.

    1. monkeyfish

      It's not that insane. Something like topless selfie of a 14 yr old = 1 (technically illegal but not actually serious), rape video of 10 yr old = 5. Not sure how they differentiate 2,3,4 etc, but it does make sense to categorise them.

      1. Timmay

        I realise, I just found it humorous. Well, a bit humorous, probably about a 2.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        just FYI:

        1 is erotic posing with no sexual activity

        2 is non-penetrative sexual activity between chilcren or masturbation

        3 is non penetrative sexual activity between children and adults

        4 is penetrative sexual activity

        5 is sadism or bestiality

        sentencing guidlines indicate that if it's level 4 or below and the subject is 16 or 17, then that can be cause for a reduced sentence.

        Still seems a bit odd to me that it's completely legal for me to go out and have sex with a 16 year old, but if I have pictures of a 16 year old having sex then I go to jail...

        1. Squander Two

          More to the point, it's illegal for married sixteen-year-old parents to see photos of each other naked.

          1. Ian 55

            " it's illegal for married sixteen-year-old parents to see photos of each other naked."

            There is an exception for people who are married / living 'together as partners in an enduring family relationship' (see s45 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003). It doesn't apply if a third party appears in the photo, so let's hope they don't take photos of the legal threesomes they have.

            No one should claim UK sex law makes sense.

            1. Squander Two

              "There is an exception for people who are married / living together"

              Ian 55,

              Thanks for that. I live and learn.

              Does that mean the legal photos become illegal if they divorce, though?

        2. Suricou Raven

          So 1. Is the traditional bathtime photo or beach photo in swimsuit, that lurks in photo albums for a decade ready for parents to show it to the boy/girlfriend?

          1. Gerardo McFitzpatrick-O'Toole

            If not now, doubtless in a few changes in the law's time...

          2. phuzz Silver badge
            Stop

            Level one also includes the sort of thing that might crop up in a collection of stock images which you downloaded, found the one image you needed, and then deleted.

            Not much of a problem unless your computer is searched, then things start to get complicated for you...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Rape of a 10 year old = Level 4. Level 5 is worse than that!

        Age has no bearing on the level.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        http://sentencingcouncil.judiciary.gov.uk/docs/web_SexualOffencesAct_2003.pdf

        Section 6A

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One day ...

    How long before there's a high-profile wrongful case against an innocent suspect? One day a Lord McAlpine or Andrew Mitchell will get the full treatment and highlight the victim's plight!

    (and how big a Red Flag is this very article in your browser history? Guess I should tick that "Post anonymously" button, though of course it'll do no good if under investigation).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One day ...

      Read about football manager Dave Jones's ordeal a few years ago, albeit unrelated to computers. Or the recent case of Graham Ovenden which appears to have been trumped up out of proportion.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One day ...

        Dave Jones was found innocent. Graham Ovenden was not. I think you need to distinguish between the two.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One day ...

      Like this one?

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

  5. Goldmember
    Thumb Up

    3 of 19

    "there were 19 refusals to decrypt data to date in the period 2012/2013. Of those 19, three were successfully prosecuted"

    So the other 16 had no charges brought against them? Those odds look pretty good to me! Definitely worth withholding the encryption passes.

    Great article, well researched and very interesting.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: 3 of 19

      I was thinking of conducting all my criminal activity on a Cray II. Or even a LEO, if I can get one. That way, they'll never get my computer into the evidence bags... No chain-of-evidence, no conviction.

      1. monkeyfish

        Re: Cray II or LEO

        I'm pretty sure that's when your house is considered evidence and gets covered in tape...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 3 of 19

      I received a letter from the Metropolitan Police sent straight to my home address (not via my solicitor which is what they should have done) asking me for passwords to devices that were seized from my home.

      Of these three "encrypted" devices, only one was actually encrypted: a USB flash drive which I had only encrypted to learn about encryption software and had nothing of any interest on it, I didn't use it and can't remember the password.

      The other items were an external hard drive with a damaged file allocation table which I was not able to access (not encrypted), and, very generically, "[brand] laptop and power cable" which is vague in the extreme seeing as there was nothing encrypted/passworded on it that I can recall.

      Needless to say I have ignored their request. This was around 6 months ago and I have not heard anything more about it since (touch wood). I have since been charged and entered a (not guilty guv') plea and most of the evidence has been served (no computer evidence, surprise surprise) The lesson here is don't underestimate the incompetence of the police service.

      AC for obvious reasons.

      1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Re: 3 of 19

        Not certain how things work on your side of the pond. But:

        "I received a letter from the Metropolitan Police sent straight to my home address (not via my solicitor which is what they should have done)"

        I'd be willing to bet that, absent a court issued warrant, the police figure they'll just ask in a quasi-official mode. And if the suspect offers it up, they are ahead of the game.

      2. Rimpel

        Re: 3 of 19

        Hi, that story is genuinely very interesting, but would be helped by giving some explanation as to why your devices were seized from your home in the first place, and why you weren't jailed for not providing the password to a drive you admit was encrypted...

        cheers and good luck. btw did you do it lol?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 3 of 19

        > The lesson here is don't underestimate the incompetence of the police service.

        The other lesson is: don't underestimate the gullibility of most people, especially when confronted by a figure under colour of authority. Police know this very well and take advantage of it all the time--can't really blame them: it makes their job easier if people fall for their ruses, which most of the time they do.

        Do not talk to police ever, if you are or could become a suspect. Get a good solicitor and let him sort things out. People, both innocent and guilty, regularly get a worse deal than they could have by not following this simple rule.

    3. JaitcH
      Happy

      Re: 3 of 19

      IF A CELL HANDSET is on a body when that body does evil REMOVE AND DESTROY THE SIM. Without a SIM many of these 'forensic products' won't work.

      AND if you are planning evil, plan to get a throw away cell handset (as in smash with a hammer) OR a SIM you destroy after your evil scheme is completed.

      When I travel I use a very old but trusted Mitsubishi Trium Mars on my shorter trips to the West. It might be 2G but there is no GPS or memory - other than the SIM.

      1. Trygve Henriksen

        Removing SIM?

        Yeah, right...

        You are aware that data rescue/forensic companies consider recovering data from a smashed phone as routine these days?

        The only thing saved in your SIM is your contact list, and quite often that too is also copied to phone memory because the SIM is a rather slow storage medium.

        Unless the FLASH chips in the phone are destroyed, don't expect to hide anything...

    4. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: 3 of 19

      ..."there were 19 refusals to decrypt data to date in the period 2012/2013. Of those 19, three were successfully prosecuted"

      So the other 16 had no charges brought against them?

      Or maybe they committed suicide while in prison..?

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: Dodgy Geezer Re: 3 of 19

        "....Or maybe they committed suicide while in prison..?" Or, more likely, the coppers had enough evidence without the decrypt to convict them anyway.

  6. El Presidente

    Remember

    A suspect is under no obligation to leave a cell to be interviewed.

    No interview is much better for a defendant than no comment.

    There's no copper giving a highly speculative narrative on tape because there is no tape.

    1. Keep Refrigerated

      Re: Remember

      Wouldn't that just count against you in court? i.e. the "You do not have to say anything..." part?

      On the other hand, the police do have to provide an interpreter if the subject doesn't speak English - how about insisting on answering in an alternative language such as Klingon, Elvish, Dothraki, Esperanto, Europanto or Transpiranto to name a few?

      Perhaps the authorities need to understand that the reason that resources are stretched, so many cases are fragile, subject to falling apart and the odds are against convictions for refusing to give encryption keys - is that they are already dangerously stepping over the line from investigating tangible crime into thought crime and pre-crime.

