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Police set to step up hacking of home PCs

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Lt-DavidW    2
The Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into people?s personal computers without a warrant.b>

The move, which follows a decision by the European Union?s council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state which drives ?a coach and horses? through privacy laws.

The hacking is known as ?remote searching?. It allows police or MI5 officers who may be hundreds of miles away to examine covertly the hard drive of someone?s PC at his home, office or hotel room.

Material gathered in this way includes the content of all e-mails, web-browsing habits and instant messaging.

Under the Brussels edict, police across the EU have been given the green light to expand the implementation of a rarely used power involving warrantless intrusive surveillance of private property. The strategy will allow French, German and other EU forces to ask British officers to hack into someone?s UK computer and pass over any material gleaned.

A remote search can be granted if a senior officer says he ?believes? that it is ?proportionate? and necessary to prevent or detect serious crime ? defined as any offence attracting a jail sentence of more than three years.

However, opposition MPs and civil liberties groups say that the broadening of such intrusive surveillance powers should be regulated by a new act of parliament and court warrants.

They point out that in contrast to the legal safeguards for searching a suspect?s home, police undertaking a remote search do not need to apply to a magistrates? court for a warrant.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, the human rights group, said she would challenge the legal basis of the move. ?These are very intrusive powers ? as intrusive as someone busting down your door and coming into your home,? she said.

?The public will want this to be controlled by new legislation and judicial authorisation. Without those safeguards it?s a devastating blow to any notion of personal privacy.?

She said the move had parallels with the warrantless police search of the House of Commons office of Damian Green, the Tory MP: ?It?s like giving police the power to do a Damian Green every day but to do it without anyone even knowing you were doing it.?

Richard Clayton, a researcher at Cambridge University?s computer laboratory, said that remote searches had been possible since 1994, although they were very rare. An amendment to the Computer Misuse Act 1990 made hacking legal if it was authorised and carried out by the state.

He said the authorities could break into a suspect?s home or office and insert a ?key-logging? device into an individual?s computer. This would collect and, if necessary, transmit details of all the suspect?s keystrokes. ?It?s just like putting a secret camera in someone?s living room,? he said.

Police might also send an e-mail to a suspect?s computer. The message would include an attachment that contained a virus or ?malware?. If the attachment was opened, the remote search facility would be covertly activated. Alternatively, police could park outside a suspect?s home and hack into his or her hard drive using the wireless network.

Police say that such methods are necessary to investigate suspects who use cyberspace to carry out crimes. These include paedophiles, internet fraudsters, identity thieves and terrorists.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said such intrusive surveillance was closely regulated under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. A spokesman said police were already carrying out a small number of these operations which were among 194 clandestine searches last year of people?s homes, offices and hotel bedrooms.

?To be a valid authorisation, the officer giving it must believe that when it is given it is necessary to prevent or detect serious crime and [the] action is proportionate to what it seeks to achieve,? Acpo said.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, agreed that the development may benefit law enforcement. But he added: ?The exercise of such intrusive powers raises serious privacy issues. The government must explain how they would work in practice and what safeguards will be in place to prevent abuse.?

The Home Office said it was working with other EU states to develop details of the proposals.

Source: Times Online

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danisflying527    5

Tis good I live in australia then eh ;)

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fhpuqrgrpgvirzhpujbj    46

No it isn't you're losing p2p soon unless they canceled that.

Anyway expect to see some company like mcafee or the people that make avast or some random programmer release something that blocks you from this within a week. Anyway thank god im in the US.

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+John Teacake    450

Lol why would Mcafee or Avast do that? Yeah some random programmer. Again it comes down to if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear scenarios. Id love to be in one of these kinds of jobs :D

After just reading this it sounds as though they dont know their arse from their elbow lol.

Police might also send an e-mail to a suspect?s computer. The message would include an attachment that contained a virus or ?malware?. If the attachment was opened, the remote search facility would be covertly activated. Alternatively, police could park outside a suspect?s home and hack into his or her hard drive using the wireless network.

