That explains why Sheppie, my border collie, started barking and pawing at the computer as soon as I installed Windows 10, he just knew something was terribly wrong.
Texas cops have hired a four-legged super-sleuth to sniff out hidden hard drives. Montgomery County Crimestoppers paid $17,000 for a chocolate labrador called Brody, who is apparently one of only two dogs in America trained to seek out computer storage devices. The cyber-canine has learned to pick up the smell of a common …
I can perhaps explain your downvotes Chris. It's clear to me you are likely a parent and your first thought is the well-being of your kids, so you might have missed another more dangerous aspect to your statement.
You see, every time a government wants to introduce some invasive new police powers, freedom-eroding legislation or privacy-destroying technology, they usually try to justify its introduction against the wishes of the people by one of two highly emotive rationalisations: preventing terrorism, or protecting children from paedophiles. The corollary, of course, is that once it is in place it is then used for everything but.
The reason behind such justification is of course to create the false dichotomy of being against the new invasive measure means one must be a supporter of terrorists or paedophiles. It is used to silence, by fear of guilt by accusation, any reasoned opposition to the new measure and force it into place.
Unfortunately, because of its effectiveness, this rationalisation has now been so heavily abused by so many politicians, so many times, for so long, that many people now experience a reflex opposition whenever they see it used. Your first comment could easily have been interpreted as exactly this kind of rationalisation, triggering this defensive reflex, even if that's not what you intended, and that's why it was downvoted.
In your second comment, you reacted by implying that anyone who downvoted you might be a closet paedophile - another tactic used by police-statists to sow fear and silence any opposition. This is why your second comment received even more downvotes than the first.
I understand that you are rightly concerned about your childrens' safety. But consider this: what is the safety of your children worth, if they have no freedom to live, because their rights have been eroded away by unscrupulous powermongers using fear for their safety as a lever to consolidate power?
Those who downvoted you aren't closet paedophiles. They are reasonable human beings who are rightly very concerned about how politicians are playing on our fears of terrorists and paedophiles to destroy our most basic civil liberties.
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I have downvoted you as using the "Won't somebody think of the children." argument bugs the hell out of me. As it is not a valid argument that trumps all others.
As for the story itself , I can see good and bad uses for a HD sniffing dog.
Good - Finds data hidden by criminals.
Bad - Finds data hidden from the prying eyes of a authoritarian regime.
>I have downvoted you as using the "Won't somebody think of the children." argument bugs the hell out of me.
I haven't downvoted but won't someone think of that cats?
My thought was why sniff out hard disk drives, hackers can hide everything they could ever want or need on a tiny micro SD card and use a usb card reader. Of course I wasn't thinking like those 'others' and how much data they want to create, share and store and they use external hard disk drives rather than micro sd to hide stuff.
Not that I haven't shifted a bunch of DVDs to hdisk but I don't hide those hdisks. When it comes to hidden micro SD good luck to them trying to find them, especially the ones that don't exist (demolish a house piece by piece and examine wreckage?).
Because the dog is a very court friendly way of legitimately finding evidence that you suspect is there because of illegal surveillance, an informer, or because you planted it yourself.
Walking into somebody's house with a search warrant and start taking apart a specific bit of a wall on the first try is a bit suspicious
I think that's rather unfair on an otherwise good investigative technique. Got any evidence that such abuse has ever happened?
Proving such abuse would be exceptionally difficult, as it would almost certainly require the handler to confess to the abuse; it might be possible to capture such abuse on video, but the cues used might be sufficiently subtle that it would require an examination of multiple true and false alerts to sort out.
However, a study by University of California at Davis showed that dogs do take cues from their handlers-- intentionally or otherwise-- with a recommendation that the study be replicated and expanded to determine what cues were causing the false alerts.
AC: "...got any evidence...?"
Tons of indicative evidence, click here: http://bfy.tw/3S8g
If you dig deep enough you will find the news items about the clear example of such a controversy that was documented in the US courts, about the dog training company that was providing civil rights violating fake sniffer dogs. It was in the news several years ago; quite the scandal in the USA's 'nothing to see here, move along, hey a squirrel!, attention span of a moth' sort of approach to such should-be-massive national embarrassments.
Frankly, it's pathetic that you're sitting in front of an internet connected device and can't be arsed enough to follow up with your own search. Your rebuttal deserves heaps of ridicule. Pure FAIL on your part.
What you're supposed to do is present something like a Snopes link that provides explicit evidence to support your contrary view. Not sit on your ill-informed brain stem demanding proof. Geesh.
>The handler knows how to make the dog sit, drugs or no drugs.