      Think about it, before 2001, for every 1 actual terrorist who carried out his act of terror;

      • How many terrorist backed out at the last minute and went back to a normal life?
      • How many potential terrorists went through planning/training but never carried it out and went on to live a normal life?
      • How many potential terrorists wanted to do something but never really made connections or got to planning, got over it and carried on with a normal life?
      • How many potential terrorists never plan to do anything, but secretly celebrate acts of terror?
      • How many "potential terrorists" are simply interested in chemicals/history/terrorism/politics and spend their personal time researching the subjects?
      • How many "potential terrorists" are critical of Western governments, socially and politically active and potentially brush shoulders unaware with other [potential] terrorists?

      All of the above are likely to have interesting internet search histories, maybe even documents and plans (at university I knew someone who downloaded the code for Melissa because he was interested in studying the code). However, out of all those people, up until the act of terror - it's simply thoughts and thoughts laid out in print.

      The more you investigate crimes of thought or intent, the more and more people you're going to find guilty, the more and more people you're going to have to lock up - or at least waste vast amounts of time and resources on, when the courts find that you're case is built on thoughts alone.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        To add to your list

        How many "terrorists" get so annoyed at incompetent morons that they say "if you don't get your act together I'm going to blow this goddamn airport sky high" without any actual intention of committing an act of terrorism. I would like to say common sense prevailed in the end, but when you look at what it took to get there...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To add to your list

          "How many "terrorists" get so annoyed at incompetent morons "

          No - it was a joke at most, silly comment more likely. He was an accountant but not all of them are incompetent morons - just do a wealth check!

      2. El Presidente

        Re: Remember

        "when the courts find that you're case is built on thoughts alone."

        The vast majority of cases which reach the court are built on what the defendant has said.

        Without the assistance of the defendant, fewer cases would reach court.

        Why help the police build a case? Why do their job for them?

        It is for the police to build a case, a defendant is foolish if they help them.

        Participating in a police interview is crass stupidity on the part of a defendant.

        1. M Mouse

          Re: Remember

          Indeed. The advice I was given by a serving officer (some 30 years ago, and without my being likely to commit any crime) was to simply not say anything, because "once you talk, anything you say may be twisted to get you to argue / further discuss the accusation(s)". Simply put, keeping silent was said to be the best defence. I will stand by that advice, in the unlikely event I am ever accused of something.

          Perhaps when/ if one reaches court, one can just declare innocence and that because of concern over whatever "twisting" might go on, one decided to stay silent because knowing one was innocent, it seemed the best option!

      3. Stevie Silver badge

        Re:Esperanto

        I wouldn't pick any of the non-skiffy artificial languages, especially Esperanto, as your fake-out language of choice.

        Most of these have a pretty up-front statement in their grammar primers that they are *auxiliary* languages. Esperanto certainly does.

        You need to speak only in Swedish Chef is you want to baffle Law Enforcement translators.

  7. Ketlan
    Flame

    Not convinced...

    I'm not entirely convinced that the law is as clever as the author of this article makes out, though the article itself was interesting and well-written. Two examples.

    The recent case of a businessman who visited a completely legal 'twink' site - he was under suspicion for five years, his reputation was destroyed and his father died two years into the investigation not knowing whether his son was guilty or not in the eyes of the law. The case was eventually thrown out but a five-year investigation hardly shows the police to be as intelligent or resourceful as this article suggests.

    A few years ago, I was heavily involved in anti-fascist activity. Someone managed to infect numerous computers (including that of a leading journalist) in a way that every keypress was saved to a large daily file which they had rigged to be sent to me, presumably to make it look as if I had infected the computers. I saved all the evidence I could (some twenty thousand files in all) and took it to my local nick (city centre). The officers could do nothing with it because they were forbidden to use any external media. My offer to email the lot was also declined, as 'we really don't have the resources to investigate this kind of crime'.

    Fine, the police make a lot of effort to track down paedophiles and terrorists - but how about a bit more effort going into protecting the innocent.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Not convinced...

      Let me quote the article, "A big issue with most e-crime units is the fact that they do not have enough resources to deal with all of the cases they are asked to investigate."

      So they are under-resourced even for dealing with "paedophiles and terrorists".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not convinced...

      <quote>

      Fine, the police make a lot of effort to track down paedophiles and terrorists - but how about a bit more effort going into protecting the innocent.

      </unquote>

      The problem is that the police are not there to protect the innocent, they are there to find as many people guilty as possible. They don't care whether you are innocent or not, they want to push up their conviction rates. that's why they never beleive anything they are told by someone who is arrested, and just say that there "wasn't enough evidence" when it becomes obvious they got the wrong person.

      1. Ian 55

        Re: Not convinced...

        Moral: don't be the low-hanging fruit or the subject of a politically motivated case.

  8. Jemma Silver badge

    Hmmm... 'Intelligence led' & the Police

    Now there is a contradiction in terms worthy of a literary medal.

    The police are entirely inept and care precisely zero for anyone/anything that isnt a fellow police officer or a member of their familes. Thats over and above lying to the victims of crime (which I can personally attest to) - abuse of minorities (which I can also personally attest to, twice) and other fun games they play..

    I spent hours getting that police cryptolocker virus off my fathers machine - and those images look suspiciously like they've been pulled off the police websites - what do the Police do about it? bugger all, even though above and beyond the criminal damage they could get them for copyright infringement amongst other stuff (see Capone, totally psychotic murderous gangster - possibly caused by Syphilis - got convicted for tax evasion). I wonder what the hidden costs are of things like Cryptolocker - like the long term health damage it does to people, the lost productivity and information - not to mention if it was to hit scientific projects or charities like those set up for Cancer & HIV - so much important information lost...

    The only difference between the criminals and the police in my experience is that the criminals dont get a pension plan and health benefits.

    Alot of the inherant problem with the Police in general is also compounded by their lack of computer nous. They simply cannot get their head around the fact that if they dont know how to do something, then someone else *might* know how to do it. Which is why these cases when people have been done for stuff they had nothing to do with the Police are so amazed when the real culprit turns out to be the 14 year old next door neighbour or something of that ilk.

    Incidentally - quick way to kill cryptolocker. Log on to computer using either recovery disk or your other backup admin account (you did set one up right?) - go to the windows/startup directory and delete the *.lnk file thats just a collection of alphanumerics - reboot normally and virus go bye bye. Thats what I ended up doing after 3 *days* of working on it. Then just delete any file with the same name as the alphanumeric string & you should be good to go..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do me a favour...

      You can point to a few examples of an organisation the size of the police not acting how you want them to, this doesn't make them "entirely inept" or corrupt in the way you suggest.

      I've worked with them and know a few, I've also been on the wrong side of them for something fairly serious I did in my 20s. I can't say that the ones that I know or have had *ahem* professional dealings with are anything but upstanding, honest and dedicated to their jobs. Does that mean they're all like that? No. It doesn't mean they're all corrupt though either.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Do me a favour...

        @AC

        "It doesn't mean they're all corrupt though either."

        Are yes, they're so uncorrupt that they would rather out their colleagues than see crime go unpunished. Not.

        xref, Ian Tomlinson, Jean Charles de Menezes, Hillsborough, Andrew Mitchell, knowledge of Savile's activities, police not obliged to give evidence to the IPCC, police lying to suspects etc etc.

        There are 2 types of cops - bad ones and those who cover for bad ones.

        Which unfortunately is markedly different from the following requirement: "If policing is to be by the consent of the people, then it is critical we have total faith that every officer will be held totally accountable for his or her actions".

