Injustice in Prosecuting Tech-related Crimes

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http://thejuliegroup.blogspot.com/

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20081124-teacher-in-porn-popup-case-dodges-jail-loses-creds.html

This type of thing makes me really mad. This woman suffered pretty horrible consequences of a hacker/virus, and no official can admit that.

The worst part is the people brought in to testify as ‘expert’ witnesses.

Maybe it is my tech-background chip on my shoulder, but these are the people that stifle innovation and forward thinking. School IT administrators, law enforcement types, etc, who think that their position makes them moral authorities. And what is worse is that they are incompetent at their jobs.

A slightly more in-the-know lawyer (oddly a profession that is slow to adapt to new technologies according to my father-in-law) could have blown holes in these testimonies with just a little bit of prior discovery, and a counter-witness who could demonstrate exactly how quickly a computer could be compromised and the effects that happen when it is.

It is simple cause-and-effect – you can install windows in half an hour in a court-room, set it up with basic drivers while a jury is watching, and then install the virus and show immediate effects of it.

Case closed, trial over, IT guy fired, cyber-forensic guy fired.

There is a similar case where a really insidious virus puts child-porn into the browser cache and local RAM w/o ever visiting websites or other content providers that may cause the problem.

So you have evidence of being a child pornographer who is only half-way competent at covering your tracks. Which of course makes you look more guilty initially.

Maybe it is my over-inflamed sense of justice that my wife accuses me of having, but this type of thing gets me really incensed when I read about it.

The lessons learned here are: don’t be quick to judge when it comes to computer crime, be open to being wrong if you form an opinion in cyber-crime cases, and make sure you use a secure browser and don’t install things from websites just all willy-nilly and install virus scanners. (there are free ones like AVG free edition, ClamWIN, AntiVir, etc)