Dogs are mainly used at border control. Customs officers have the powers to take you and your property to places you don't want to go without the need for a dog. The dogs are there to save them time.
I frequently get searched both leaving and entering countries and have seen these dogs in action many times. Not once have they "been instructed" to find anything, it's not necessary.
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@cameron : There's a book by a woman who has contributed to this site in the past called Headspace which, amongst other things, suggests just that. It's well worth a read, by the way (reminding me to buy it for my Kindle now).
would that be this book? http://www.amazon.co.uk/Headspace-Sniffer-Adventures-Surveillance-Society/dp/0753515547
When it comes to hidden micro SD good luck to them trying to find them, especially the ones that don't exist (demolish a house piece by piece and examine wreckage?).
It gets even more interesting if you collect coins.
On a side note, I guess the likes of Assange will be happy the dog only finds porn drives, all the drives with government data are thus perfectly safe. By the way, I don't want to know how porn-containing drives smell different - I already have a too lively imagination :)
High speed, Ex-FAT formatted 128GB MicroSD is now affordable, so many Tera Bytes of data could easily be hidden in a small space e.g. a belt! Strongly encrypted NAS, Cloud and P2P data collections, and fake data facades will make this low tech. idea look even more stupid, futile and poor value.
I think it will still take actual smart human detective work and frustrating their protection networks to find and stop these sick people, especially the sick predatory media sources, who may have government protection or even be part of government!
Every time I have dismantled a disk, it has been held together with screws (I have not tried one full of helium yet). There are plenty of processes making and populating PCBs that could leave a smell, but none of them are unique to a hard disk controller card. My first hard disk (320MB was big in those days - full height 5¼") had a packed PCB that was the full size of the device. These days, the disk is a quarter the area, and the PCB is even smaller.
With spinning disks there's usually a sealant along the edge of the enclosure, and if it's not a helium-filled drive, a breather to equalise the inside pressure with the environment. The breather might be assembled using glue (Digital RA81 drives had a spate of the glue used on the breathers becoming brittle and contaminating the upper platter, causing failures on head 13), and I can well imagine the sealant being called glue.
Helium-filled drives will be indicated by the dog doing a squeaky high-pitched bark.
My question is how long does glue outgassing continue? Sure, it does a lot at the beginning when it's applied but after a certain amount of time it's got to be pretty well depleted. Then there are other questions like, can you accelerate the process by baking it for a day/week/month in much the same fashion as paint? Somehow I think these questions will get answered pretty quickly as the criminal element usually has the means and certainly has the desire to mitigate the training of such canines.
Any criminal smart enough to do that would be smart enough not to leave their illegal images on a hidden hard drive. If I wanted to hide something like that, I'd put it in a truecrypt hidden volume. The non-hidden one would contain all my financial information and the family photos - plausible denyability as to why I would have anything encrypted at all, because I'm aware that refusing to hand over a decryption key to police would not impress a jury.
Except by now the plods are well aware of TrueCrypt/VeraCrypt hidden volumes and will just ask for the secret secret key.
Ah, but they would have to prove that such existed. This is where the real danger lies: you could be accused of refusing to give up a secondary key where none exists, and then it becomes the usual lottery of who the judge will decide for (having reviewed many court decisions I am no longer sure there is any real rhyme or reason to it, and it certainly appears to have little association with what we consider justice).
"Ah, but they would have to prove that such existed. This is where the real danger lies: you could be accused of refusing to give up a secondary key where none exists,"
And that's why you're screwed. Plausible deniability doesn't exist against an adversary that assumes guilt, regardless of whether or not the law says otherwise. As far as they're concerned, you're an Enemy of the State, a direct threat to the future of the country's existence, so no holds are barred.
My question is how long does glue outgassing continue? Sure, it does a lot at the beginning when it's applied but after a certain amount of time it's got to be pretty well depleted.
And then you hide the drive in a cavity behind the closet where you store the paint and household chemicals.
You underestimate the sensitivity of a dog's nose. Unless one of those chemicals is exactly the same as the drive glue, a dog can usually sniff it out in spite of covers because it can distinguish between the different substances. As one site put it, dogs smell the way we see: we smell a forest, they smell each tree.
As one site put it, dogs smell the way we see: we smell a forest, they smell each tree.
I am waiting then for the first dog to rip an AXE user to shreds. That stuff stinks, certainly if it's applied by lusers who use that deo as advertised (diagonally across the body in a way that guarantees you empty half the can before you stop). If it's offensive to people with a reasonably functioning sense of smell, it must be hell for a dog..
"please meet my friend, usb pen drive."