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Possible correction

    surely it should be

    At this point they will decide if they wish to charge you or detain you...

    and not

    At this point they will decide if they wish to arrest you or detain you ...

    1. localzuk

      Re: Possible correction

      The terminology is somewhat odd.

      You're already under arrest at this point, but you've not been charged. You can be further arrested though, for further suspected offences. However, the police don't determine whether you should be charged, the CPS do. The police will determine whether you should be held for longer for more investigation.

      The CPS will determine if you should be charged, but only towards the end of the process. If you're charged, the police can bail you with conditions, or they can apply to a magistrate for you to be remanded into custody until trial.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excellent stuff

    Superb article. The thing that always strikes me, is that unless the criminal / victim of injustice is either completely stupid (either the individual or the OS leaving stuff in plain sight), or the person is amazingly 'high value', the sheer scale of investigating computer crime means the odds are against the investigating authorities. I'd guess that for the vast majority of offenses, it's too hard, time consuming and expensive to investigate to the standard of reasonable doubt. So, that being the case, their chief weapon will be fear : fear and surprise. Their two weapons....and therefore hoping they get a confession. The investigating authorities will therefore hate this kind of article.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Excellent stuff

      Top read, very interesting.

      One thing, if the case DOES come to court, how is the integrity of the evidence chain verified? I mean, the police will say "yeah of course, this is the data exactly s it was on the suspects' disk", but can the defendant get an independently-appointed consultant to verify (or refute) that?

      Actually I guess that question holds for all investigations involving forensic evidence, not just computer-related

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Excellent stuff

        Yes, the defence can hire computer experts too. In fact, lots of the consultants who work for the prosecution, also work for the defence. In different cases of course...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Excellent stuff

      > the sheer scale of investigating computer crime means the odds are against the investigating authorities.

      The fact that the police have to go to such lengths to determine if a crime has indeed been committed is a sure sign that something is seriously wrong with our legal system.

      Just think about it for a moment: if you have a dead corpse full of stab wounds, the fact that a crime has been committed is largely taken as read. The police are involved in finding the culprit. There is an obvious victim, and someone obviously must be ultimately responsible (unless they committed suicide). Even where the victim is not dead, you at least have a wronged party to attest to the existence of a crime.

      If it can take weeks or months to determine that a computer "thought crime" has in fact been committed, then I really have to wonder what's going on.

  11. Crisp Silver badge

    Image hash database

    Is this publicly available so that sysadmins can run preventative measures?

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Image hash database

      I would imagine that's very unlikely - a sysadmin finds a file matching the hash, does he a) report it to the police and watch machine he manages get confiscated, or b) delete it because "Timmy isn't that sort of chap, must have downloaded by accident".

      Another +1 from me, a good read.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Image hash database

      Errrr... no. That same database could also be used to trawl for child porn and make a paedophile a nice big collection automagically!!!!

    3. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: Image hash database

      Is this publicly available so that sysadmins can run preventative measures?

      You don't need it. Just put a few junk bytes at the end of your files. Should work. Unless they do block-level hashing, of course.

      1. Old Handle

        Re: Image hash database

        You don't need it. Just put a few junk bytes at the end of your files. Should work. Unless they do block-level hashing, of course.

        I doubt that would work. It would almost certainly be based on the actual image, not the representation in a particular format. They would want to recognize an image even if it's been changed from .raw to .png, resized or subjected to lossy compression. It can probably even spot cropped or altered images (with some difficulty and false positives, of course).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Image hash database

      You wouldn't want to - if you find CP on a system you administer you have to call the Police, not to do so is a very serious crime. The Police then turn up and take the system that the data is on. Rather: All the systems the data are on, including backup disks, tapes, replication targets.

      It's best not to know.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'digital evidence nowadays'

    the quaint phraseology "No action taken by the police should lead to a change in the source media. This is the main reason write blockers are used. Using the disk prior to a clone could lead to allegations of planting evidence."

    So the Gamma International trojans that are (allegedly) widely deployed throughout the UK and that (allegedly) have full read & WRITE access to the suspect/fall-guy/patsy/scapegoats's ICT equipment - is use of these trojans prior to the 'plod hard knock similarly transparent, write-locked, logged, audited ?

    bollocks!!!!

    there is no such thing as 'pristine' digital evidence nowadays , now that the denizens of new StasiGCHQ donut are in-charge and playing with the world's crypto & computers...

  13. alan buxey

    incriminating evidence

    ..and now you'll have this article in your browser history which will be interesting. 'oh yes Sir, researching how to avoid being caught were we Sir?' - best use private browsing for The Register or ensure your total history is wiped... (oh , dont forget your backup software/Timemachine etc will keep handy copies and snapshots of that too). obviously this doesnt worry me... ;-)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Question.

    What about unrelated crimes discovered in the course of investigation?

    For example, you're an almost innocent person. You get investigated for a crime for some reason (Screw-up tracking a dynamic IP, or your internet nemesis sending an 'anonymous tip' because you insulted a celebrity they idolise). The police do their thing and determine that you are quite innocent, but in the process they do find evidence of some other, lesser crimes - perhaps you are heavily involved in piracy, or took part in a protest DDoS a few years ago with a few thousand others. What happens then? Would they decide that, as you have been arrested and investigated anyway, otherwise minor and ignoreable crimes are now worthy of prosecution?

    1. dv

      Re: Question.

      The answer is, of course, a loud and resounding yes.

    2. Jason 24

      Re: Question.

      From personal experience (check my post history), if they are looking for kiddie porn and find non but find a few pirated films you'll get your disks back, but they'll be utterly wiped to the nth degree. So no, they are not interested in doing you over for a few films/MP3s if they can't find what they really want.

    3. Ian 55

      Re: Question.

      This is what happened in R vs Brown. The police found some video tapes of some BDSM behaviour, spent a pile of money on a murder investigation looking for the bodies they expected would be the result, and were a bit miffed when the 'murder victims' turned up saying what a lovely time they'd had.

      So everyone involved was prosecuted for the BDSM behaviour they thought was legal and was certainly consensual.

    4. localzuk

      Re: Question.

      Yup. Any evidence of crime gained during an investigation, being done legally, is usable. So, if there is no evidence of the original crime, but they find evidence of another crime, you will end up re-arrested for those extra crimes.

      1. localzuk

        Re: Question.

        Why the downvote? I am talking from experience here, after having my house 'raided' and computer gear removed for a crime I was suspected of. They found no evidence of that crime, as I had simply not been anywhere near the place and there was evidence I hadn't been. However, they did find videos of some protests I'd been involved in, which they managed to wangle into a charge for aggravated trespass, and prosecuted my friends and I for.

        All completely legal for them to do so.

        1. Jason 24

          Re: Question.

          On the opposite end of the scale I had absolutely no issue whatsoever with them finding other stuff. I've a lot of music that's been ripped from various sources as well as more than a few films and when they got a tip off for kiddy porn and didn't find any they didn't press on anything else, they just nuked the hard drives and handed them back completely blank (yes, returned them, contrary to other comments on here).

          Hell they weren't even bothered about the weed they found in the house when raiding, said they couldn't leave it with us and put it down as being found outside (was only about 30 quids worth, but still).

          Therefore I do find it hard to believe however that they'd prosecute for trespass based on a grainy video they found, you must have had a real grumpy bastard looking at your case who was just out to get something. Unlucky!

          1. localzuk

            Re: Question.

