Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




The Bigger Your Hard Drive, The Longer You Wait For Trial?

from the details-please...? dept

The Inquirer is a bit short on details on this story, so perhaps someone here can fill us in. They seem to be saying, however, that police in the UK are justifying holding suspects in computer crime cases in jail for a period of 90 days because it takes longer to go through a hard drive than a stack of papers. As the Inq notes, as hard drives get bigger, does that mean the pre-trial time in jail gets longer? Even worse, now that so much is moving to network based storage, where the whole damn internet may be your "hard drive," can they just hold you indefinitely while they read everything online?

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  • identicon
    lhgg, 1 Nov 2005 @ 4:34am

    No Subject Given

    of course the are justifed fools

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jesse McNelis, 1 Nov 2005 @ 5:45am

    so...what if they just printed everything out.

    A stack of papers is just as difficult to search, probably more, than a harddrive. If someone has a 100GB of word documents, then if it were not for the harddrive I'm sure they would have the same amount of data in printed paper form.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ted, 1 Nov 2005 @ 5:53am

    fools...

    Someone should show them Google Desk top. it takes all of .5 seconds to search my hard drives all three of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    giafly, 1 Nov 2005 @ 7:04am

    Other news today

    "Low entrance requirements mean police are ill-equipped to combat crime, a think-tank report has concluded. Politeia warned bright officers leave and those who seem incompetent and unable to inspire confidence stay on" - BBC.

    Perhaps there are too few computer-literate officers to search drives promptly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    giafly, 1 Nov 2005 @ 7:13am

    Background Notes

    "Prime Minister Tony Blair has firmly backed controversial police demands to be able to detain terrorist suspects without charge for up to 90 days." - Yahoo! News
    90 days detention - Google Search

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John, 1 Nov 2005 @ 7:48am

    That's retarded

    Police have tools built for searching drives. They don't take that long to run at all. Check out Encase which is able to find specific kinds of files. The point is, whatever they are looking for could be found via automated tools. Thats what computers are good for. So I say this is BS. I gotta fight this anyways... I have about 3 terrabytes of total storage at my house.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Panaqqa, 1 Nov 2005 @ 8:12am

      Re: That's retarded

      I guess that people under suspicion will just have to start using PGP to strong encrypt directories. After all, the 90 days could never be justified if the police didn't stand a chance in hell of cracking the code, could it?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Panaqqa, 1 Nov 2005 @ 8:17am

    90 days while the police search a computer?

    Hmmm. Could they still justify the 90 days if the suspect had encrypted directories with PGP or some other strong method? After all, apply 1024-bit strong encryption and ten trillion years wouldn't be enough, would it? Would they then ask for life in jail without charges while they tried the first 10^35 possible private keys?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Andrew Fernie, 1 Nov 2005 @ 11:14am

      Re: 90 days while the police search a computer?

      Sounds like a simple solution doesn't it? The only problem is that under the provisions of the Regulatory of Investigatory Powers Bill passed a few years back you are required by law to provide the Police with your PGP key if they obtain a warrant demanding it. Refuse, and they don't need to worry about keeping you in for 90 days as you've just handed yourself a jail sentence of up to 2 years.

      In case you were wondering... no, losing your key isn't a defence. Welcome to totalitarian Britain.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris, 1 Nov 2005 @ 10:13am

    Automated tools

    There is alot more to Computer forensics than simply running google desktop.

    You do of course realize they can see the files you have deleted or at least portions of them and even if you take a hammer to your hard drive there is a good chance they will get back a good chunk of it...

    When you set up a trial and want to convict someone of a crime you don't look at thier desktop for a file that says "kiddie porn" there is a good chance the criminal has researched 6-12 ways to hide this from most people... The police need to determine what system the user used to keep the files hidden.. and then to crack it or restore the data... THEN search it.. THEN catalog it.

    Sometimes it's as simple as dropping to dos in a directory where the files are all named like CK1678.jpg which is the initials of a girl or photographer and then doing ren *.jpg to *.txt suddenly it drops out from "radar" because neither the name nore the suffix is suspect... now delete all those files and hit the HD with a hammer.... that's really going to make some computer forensics guy pissed off.. he will find it... but it will take a while.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      mojo, 1 Nov 2005 @ 10:36am

      Re: Automated tools

      what are you, retarded? If you "smash a HDD with a hammer" you will NOT get the data back. the platters in the drive will be warped, so you will neither be able to spin them OR read them since the magnetic field would be skewed out of shape. i THINK dammit why do you think drives fail when they get a single tiny scratch from the read/write heads on a platter? why do you think disk scanning and repair utility's have a surface scan option? Not to mention there are plenty of ways to destroy data while preserving a HDD I.E. rewriting multiple hex codes 14-15 times so that the original data has no binary significance to what it once was.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rob, 1 Nov 2005 @ 11:13am

        Re: Automated tools

        >>Not to mention there are plenty of ways to destroy data while preserving a HDD I.E. rewriting multiple hex codes 14-15 times so that the original data has no binary significance to what it once was.
        Now do this on the above mentioned 3 terabytes of storage mentioned above, while the police are kicking your door in. It can be done, but it takes time that people generally don't have.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        cycle003, 1 Nov 2005 @ 12:01pm

        Re: Automated tools (mojo's ignorant comment)

        Apparently you are either not very bright or just ignorant about computers and/or data storage. you are correct that methods exist for eliminating data from a hard drive, the most common of which is by repeated, thorough overwrites, and many utilities can be found for doing so. However, do you actually think that the data ‘magically disappears’ just because the platter is warped, can’t spin or is even broken into tiny pieces. Smashing a disk with a hammer will not destroy all of the magnetically stored data, which is written at the micron (and sub-micron) scale. Scanning and tunneling microscopy techniques have been employed to recover data from damaged or ‘erased’ hard drives. Below, I have provided a link to a paper to get you started on remedying your ignorance about this topic. Before you start calling people retarded, you should make sure you are not the one who sounds ignorant. http://www.dataclinic.co.uk/data-recovery/learn-more-about-microscopy.htm

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jeff Hansen, 1 Nov 2005 @ 10:54am

    search engine

    Hi,
    I guess the key stone cops don't have google's desktop search engine. That would explain why they think it takes longer to search thru a computer drive than a large stack of paper. (wouldn't they index that stack of paper in a computer database?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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