There are now 128 GB, 256 GB, and even 512 GB USB3 thumb drives. I'm looking at a 128 GB unit right now. It cost less than the first USB thumb drive I ever bought, a 256 MB drive, <mumble> years ago. It's trivial to put USB thumb drives in places where they would never be found. Or even sniffed.
Of course, kiddie-fiddlers tend to not be the brightest, and occasionally there's a cop who has an IQ slightly above room temp, so I'd still expect a few kiddie-fidlers to get caught.
'Canine dog' in the article was in a quote from a police officer... if he was speaking aloud at a press conference, he may well have meant (and said) 'K-9 dog' - to distinguish a trained police dog from Mrs Trellis-next-door's canine of uncertain ancestry.
It seems 'K-9' is often used in the US to refer to police dogs.
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So if I bring my harddisk along (or have one in my possession) I'm automatically labeled as a pedophile and need to prove my innocence by showing them what kind of digital contents I have? Yeah right, no way you're getting access to my stuff without a search warrant.
Cynical? You bet, because I can't help wonder if that'll be the next step here.
""(Investigators) went in and collected things and didn't find what they were looking for, and that's when they called in this canine dog to come in and assist and on the second round he found the devices that they were looking for,""
So were there independent witnesses present at the time of the second search, or could anybody present have planted anything? The smell of horseshit is wafting steamy plumes over the above quote at least. Might be true, but -in context- sounds like bollocks.
That bit is sort of believable...dogs have an incredible sense of smell so being able to find bits of technology is credible. It's the fact that they found exactly what they were looking for while -presumably- proving their tech-smelling dog that has a malodorous aroma to it. There's someone the police wanted to nail and there's budget to be had for the development of tech-sniffing dogs; all of which could be solved by dropping a HDD full of kiddieporn into the back of a wardrobe.
Could be a righteous bust for all I know; but there is strong motivation for planting things and no controls that I'm aware of.
It's hard to know where to find a hard drive if it's for example hidden inside a wall cavity. There are tons of wall cavities and other nice little crevices in any house that would be indistinguishable from actual house even with people searching, so without a sniffer dog it would be like trying to find a nonferrous needle in a haystack. And they can't just tear the house apart in a search; even with a warrant, if they turn up empty, there's a risk of a suit on a Fourth Amendment claim the search was unreasonable. And last I checked, this hasn't been fully challenged yet, so there's a risk the police lose such a suit.
As busted drug mules have found out, it only takes a tiny amount of residue for a drug dog to catch onto your swag bag, even if you vacuum sealed it and everything, simply because the necessity to handle the goods before sealing it tends to cause traces to end up on the exterior where it can be sniffed. The kind of attention needed to prevent this is close to the attention to detail found in chip foundries (also a place where tiny contamination has a big impact).
I smuggled skunk from the Netherlands to France for personal use on a holiday. There were no border guards so I was being overly-cautious but with some cause - the French prosecute cannabis exactly as they prosecute heroin.
I chose to buy a scented candle in a coloured-glass vase, melt the wax, insert the dope, put the scented wax back around it. I doubt a dog could have detected any dope odour from it.
You'd be wrong. A dog's nose is that damn sensitive. IOW, they'd be able to sniff the dope AND the candle. You can't mask odors with a dog as they can pick out the individual scents. About the only way to beat the drug dog (and it's TOUGH) is to completely seal the stuff in gas-tight material and make absolutely sure no trace of it is left to permeate out and catch the dog's nose.
FWIW, I know a woman who has been smuggling Class A drugs from the Netherlands to the UK for the past thirty years. She takes no precautions and yet she's never been caught for the simple reason she doesn't get nervous, she's a bit of a sociopath. I don't approve, she has killed many people, but the cops aren't interested in her so what do you do?
My candle trick was mainly to clam my nerves, but the wax stops he smell getting out if it wasn't in the air when the candle was remelted. To detect that tiny level of hash, well the dog would false positive every bit of luggage leaving the Netherlands.
Better policy would be to retrain the dog to sniff out cancer and end the cannabis prohibition.
You may wish to use the "Joke Alert" icon in future if you intended this as a joke...if this was intended as a joke. (OK, if you used mobile, I'll forgive that)
I think he's referring to "skunk" as in a particularly odorous kind of marijuana. It would be the kind dogs would be able to sniff out easily if they were in range.
I actually built my own forge to melt-hard disks (for about £10 for the iron bucket and fire-clay) but that is for long term disposal of hard-disks. In an actual police raid though you have about 15 seconds unless you live in a lair, so sitting on a DVD in your back pocket is best advice. They might theoretically be able to reconstruct all the aluminum fragments, but they won't. They rely mostly on Hum-Int, which is why you train to say 'No Comment'.
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