            It was political, related to animal rights right in the middle of the crackdown on animal rights protest. Our court case was an example of how much effort they put in - at Crown Court, we had a solicitor and barrister. They had a barrister, several solicitors and an army of people surrounding them, with a mountain of paperwork that was wheeled in on the equivalent of a sack truck. All our paperwork fit in a thick envelope...

            1. Jason 24

              Re: Question.

              Down vote withdrawn :) Sucks to be you though, they must have been really grasping at straws if they had to find evidence from another avenue!

              On the whole though I do believe that the vast majority of plod are interested in doing a good job and don't want to cause unnecessary problems for people being investigated. Only takes a few jobsworths though to make it seem like the exact opposite.

            2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: localzuk Re: Question.

              "It was political.....". Nope, by the sounds of it you were suspected of committing civil crimes and got tried for said civil crimes. it is YOU that assumed that your politics put you above the law and made you special.

              "......related to animal rights right in the middle of the crackdown on animal rights protest....." So your politics were the religion of animal rights, you should have used LEGAL methods to pursue your convictions rather than assuming you somehow had a right to ignore it. You may feel your "holy" outlook means you can ignore the law but the courts, including a jury of your peers, obviously thought otherwise. Big clue - you need to get MAJORITY support for your baaaah-liefs if you want legal changes, and breaking the law is unlikely to impress anyone other than the other Faithful.

              "...... we had a solicitor and barrister. They had a barrister, several solicitors and an army of people surrounding them, with a mountain of paperwork that was wheeled in on the equivalent of a sack truck. All our paperwork fit in a thick envelope..." So you were stupid and thought you could go up against the resources of the State and win? The big question was did your barrister take a look at the evidence and the rest of the case and advise you to plead guilty because it sounds like you stitched yourselves up. I mean, keeping evidence of your own illegal activities?!? Was that for bragging rights to the rest of the Faithful? Did you think you were Xander Cage or something?

              Another gold vulture awarded for being "special", it seems.

              1. localzuk

                Re: localzuk Question.

                @Matt - it was a criminal trial, not a civil case. Our arguments were legally complex, to the extent the magistrates court didn't have the usual panel of judges, just a district judge as it was determined it would be above their level of expertise. The Crown court had a single district judge also. At our appeal, when our comments regarding the education act were presented as a defense, the judge stated that they would not be considered as "they were too high level law for that level of court, and would only be possible to present them in the High Court". Meaning, our defense was mostly ignored.

                Not to mention, during the case nearly every witness lied on the stand. Even the police. One of the police officers was called out on it by the judge, as his statement was unrealistic. But there is very little you can do about it. Our mail from our solicitors was opened before it arrived at our homes... Oh, and the judges in each court were shareholders in the businesses in question, keen hunters also, yet they could sit on an animal rights case etc...

                Our activities weren't illegal if you pay attention to the law properly. We didn't appeal further as it wasn't worth wasting yet another year of our lives over the matter - our protest worked anyway, which was the main point.

                So, don't make assumptions...

                1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: localzuk Re: localzuk Question.

                  I call bullshit on that! If you had even a shred of proof of anything you claim then your barrister would have had no problems getting the judge removed from the case and the case dismissed or even the conviction quashed. The fact that you admit that you got convicted implies either you had really the crappiest legal representation ever or - much more likely - you're talking out of your rectum. You committed crimes, got tried and convicted through no-one's fault but your own. And because you thought either you were too clever to get caught, or plod was to thick to catch you, or simply because your Holy And Righteous Crusade just made you too saintly to be convicted. Welcome to reality.

                  1. localzuk

                    Re: localzuk localzuk Question.

                    Judges in the UK have to register their interests - ie. their financial income sources and investments etc... We *did* complain. It was determined, by the judge, that he could be impartial - in both the original trial and the appeal. Who do you appeal to at a trial? The judge. The only thing you can end up doing is going through the trial and if they refuse to back out due to conflict of interest then you can try and appeal after the trial is finished.

                    As I said before, after a trial and an appeal, we decided simply not to play the game any more.

                    Stop assuming things. We *know* we didn't break the law. I'll explain the case to you, as you seem to be unable to accept that the legal system is flawed.

                    We were students at a university. A department of the university organised a conference at the university. The conference featured content which was controversial (discussing the privatisation of phd research funding, removing the funding board and funding directly from private investors), and also featured national figures (a government minister). The education act specifies that any meeting that is organised on university premises by a university must notify the students union if it has either controversial topics or national figures so that the union can arrange to have representation at the event. If they do not, the meeting is determined to be illegal. This is a fact. As universities are publicly funded, they have to follow the rules.

                    The university in question did not engage with the student union. So, we held a protest at the event. As the event was technically illegal, holding such a protest (entering the lecture theater with a banner, and making a statement) is not illegal.

                    However, all arguments regarding the education act were, as stated earlier, ignored as the court refused to admit that level of legal argument.

                    At the end of the case, the prosecutor came over to us and apologised! Saying he didn't agree with the case, but was doing his job! Our solicitor and barrister worked hard throughout the case, but they were very clear from the beginning, the chance of winning a politically motivated trial is low - as the government will put everything they have into it.

                    We had supporters hand back their phds to the university, a petition of thousands of academics etc... who all supported our case. Our activities were supported by the student union. So, as I said, stop making assumptions.

                    Oh, and just to make sure its clear - our group was an animal rights group. At the event were representatives from the UKs biggest animal testers, environment damagers, tax avoiders etc...

                    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                      FAIL

                      Re: localzuk Re: localzuk localzuk Question.

                      ".....As I said before, after a trial and an appeal...." Meaning you lost the appeal as well. What a surprise - not.

                      "....We were students at a university...." Not law students, I bet.

                      "....A department of the university organised a conference at the university...." So a business event, separate from normal university activities and SFA to do with the NSU.

                      "..... The conference featured content which was controversial (discussing the privatisation of phd research funding, removing the funding board and funding directly from private investors), and also featured national figures (a government minister)....." So again, nothing to do with the NSU as it was a discussion of PRIVATE INVESTMENT and nothing to do with student associations.

                      "..... The education act specifies that any meeting that is organised on university premises by a university must notify the students union if it has either controversial topics or national figures so that the union can arrange to have representation at the event. If they do not, the meeting is determined to be illegal. This is a fact. As universities are publicly funded, they have to follow the rules....." Not true. The only bit of the Education Act that deals with the rights of the Student Union to poke their nose in is to do with funding of student associations and nothing to do with the running of the university as a business. You also fail to note that many universities run development and research facilities as separate businesses, to which the Student Union have SFA right to know anything about. Many of such separate uni businesses indeed do such sensitive research they keep their activities secret from the rest of the uni so a to preserve a business advantage. It looks like you were simply too stupid to seek proper legal advice before embarking on your "protest". You could have played safe by protesting outside the event, but you had to go a step further and try and interrupt proceedings in an effort to discourage the investment your socio-political outlook disagreed with, but you assumed your PoV made you immune from the law. Stupid you. If I came round your house and barged in to tell you I thought animal testing was just peachie I'm sure you'd be on the phone to the coppers to have me removed. Duh!

                      ".... the chance of winning a politically motivated trial is low...." It's very clear the only politics involved were the usual loony behaviour of the NSU, i.e. you and your fellow criminals, and the prosecution was simply following the law. Entering a building without an invite or is trespass, and your childish political antics simply got you a criminal record. The really funny bit is you seem not to have learned your lesson.

                      "....We had supporters hand back their phds to the university, a petition of thousands of academics etc....." All of which makes SFA difference to a civil trial.