That made me chuckle haha. So Terrorists and Peados be warned don't open any Facebook/Twitter/Bebo E mails from the police wanting you to download their latest calender/screen saver/insert random paylo;) here ;)

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Colin-uk    134

in other news there has been a rise in the use of hard drive encryption software :shifty:

its just another step in the cat and mouse game that we call privacy.

and if your stupid enough to open random attachments anyways, well, just lol. :p

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thealexweb    204

Kaspersky will stand up to anything! Nothing has ever got through to my PC yet.

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Human.Online    7,842

Let them try. That is all I have to say!

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Soldiers33    139

so how would they know who's computer belongs to a terorrist or any other criminal?

and im sure no1 can access your pc remotly if you disabled all the services which allow you to do so.

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Harlem39s Finest    0

true crypt ftw ?

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insomniac9    13

I second that let them try and if they delete a file then you can sue them for theft.

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Numpad    0
I second that let them try and if they delete a file then you can sue them for theft.

well, it wouldnt be theft as they didnt take it.. it would more likely be criminal damage

and no one sues in england.. especially MI5 lol

But, if i ever thought someone was in my pc and i looked out my window and saw MI5 hacking into my hard drive via wireless (even though my pc connected via ethernet lol)

i would be out there letting the tires down on the van :|

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Human.Online    7,842

Moreover...

Look, I have twice had to deal with the Police in the UK related to what would be termed "Internet crimes". Twice, at 2 different companies we have needed to involve the police. We knew nothing would come of it, but for the sake of being seen to do the right thing, we did it.

They are bumbling nincompoops at best. Each time, the first officer taking the report just looked lost and out of his depth. Then it gets referred to the "person who knows a bit about IT". This person has assumptions based upon the fact they understand what a bookmark is and have a mate who runs a website.

After complaining, it gets escalated to someone with some level of power but no level of understanding. Then you push for 6 months, and give up because you have what you needed - a crime report number.

Seriously. Someone in the government with little understanding beyond what they have seen on Spooks, has suggested this. A bunch of back-benchers who justify themselves by running with the pack have agreed. It gets passed as a law. Police stations will receive a ?2000 5 page document detailing it, and the promise of training and new PC. Training will never be given, but the PC will arrive. It will sit boxed for 3 months, then someone will set it up. It will be used for emailing, left unsecured, and possibly a little solitaire.

The general police will have no idea about any of the above.

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.Kompressor    8
No it isn't you're losing p2p soon unless they canceled that.

Anyway expect to see some company like mcafee or the people that make avast or some random programmer release something that blocks you from this within a week. Anyway thank god im in the US.

ROFL :rofl: nice comeback reply....lol made me really laugh out loud.... :laugh:

glad i live/work on a small island at the moment away from the grip of big brother governments.

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Colin-uk    134
Moreover...

Look, I have twice had to deal with the Police in the UK related to what would be termed "Internet crimes". Twice, at 2 different companies we have needed to involve the police. We knew nothing would come of it, but for the sake of being seen to do the right thing, we did it.

They are bumbling nincompoops at best. Each time, the first officer taking the report just looked lost and out of his depth. Then it gets referred to the "person who knows a bit about IT". This person has assumptions based upon the fact they understand what a bookmark is and have a mate who runs a website.

After complaining, it gets escalated to someone with some level of power but no level of understanding. Then you push for 6 months, and give up because you have what you needed - a crime report number.

Seriously. Someone in the government with little understanding beyond what they have seen on Spooks, has suggested this. A bunch of back-benchers who justify themselves by running with the pack have agreed. It gets passed as a law. Police stations will receive a ?2000 5 page document detailing it, and the promise of training and new PC. Training will never be given, but the PC will arrive. It will sit boxed for 3 months, then someone will set it up. It will be used for emailing, left unsecured, and possibly a little solitaire.

The general police will have no idea about any of the above.

LOL, So true its actually a little sad:pp

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Brian M.    777

So is the next stage that we be arrested for perverting the course of justice if we secure our wireless network and don't open random email attachments?

I'm sorry, but the police shouldn't be above the law. People have been put in prison for writing viruses, and there's no way the police should be able to do it.

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leesmithg    226
Kaspersky will stand up to anything! Nothing has ever got through to my PC yet.

Here we go again, yet another lame scheme by the Real Nazi party to spy on people they suspect are doing

wrong.

