It seems that some folks in the UK police department are in their "wishful thinking" mode as we approach the holidays -- and those wishes seem to include everything. Specifically, detective superintendent Charlie McMurdie is asking for a theoretical device that would basically tell police when they're in the presence of a computer being used for criminal purposes
, which he refers to as a "breathalyzer" for computer crimes:
"Do we need to seize five computers in a suspect's house or could we use a simple tool to preview on site and identify there's that one email we are looking for and we can then use that and interview the person now, rather then waiting six to 12 months for the evidence to come back to us?
"For example, look at breathalysers - I am not a scientist, I could not do a chemical test on somebody when they are arrested for drink driving but I have a tool that tells me when to bring somebody in."
I mean, sure, it would be good to be able to do that... but how could you possibly develop an algorithm that would work that way. A breathalyzer works because you have one single (measurable) thing to measure: blood-alcohol levels. For crime, there's simply no way to do something like that. Yes, it is a good idea for police to be able to do better computer forensics, and not have to wait forever for computer contents to be examined -- but this seems like pure wishful thinking.