                      "....At the event were representatives from the UKs biggest animal testers, environment damagers, tax avoiders etc..." All of whom were there LEGALLY and engaging in LEGAL business discussions, whilst you were there ILLEGALLY. Just because you want what they do to be illegal does not make it so.

                      1. localzuk

                        Re: localzuk localzuk localzuk Question.

                        The Education Act (No2) 1996 Section 43, point 3 states that universities must maintain a code of conduct which ensures freedom of speech is protected for all meetings that fall outside 'teaching'. So, conferences etc... It doesn't include commercial room bookings.

                        The university I was in had this code of conduct, which is nearly identical to most other universities. The code of conduct states that all meetings must be notified to a registrar on the site. This registrar must determine whether the content of that meeting is controversial, or if any national figures were present. In our case, both were true, but the registrar didn't determine that they were (Lord Sainsbury was there...). After such a determination is made, the registrar was required to notify the students union of the meeting and allow them to organise representation. This was not done.

                        So, according to the code of conduct agreed by the management of the university, in order to comply with the university's duty to allow freedom of speech per section 43 point 1 of the Education Act (No2) 1996, the meeting was not authorised, and therefore the university did not follow the law. This means that the university preventing us from speaking was itself a violation of that point 1.

                        Exactly as was presented to the court, and was denied as the judge said such arguments were too complex for lower courts and we would have to appeal to a higher court.

                        The fact you mention 'civil trial' is indicative that you don't know what you're talking about - it was a criminal trial. Trespass requires removal of implied right of access. As students of the university, with no notices posted stating the room was closed to students, right of access was still there. You don't have an implied right of access to my house. Accessing it would be breaking and entering, civil trespass and if you were there to intimidate or disrupt my activity, aggravated trespass. Different situation entirely.

                        Considering we ran all our protest plans via a solicitor before engaging in anything, I'd say we knew what we were doing.

                        1. localzuk

                          Re: localzuk localzuk localzuk Question.

                          Oh, and also, as of 1998, the Human Rights Act requires judges to read all laws against Human Rights to balance between the right to freedom of speech and the right to whatever the other law codifies. In this case, that Section 43 point 1 indicates that significant strength should be given to freedom of speech.

                          The judge wouldn't allow us to refer to Hansard to prove this.

                          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                            FAIL

                            Re: localzuk localzuk localzuk Question.

                            "....The judge wouldn't allow us to refer to Hansard to prove this." Because it was not relevant because none of your rights were affected. Your freedom of speech or protest was not curbed, you could have legally protested outside the building in areas you had a right to access, such as the corridors or courtyards or car parks. But instead you decided on a gung-ho invasion of the meeting, to which you had no invite and in a room to which you could not claim a right to access. You might as well have tried to introduce the European Common Agricultural Policy for all the relevance the HRA had to the matter. Again, before you do stupid things get proper legal advice.

                        2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                          FAIL

                          Re: localzuk localzuk localzuk Question.

                          "....The university I was in had this code of conduct, which is nearly identical to most other universities. The code of conduct states that all meetings must be notified to a registrar on the site. This registrar must determine whether the content of that meeting is controversial, or if any national figures were present. In our case, both were true, but the registrar didn't determine that they were (Lord Sainsbury was there...). After such a determination is made, the registrar was required to notify the students union of the meeting and allow them to organise representation. This was not done....." So they broke the uni code of conduct NOT the law. You DID break the law by trespassing. Even if the uni had broken the law it would still NOT give you the right to trespass, only to complain to the uni authorities that you thought the failure to tell you of the meeting was a breach of the code of conduct. Even if they had actually broken the Education Act it would still NOT give you the right to trespass, especially if you refused to leave when asked to.

                          ".....As students of the university, with no notices posted stating the room was closed to students, right of access was still there....." Rubbish. Simply being a student at a in does not grant you unfettered access to any uni building at all. Would you expect to just sail into one of your lecturers' offices as you please? How about a lab doing dangerous research, or a class you were not enrolled for? You simply and desperately tried to stretch the uni code of conduct into some tool to relieve you of any form of lawful behaviour, no doubt on the fanatical advice of some NUS bar "lawyer". Fail, as you found to your cost.

                          ".....The fact you mention 'civil trial' is indicative that you don't know what you're talking about - it was a criminal trial....." Never having been tried in any court I'll bow to your experience as a criminal. ROFL. Evidently you managed to understand which court you were being tried in even if your delusions of righteousness meant you failed miserably to grasp the basics of law.

                          "....Considering we ran all our protest plans via a solicitor before engaging in anything, I'd say we knew what we were doing." Then I'd suggest you ask for your consultation fee back and get better representation before your next stunt.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Question.

            Well they needed a smoke during the tea break

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Talking to the nice policemen"

    The best advice regarding this is: "Don't!"

    Sure, they'll want you to have a friendly chat "just to sort out a few details" and let you "explain" what's going on, but that's all part of the evidence gathering process. The Police are very often lazy and hope that you'll incriminate yourself by saying something which they can use against you later on

    Your best response to everything is a firm "No Comment" and make sure you get a Solicitor who will remind you not to answer anything.

    And if they offer you a Caution, don't take that, it probably means that they don't think they can get a conviction in Court, but lets them chalk up a success and leaves you with a Record.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

      If you're innocent and you don't cooperate, then they're much less likely to believe you. Also you're slowing down the investigation, which is unlikely to be in your own interests. So you may wish to consult a lawyer first, but you may well be advised to cooperate fully. Or not, as the case may be.

      Of course, the police may be in the process of 'fitting you up', I doubt it happens to random people often, but it's not unknown. However, they can't use anything you say off the record against you in court, as they have no record of it. So the purpose of off the record chats is to find out where to point the investigation.

      Your point about the caution is well-made though. That seems to be the easy thing for the police. They get a clear-up, and in a lot of cases I'm not sure they're too fussy about whether people are guilty or not. It's a nice way to get the paperwork done that makes plod look good.

      I know someone who was being bullied into accepting one over a minor fight with her ex-husband. Now there's no way in hell they can convict, because there's no evidence, it was a minor thing, in private, and he'd never have pressed charges anyway. He reported her in a fit of pique (tempers being high), but thought better of it. However some fuckwit plod thought it would look good on their figures to still get her to take a caution before the whole thing collapsed. Although to be fair, one of the other officers directly advised her not to sign - so he clearly has a sense of proportion and some human decency.

      I've also heard that this is a standard tactic with people on minor porn issues. It's not worth investigating, but a conviction would be nicer on the figures. So the suspect is offered a choice. Either take a caution, admit guild and go on the sex-offenders register. Hooray for us, we've got another percentage on our clear-up rate. Or plod will go to your family, friends and employer and loudly say we're investigation so-and-so for naughty porn, seize all their computers, make lots of noise and ruin their life.

      Sadly the police lost a lot of their sense of proportion when decision to prosecute was removed, and given to the CPS. Now they must investigate, or get CPS' permission to stop. Of course, that discretion was taken away due to past miss-use...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

        'If you're innocent and you don't cooperate, then they're much less likely to believe you. Also you're slowing down the investigation, which is unlikely to be in your own interests. So you may wish to consult a lawyer first, but you may well be advised to cooperate fully. Or not, as the case may be.'

        ^^In ref to the above quoted part^^

        You are under no legal obligation to provide the police with evidence, doing so simply hands them the case on a silver platter. If they want the evidence/information then they can get off their lazy fat backsides & find it out for themselves!

