back to article EFF: Cops' spyware for parents is insecure – and a fat waste of money

Spyware distributed by US police to parents so they can check their precious little snowflakes aren't getting up to no good online is worse than useless, according to a new report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). The Windows and OS X software, dubbed ComputerCOP, has been purchased by 245 or so police departments …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    The EFF uses Wireshark on Windows XP to do its packet sniffing?

    Strange days indeed. Home or Pro I wonder?

    1. David Pollard

      Re: The EFF uses Wireshark on Windows XP to do its packet sniffing?

      Well spotted. But isn't this typical of installations actual users might have?

  2. moiety

    "Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco has bought 43,000 copies of the software and distributed it to his constituents. Totally coincidentally, the firm selling it has contributed nine times to his reelection campaign."

    Would that not be fraud; and possibly money laundering, to name but two?

    1. Suricou Raven Silver badge

      It's effectively bribery, but there's nothing wrong with bribing a politician providing you follow the established procedures. It's regulated, and called 'lobbying' instead.

      1. Graham Marsden
        Alert

        Remember...

        ... an honest politician is one who *stays* bought..

  3. Tommy Pock

    New In This Version

    Store the keystrokes of every user on a PC, save them unencrypted locally, and also have them sent as plain text to a third party server God knows where.

  4. Old Handle
    Holmes

    Didn't the FBI just arrest a a guy for selling something very similar?

    1. Graham Marsden
      Childcatcher

      @Old Handle

      Ah, but it's different when *they* do it...

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    Give me the boy and I will.imprison the man.

    I am not saying this is the case but given the relative ease that this software can be accessed with, the limes of the FBI, NSA etc could use this for profiling youngsters and denying them employment or finger pointing in various types of criminal case , based solely on their online habitsa s a kid.

    Cop types don't exhibit much imagination they just look for the easiest nick or scapegoat.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "[...] large numbers of copies have been purchased with funds seized under civil forfeiture laws. These statutes allow police to seize any property found that they believe may be the proceeds of crime and spend it on their own budgets, regardless of any actual criminal convictions."

    With laws like that the police won't need any budget at all. They can just suit themselves, and take what they (claim to) believe to be proceeds of crimes, and then splash it out at their own whim? And the victim (suspect) will never see their property again, even if they are cleared of all charges (or not even trialled in court at all)? Seriously? Surely there must be some misinterpretation of the law here. Please tell me that this isn't true.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Unhappy

      @AC - "Please tell me that this isn't true."

      Unfortunately it's very true and very disturbing...

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/instituteforjustice/2014/03/12/cops-use-traffic-stops-to-seize-millions-from-drivers-never-charged-with-a-crime/

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's even worse than the UK

    At least here you have to have been convicted of something before the cops can seize your assets. But at that point anything the cops say has to be treated as true - they can whatever amount they like as "proceeds of crime". They claim what are maybe reasonable amounts when they catch the big boys, but when they catch the shrimps they claim amounts so large that no-one in their right mind could believe them, but the courts have to accept them - and make an order to seize current assets but worded such that if the victim starts earning a wage and saving a few pennies the cops can collect those savings because the current assets weren't didn't cover their original claim. I don't think any of this goes to our cops, so it isn't greed that motivates them to inflate the figures - it's just malicious viciousness. So not quite as bad as large chunks of the USA - but maybe, as it's malice rather than avarice, it suggests that some of our cops are nastier than the USA version.

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