Hacking is illegal, so therefore Real Nazi party are condoning hacking.

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The_Decryptor    1,105

If the police have enough evidence to think you're an immediate threat for serious criminal activities, they should have enough evidence to be able to get a warrant.

I just don't understand warrant less searches, it just seems to be a way of saying "you don't need evidence, a hunch is enough". Over here the system's setup so that the police can get a warrant just by talking to a justice of the peace, turns out lots of police had friends who were JP's who were more than willing to sign off on warrants without looking at the evidence or anything. Which of course lead to loads of drug raids against the new boyfriend of the police officers ex, somebody who cut them off in traffic, etc.

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Hum    6,933

Let's allow random window peeking as well. :rolleyes: Might catch a few criminals that way.

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leesmithg    226
If the police have enough evidence to think you're an immediate threat for serious criminal activities, they should have enough evidence to be able to get a warrant.

I just don't understand warrant less searches, it just seems to be a way of saying "you don't need evidence, a hunch is enough". Over here the system's setup so that the police can get a warrant just by talking to a justice of the peace, turns out lots of police had friends who were JP's who were more than willing to sign off on warrants without looking at the evidence or anything. Which of course lead to loads of drug raids against the new boyfriend of the police officers ex, somebody who cut them off in traffic, etc.

Yeah thats true.

When I was younger and it may still go on, certain kozzers would take drugs from users they had stopped and searched and sell them in the local pub.

The reason crime is out of control in Britain is the governments lame changing the way crime is recorded to make figures look better, the PCSO officers that only do the job as they failed the traffic wardens exams that have no powers of arrest, coppers going bankrupt because they thought the police service was a civil service position earning lots of money and not locking up criminals, they would rather put stupid tags on them, that under a hot steamy bath can be easily removed and stuck next to the base station.

This government have a lot to answer for, I hope they get removed this year when a general election will be held, not May, probably November and whoever replaces them starts listening to the electorate.

As for the police get rid of PCSO officers, cut down the paper work and get coppers patrolling the streets 24/7/365 rather than the odd car floating around every third Sunday in June if it is sunny.

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+John Teacake    450
Moreover...

Look, I have twice had to deal with the Police in the UK related to what would be termed "Internet crimes". Twice, at 2 different companies we have needed to involve the police. We knew nothing would come of it, but for the sake of being seen to do the right thing, we did it.

They are bumbling nincompoops at best. Each time, the first officer taking the report just looked lost and out of his depth. Then it gets referred to the "person who knows a bit about IT". This person has assumptions based upon the fact they understand what a bookmark is and have a mate who runs a website.

After complaining, it gets escalated to someone with some level of power but no level of understanding. Then you push for 6 months, and give up because you have what you needed - a crime report number.

Seriously. Someone in the government with little understanding beyond what they have seen on Spooks, has suggested this. A bunch of back-benchers who justify themselves by running with the pack have agreed. It gets passed as a law. Police stations will receive a ?2000 5 page document detailing it, and the promise of training and new PC. Training will never be given, but the PC will arrive. It will sit boxed for 3 months, then someone will set it up. It will be used for emailing, left unsecured, and possibly a little solitaire.

The general police will have no idea about any of the above.

Well said that man!

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portauthority    0

required for national security. deal with it.

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scratch42069    16

I'm fairly lucky here in Canada, we don't have threats like that when it comes to our internet. My country only deals in cyber crimes when it comes to the exploitation of children and sexual predators. Here, I'm pretty sure they don't touch your computer until they have you in custody and if the computer relates to the crime. That's the way it should be all over IMHO. If they want to search your computer, they should have you in custody for something to warrant a search.

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White Cuban    0

WW III here we come.

Enabling such a loophole is so stupid.

im gonna pick up a badge right now and start confiscating computers.

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Andrew Lyle    336

that's dumb.

They will mostly be "hacking" into PC's that they feel are doing something wrong, (ie, childporn, hacking, illegally downloding) , but won't they be more secure by setting firewalls? i don't think the cops will get past most of those.

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Denholm    2
Tis good I live in australia then eh ;)

Right, it's not like Australian Police are not currently doing or planning to do exactly the same.

required for national security. deal with it.

Yes .. Lemming :laugh:

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