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

          Indeed you aren't under any legal obligation to help. However if you're innocent then it's in your interests to get it over with as quickly as possible. There are many possible reasons why you may not wish to hand over certain information - and therefore there can be good reasons not to cooperate. But petulance isn't one of them, so in most circumstances you're probably better of cautiously talking to them.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

            'If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.' - Cardinal Richelieu

            I dont suppose that rings any bells in your mind at all ? You may be innocent, but rest assured the police can always find something to hang you for if you are stupid enough to talk to them in anyway shape or form

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Talking to the nice policemen" @ i aint spartacus

            Speaking as someone who did exactly what you said and given that I was innocent and after 37 pre trial hearings and 4 failed trials before I was acquitted I would suggest that your advice to speak to the police is the last thing anyone should do.

            The police arent interested in proof of your innocence, only what they can cobble together for a conviction. Point them in the direction of evidence that proves you are innocent and they will look the other way.

            What you end up doing is playing the system, we sat on a crucial piece of evidence we had lawfully obtained whilst fighting to get the CPS to disclose it through normal channels. They fought desperatly not to release this information and lost, and even after being ordered by the court to release it they still refused.

            If you are arrested go no comment, if you are charged provide a written defence statement and give them as little as possible to work with, even if you are innocent.

            1. Old Handle

              Re: "Talking to the nice policemen" @ i aint spartacus

              There are times when it might actually be effective to talk to the police and "just clear this up", but by the time they're hauling computers out of your house I think you're past that point.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Talking to the nice policemen" @ i aint spartacus

              When I was arrested I knew I was completely innocent and so my initial thought on being taken down to the police station and asked if I wanted a solicitor was "No, why do I need one I am innocent"

              I then had a sense attack and changed my mind and asked for a duty solicitor. It was the best decision I have EVER made. His advice and the way he dealt with the police was superb.

              The second best decision I ever made was doing the first interview as a "no comment" interview. This gave me some time to try and see what the hell they thought they were on about. (BTW it is very, very hard to do a no comment interview as they will try ALL means to get you to make a comment at which point it all goes to pot. At several points the provocative questions made me feel like decking them, but just had to go "no comment".)

              Following that interview I did do comment interviews as I now had a better idea about what it was all about and I was more than ever convinced it was all bo**llocks.

              A month or so later the police informed me NFA.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

            > However if you're innocent then it's in your interests to get it over with as quickly as possible.

            No. It is in your interest to get it over with, with the minimum possible amount of negative repercussions to yourself. If this involves getting detained for the maximum time they are allowed in any given jurisdiction, repeating "I will not answer that question" like a broken record to anything they say, then so be it. This is the best strategy unless you're a pro (and beware particularly of the "good cop / bad cop" routine).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

          You are under no legal obligation to provide the police with evidence, doing so simply hands them the case on a silver platter. If they want the evidence/information then they can get off their lazy fat backsides & find it out for themselves!

          isn't that how the police gather evidence? By asking questions?

          What do you want them to do? Employ psychics instead?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @AC Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

            Remember these words "You do not have to say anything". The police are entitled to ask you questions, you are entitled to decline to answer them.

            If the police try to give you a hard time because you're not making their life easy by saying "Ok, it's a fair cop, Guv" and spilling the beans, they are abusing their powers.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

            Evidence literally means 'that which is seen'

            Ie that which can be presented before a court & in our society that means something that is scientifically provable

            So not hearsay or what is simply spoken

            1. Squander Two

              Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

              You are conflating a word's origin with its meaning. They're not the same thing. There certainly is such a thing as spoken evidence, and "sinister" doesn't mean "left-handed".

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

                I thought ambisinister mean 'left handed.'

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

                There certainly is such a thing as spoken evidence

                All spoken evidence is hearsay unless there are verifiable facts which can be proven using a scientific & repeatable process, which would mean things would be presented & seen.

                Hence not really evidence, mearly 'well he said...' & then 'she said...' Which is ? For those not following, it would be hearsay.

                1. Squander Two

                  "All spoken evidence is hearsay "

                  > All spoken evidence is hearsay unless there are verifiable facts which can be proven using a scientific & repeatable process, which would mean things would be presented & seen.

                  > Hence not really evidence, mearly 'well he said...' & then 'she said...' Which is ? For those not following, it would be hearsay.

                  You appear now to be conflating spoken evidence with evidence of speech. When a police officer stands up in the witness box and tells the court that he saw you entering the premises in question at 11:20pm, that's not hearsay. And he doesn't have to somehow prove it using a scientific and repeatable process before it qualifies as evidence.

      2. localzuk

        Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

        Indeed, a no comment interview is in your best interests. The police are there to get evidence of crime, not to determine if you're innocent. You cannot be coerced into talking. It cannot be implied from your silence that you are guilty, that's not how the legal system works.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

          It cannot be implied from your silence that you are guilty, that's not how the legal system works.

          But it is how the legal system used to work, in fact it was explictly written into our laws not all that long ago.

          And I do believe that judges are still allowed to direct jurors to see a suspects silence as an admission of guilt at their discretion. Naturally this hasnt happened in recent years, at least not that got any publicity.

          And so as a result large parts of society will still silence to be the same as you confessing, its all rather sad really when you think of it like that.

      3. chris lively

        Re: "Talking to the nice policemen"

        Your post is full of fail and I truly hope people don't take what you said to heart.

        It is never in your interest to talk with police. There is no such thing as "off the record" with a police officer. That is pure fiction. Whatever you say can be held against you in court. Period.

        People normally innocent of what they are accused of will generally embellish the truth slightly to prove their innocence. This is a known fact. However, it is lying to an officer, which is usually enough leverage to get someone to plead guilty on certain crimes just to be done with the ordeal. Otherwise they face obstruction charges as well.

        A police officer is not your friend. They aren't there to "clear things up" nor are they there to help you in any way shape or form. They are there simply to uncover evidence of crimes. They have no authority to prosecute and they certainly have no authority to convince a prosecutor to "go easy" on you.

        They are permitted to lie or otherwise mislead you in order to get you to fess up to something. This alone is very important. The police have zero authority or power to make any "deals". They often use misdirection and statements to cause you to admit to something you may not have done. Simple example:

        Officer: so mr jones, I clocked you at 75mph. Where are you going so fast?

        You: I was just going home.

        You have now just admitted to driving 75mph. The officer probably had no idea how fast you were going, but it's done now as you've "admitted" it by answering the question instead of denouncing the statement. The police are trained on how to do this. We, as regular people, aren't trained on how to avoid it. Lawyers are though.

        I've informed my kids and anyone that will listen that the first thing you do is ask for a lawyer and then shut up. Doesn't matter if you are innocent or guilty. Any competent attorney will tell you the same thing. Tell the attorney the truth and tell the police nothing unless your attorney explicitly advises you too.

        A friend of mine's son got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Police arrested him and he happily told them everything that he knew. However another person involved claimed my friends son was a part of it. From the police perspective how could be possibly know so much if he wasn't involved? The kid is now serving 10 years. His lawyer almost quit when he read what the kid had told them. So, yes, just keep your mouth shut and let the big boys ( and girls ) figure it out.

  16. Kit-Fox

    While it is still held in the UK that anyone who says nothing is guilty, it has been rather a long time since a judge has directed a jury to view a suspects silence as an admission of guilt.

    So the best advice I ever heard still stands;

    If you are ever arrested for anything, say nothing & continue to say nothing no matter what you are threatened with or presented with. Even when / if you get legal representation, remain silent even towards your legal representative. They are not there to get you out or to help you, they are there to make the process as quick as possible (while making the most money possible) & the best way to do that is to get you to confess.

    or more succinctly

    Nobody talks, everyone walks

    Remember the cops doing the interview are allowed to misrepresent the truth in order to get a confession & they are not in charge of how the CPS might proceed against you.

    Even if you find yourself in court, remain silent. Finding yourself in contempt of court is a much better prospect than what you have being charged with.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A weakness in the forensic tools

    One thought occurred to me reading this article, all of these forensic tools no doubt assume that the file system is a FAT or NTFS variant. I wonder what would happen if they tried them on (for example) a Linux system used ext2/3/4, XFS, JFS or even ReiserFS. I can just about see the plods assuming that the disk is encrypted, demanding the keys and then getting upset when you say that the disk is not encrypted, and you have no legal obligation to tell them what file system(s) you are using.

    Lets make it even better - have a 4-disk system running a mixture of the above layered on LVM2 which is in turn layered on a RAID-6 array. Guaranteed to screw the system.

    1. dv

      Re: A weakness in the forensic tools

      Using ReiserFS is an admission of guilt in and of itself;-) The CPS would no doubt construe that when they catch you using a filesystem developed by a convicted murderer.

    2. Graham Dawson

      Re: A weakness in the forensic tools

      They'll just ask for the encryption key.

      Yes I know it's not encrypted, and you know it's not encrypted, but they don't care.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A weakness in the forensic tools

      They have actually thought of that. Whilst Encase only supports the most common filesystems (including EXT variants) other tools are used for the others...

      And no, your scenario wouldn't even begin to screw the system much as you'd like to imagine it would.

    4. Samuel Penn

      Re: A weakness in the forensic tools

      I was on a Jury about 8 years ago, for a case which involved some computer evidence. The document that we (the Jury) was given included a lot of detail on how they got material from the computer, and described some of the technology involved. Even back then, the software supported at least ext2 file systems.

    5. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: A weakness in the forensic tools

      You may have noticed in these prosecutions that the police will occasionally say that suspect X used 'sophisticated computer techniques'. Meaning anything other than a plain vanilla operating system and browser. My Firefox install with AdBlocker, Ghostery and NoScript would qualify as 'sophisticated' in the eyes of plod. If I am not up to no good why should I need such add-on?s is the attitude.

      I expect every reader of El Reg would justify that appellation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A weakness in the forensic tools

        My Firefox install with AdBlocker, Ghostery and NoScript would qualify as 'sophisticated' in the eyes of plod

        I remember reading about a guy who was convicted for growing weed. When considering the sentence, the Judge took into account the sophistication of the set-up. It was basically a light and a timer, but the addition of that timer that cost him, because it made the set up more 'sophisticated'.

        Strikes me as sad that anyone could consider adding a timer as sophisticated......

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A weakness in the forensic tools

      > all of these forensic tools no doubt assume that the file system is a FAT or NTFS variant.

      The most common computer forensic tools in my area are Linux based. I hope this revelation will be enough to make you reconsider your absence of doubt.

  18. monkeyfish

    The only part of this that bothers me is

    Somewhat controversially however, the police have the right to take photographs, DNA samples and fingerprints. Without your consent. You can only get these erased from police databases six years after your arrest, whether or not you are convicted or even charged with anything.

    That bit. Obviously the police will have to take fingerprints/DNA in order to convict you. Fair enough. But holding them when your acquitted or found innocent? Not fair enough. After all, if you commit another crime they already have you name and arrest details, so they can match that to the newly taken (for this case) fingerprints/DNA. This will link you to the previous case. They don't actually need to keep the data in between.

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: The only part of this that bothers me is

      It also only applies in England and Wales. Here in Scotland your DNA must be wiped from the record if you are not charged or found Not Guilty. Just one little way in which Scotland is already a different country. Today I walked the dog across a farmer's field (responsibly) because there is no law of trespass here in Scotland, which is why we didn't need the access to the countryside much fought for Down South.

      1. durandal

        Re: The only part of this that bothers me is

        However, had you looked at the farmer funny, they'd have nicked you for a breach and questioned you without access to legal representation.

        It's not all honey and clover north of the border.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How do they cope with Tails ?

      Well thats the point isnt it, they bring in batteries and other equipment to keep your machine alive

      Not to mention there have been several well documented methods developed for recovering data from volatile memory, even after it has been shutdown and disconnected from power & you can be sure that the forensic IT teams in the police are looking at ways of making those usable in the field

  20. andy gibson

    Jailed for refusing to disclose password

    I seem to recall this got a lot of coverage at the time:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-11479831

    But heard nothing since. Has he ever given an interview?

  21. Fading Silver badge
    Joke

    Which is why.....

    My password is set to "f* off copper I'll never tell you my password".......

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Which is why.....

      That sort of thing's all very funny, until you're in court and have to say "My password is set to "f* off copper I'll never tell you my password".......M'lud.

      Funny when you set it as a password, but it doesn't engender too much sympathy for your case.

      1. tony2heads

        Re: Which is why.....

        How about "IHaveNoPassWord" as a password?

  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. David Glasgow

    Pretty good article....

    ... But in fact there is a lot more bumbling about, arbitrariness, argument and delay in the whole process. The police hi-tech units are hugely overworked, and often the work is rather less hi-tech than this article suggests.

    There is no universal standard for analysis, or reporting thereof, so even reading the statements prepared for court, it is often it is rather difficult to gain a clear picture of exactly what was where on a drive, and why.

    I recently spent a long time trying to find any research on the probability of finding illegal materials on an ordinary sample of domestic machines. There are anecdotes about malware, poisoned torrents and zip archives containing unexpected and unsought but disturbing images, but just how much illegal material is the baseline on your average multi user family machine?

    If any Reg readers have any references, or informed opinions, I would be interested to know.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In an ideal world.....

    this story would be true; in reality things are rather different.

    In my case a disgruntled ex employee accused me of child rape (a 3 y/o girl with learning difficulties)

    Evidence gathering

    Lots of items taken without being bagged and tagged, for 12 months they denied taking my car keys and I never did get the £100-£150 of foreign currency back.

    Rights while in custody

    I am seriously/chronically ill, yet was denied a chance to talk to the Police doctor about my condition and what needed doing if I became ill.

    Detail the evidence against you.

    Nope, they refused, just said they had some, even my barrister couldnt get anything out of them.

    Equipment returned in a few months

    Try over a year later, broken, with multiple Windows OS disks and a lot of SD Cards missing (6 PCs and a laptop). They did return the Mary Rose postcards they had seized though.

    Even though they had to drop all charges after 2 days, they still will not admit I am innocent, and the case files states "insufficient evidence"; even though all of the "facts" being used against me were shown to be a crock of lies.

    I used to be a ardent supporter of the police, now they can go fuck themselves.

    Anon of course.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: In an ideal world.....

      That's the problem. There's a whole bunch of good procedures, which are often followed.

      But there's no comeback if they don't. It's very rare for anyone to get punished for obvious abuses of power, and the worst case seems to be early retirement with sickness benefits and full pension. Which ain't exactly hardship.

      Therefore there's always that randomness - and fuck all you can do about it in terms of restitution.

      This is why the Andrew Mitchell case may be a good thing. It's forced the politicians to notice how bad things have become again. There's always going to be some abuses of power, but they've now added that senior-management New Labour public service apparachik 'you can't do anything about what I do' atttitude.

      It's not fair to blame it all on Labour, it's just theirs was the era when that senior public service management class really seemed to take hold of society. The professional quangocrats who will always get re-appointed, how ever many times they fuck up. And have managed to add City levels of pay to public service job security and pensions.

  25. Vociferous

    There's potential for scary miscarriages of justice in this.

    Especially the law against withholding decryption keys. From a legislative point of view it seems an incredibly odd law, as it effectively throws out the presumption of innocence and reverses the burden of proof.

  26. Gordon 11

    I didn't realize AI had got that far!

    If the suspect is an average home user then a specially trained PC would pay a visit..

    No doubt Apple are training up iPads to do this, while MS are working on the Surface?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Advice

    I used to work for a small (20 employee) it support firm. We had all sorts of PC's and laptops from domestic customers as well as business PC's in our workshop, dozens every day. Many customers had large porn archives, pics and video. We once informally asked the local police officer what should we do if ever we noticed anything properly bad (like full on child abuse). The advise was; if you report it they will be arrested and their equipment seized... ok. They will be interviewed and say there PC was in the computer shop for 3 days last week, it must have come from there. The police will arrive unannounced and seize all IT equipment from the company... servers, PC's, backup media, smartphones etc... anything with data storage capability, even equipment being worked on (other customers) may be taken. If the case goes to court, and that could take years, you won't see anything back until after the case.

    I'm not sure how may police forces would go so far, but we were warned against informing after we had worked on equipment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Advice

      About 12 years ago I worked for a small IT firm when a local bank manager brought in his personal PC that had an issue. Upon clearing up his machine I found a stash of indecent images of children.

      We reported it immediately and the police came round. They took a look at some of the pictures and decided to take the machine away.

      A week later they had us call the guy to say the machine was fixed and to come into the office to pick it up.

      They were in our offices waiting for him and nicked him. Didn't hear anything about it again.

      I would do the same thing where I work now without hesitation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Advice

        "About 12 years ago I worked for a small IT firm when a local bank manager brought in his personal PC that had an issue. Upon clearing up his machine I found a stash of indecent images of children."

        I had a similar issue when operating as a commercial mail admin some years back (outbound porn mail of dubious legality ended up in the postmaster box bounce box thanks to $idiot screwing up his mail, but with more than enough identifying data on it to show he'd sent it)

        I contacted the local police. They noted the details and never got back to me.

        6 weeks later said $idiot was in the local papers having been caught redhanded with electronic and phsyical kiddieporn. The stuff on paper(**) was more than enough to get a conviction.

        To this day, I don't know if they were already observing him or not. We were never contacted with regard to the case.

        (**) Nothing marginal about it. According to the court reports the individuals involved had been identified and were well short of puberty.

  28. JaitcH
    WTF?

    The best course of action for anyone really is to heed the warning ...

    It amazes me, given that 'Miranda Rights' form a common link in TV shows,etc., just how many American arrestees, if you believe 'reality' shows, break down and 'fess up! AND how many non-Americans think they have 'Constitutional rights'.

    Then we have the UK model: Open your mouth now and we'll check out your story/harass your witnesses OR we'll discount your alibi if you get one later.

    Then we have the Canadian Bill of Rights/Constitution which really let's you shut up; to refuse to even give your name; to even refuse to respond to police. Of this I have personal experience. Canadian police cannot fingerprint, DNA sample or photograph you unless you are charged and DNA only after a judge convicts you.

    I never respond to police in Canada IF I know I have committed no infraction. After my last 'don't talk' session, in which the cops made many mistakes, a couple of years pass and I receive a nice cheque for $17, 861. Damages and legal fees.

    This would not/could not happen in either the USA or the UK.

    The moral: Know your rights, exercise your rights. I know my rights in Canada and they include the right not to speak to police. And I know how they can work for you.

    Saying nothing and demanding a lawyer, are words every one should know. Most other legal points in the article are jurisdiction dependant.

    One other thing is common between these three Common Law countries - they ALL use the Reid Interrogation System. (reid.com) The cops are experts at interrogation, most of us are not although saying "Ah, the Reid System" during the early part of an interview throws most cops. It means they can't follow their routine. Study the Reid web site and understand cop strategies.

    Re-read the article where it says: One of the main aims of the initial interview is to shut down any potential “Get out of jail card”, such as claiming that evidence was planted or “I let my neighbour use my PC as his was broken”. It is also used to identify evidence that could potentially be used to mount any defence.

    Just ask for a lawyer and say absolutely nothing. BUT REMEMBER THIS IS VERY HARD.

    1. Vociferous

      Re: The best course of action for anyone really is to heed the warning ...

      A nitpick: in nearly all Western countries you DO have constitutional rights. They're not the same as in the US, because e.g. France and Finland naturally have different constitutions -- but they do have constitutions.

      My impression is that Britain is a bit of an outlier, with far less protection of individual's rights than the majority of other western countries. Certainly reversing the burden of proof and throwing out the presumption of innocence (as Britain does when a suspect refuses to hand over encryption keys) would be against the constitution of most European countries, and (although I haven't checked) possibly grounds for appeal to an EU court.

  29. Herby Silver badge

    Thankfully...

    Here in the USA, we have this silly thing called the 5th amendment. All the TV shows recite silly Miranda warnings:

    You have the right to be silent...

    Word of advise: Use it!. Shut up

    On the other hand, since us IT people go through drives, it may just be handy to have an older drive that has random numbers written all over it. Unplugged and all that. Let them try to find out something from that Rorschach test.

    The article begs the question: How does the author know all of these things??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thankfully...

      Here in the USA, we have this silly thing called the 5th amendment. All the TV shows recite silly Miranda warnings:

      You have the right to be silent...

      Word of advise: Use it!. Shut up

      Remember that now in the USA once arrested and taken to an interrogation/'interview' if you wish to exercise your 5th amendment rights to silence you have to tell the police you are doing so first & then shut up or you will charged with obstruction.

      The legal ruling on that was covered by elreg some time ago

  30. bernhard.fellgiebel

    Mein Herzliches Beileid

    Rule Of Law died in 2001. Rest in peace.

  31. tony2heads
    Linux

    Winhex

    So how would the deal with, for example encrypted ZFS on Linux?

  32. Chozo

    We are all terror suspects

    BBC television has produced several documentries showing people how to make explosives since the mid-eighties. Furthermore since the late nineties Dr Sidney Alford has become a regular guest star of these shows often seen teaching folk the basics of shaped charges for armour penetration and demolition. As for the Open Univeristy broadcasts, lets's just say it's a fume cabinet of potential horrors.

    Even without the Internet any good barrister could make the argument to a jury that you may of learned something that you later used for neferious purposes.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: We are all terror suspects

      "BBC television has produced several documentries showing people how to make explosives since the mid-eighties"

      Dry ice in in a plastic soda-pop bottle with the lid done up tightly counts as explosive (it'll destroy a letterbox). Before too long exploding a paperbag may be classified as one.

      Yet we still let children play with (small) fireworks, etc. They're explosives too...

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Alan Brown Re: We are all terror suspects

        ".......Yet we still let children play with (small) fireworks, etc. They're explosives too..." Yeah, 'cos Johnnie the five-year-old out on Bonfire Night with his sparkler has the intent to blow up a Tube train with it, right? Fail.

  33. Dick Emery

    There is no justice. There is just us.

    My friend was accused of violent threatening behaviour by another driver once. He won his case but it cost him a huge amount to prove his innocence and when he asked the judge (through his solicitor) for compensation he was told 'Tough luck. Take it as a lesson learned' by the judge.

    The law is an ass.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pr0n?

    The article mentions this several times. The more likely accusation will be media and perhaps software to much lesser extent. Remember to keep all your (il)legal files on a the cloud so that the popos can rip apart the NSA's data center to confiscate the encrypted volumes. (snicker)

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019