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Australian Police Given Power To Use Spyware

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the big-brother-actually-is-watching-now dept.

Security 450

reek writes "An Australian newspaper has reported> that the contentious Surveillance Devices Act has been passed. The act will (according to the article) allow Federal Police to obtain warrants to secretly install spyware onto users computers enabling them to "monitor email, online chats, word processor and spreadsheets entries and even bank personal identification numbers and passwords.""

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450 comments

A Good Thing? (5, Interesting)

fembots (753724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074854)

Now that this Surveillance Devices Act allows police to obtain a warrant, does that mean that information obtained unlawfully won't stand in the court?

I vaguely remember there's a country where it is illegal to obstruct surveillance by way of encryption. And you may be required to hand over all your passwords (if some are protecting legal documents like a Will) if the police decided to take a good look at you.

I can imagine a police listening to a phone conversation interrupts the suspects and requests them to speak in plain English.

Re:A Good Thing? (4, Interesting)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074944)

> Now that this Surveillance Devices Act allows police to obtain a warrant, does that mean that information obtained unlawfully won't stand in the court?

Information obtained unlawfully never stands in court. Because the Constitution is a living document that must be updated to take into account changing technologies, however, the definition of "unlawful" must change.

In brief, "Anything not nailed down is ours. Anything we can pry loose is not nailed down!"

Meantime, the US has had this since 2001 [wired.com], so it's not like Australia's move towards normalizing law enforcement techniques to modern standards is anything new.

Re:A Good Thing? (2, Insightful)

Blue-Footed Boobie (799209) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075083)

I use really long passphrases when I encrypt my data.

I also use 448bit Blowfish encryption.

If I forget my passphrase, no matter how pissed the cops ge, it doesn't really make a difference.

Now, if their spyware had keylogged the phrase the last time I decrypted....

Re:A Good Thing? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11075119)

In China, a couple on the phone were interrupted and told to continue their conversation later, as the current "eavesdropper" was about to take a lunch break.

Re:A Good Thing? (4, Informative)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075134)

"I vaguely remember there's a country where it is illegal to obstruct surveillance by way of encryption."

The UK, I believe?

Where its illegal to 'possess any information which might be useful to a terrorist'

Someone please tell me... (4, Interesting)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074863)

...that having software that (knowingly or unknowingly) blocks or removes this spyware isn't a crime...

Re:Someone please tell me... (3, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074948)

I think simply having Linux would make yourself (at least for now) immune.

Re:Someone please tell me... (3, Insightful)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075047)

I think simply having Linux would make yourself (at least for now) immune.

Please keep in mind that these are the police. They are not some random script kiddy, and would focus much more strongly on your computer. It also means that they probably already got a warrent to search your house and will have physical access to your computer. And my guess is that they will be able to take control of your computer in as much time as it takes to boot (not saying how to not encourage moron kiddies). And since you think your so secure, you wouldn't even think to check.

Re:Someone please tell me... (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075105)

" I think simply having Linux would make yourself (at least for now) immune."

And given that in circumstances like this, the powers-that-be like to ban things that might make it difficult for them... like, oh I don't know, Linux for example?

Re:Someone please tell me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074994)

Why block or remove it? :)
Instead, run a live Linux or BSD CD with a virtual keyboard while leaving a Windows installation on the hard disk to accumulate bungware.

what's the big deal? (5, Insightful)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074864)

The Surveillance Devices Act allows police to obtain a warrant to use software surveillance technologies

As long as they need to obtain a warrant first, I don't see the big deal.

Re:what's the big deal? (1)

ScooterBill (599835) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074927)

I think that a wiretap, outside surveilance, someone following you around in an unmarked van is one thing. The unreasonableness is when you have law enforcement actually in your home via cameras, spyware, etc. The home should be off limits for this kind of thing.

Re:what's the big deal? (1)

fireduck (197000) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074962)

but aren't law enforcement agencies already allowed to go into your home and install surveillance devices (e.g., microphones) if a warrant has been granted? this just extends that power to your computer.

Re:what's the big deal? (1)

JudasBlue (409332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075015)

Okay, just to play the devil's advocate, you do anything you want to in your home, that becomes off limits to surveilance? I don't really see that working out. Especially when you are talking about RICO and conspiracy stuff. Just hold all meetings in your home, and you are good to go.

Nah, I don't see that being all that good an idea, if you posit that there is a purpose to having surveilance under warrant in the first place, then saying that you have known sanctuary from it in your home doesn't seem very logical to me.

Re:what's the big deal? (1)

savagedome (742194) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074936)

Mod parent up up up. The government has the 'power' to do the surveillance. However, the key is obtaining the warrant which is one of the big outcry against Patriot Act.

Re:what's the big deal? (4, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074952)

Exactly. As long as due process is followed it is in the same realm as a wire tap or bug. It is when the due process bit is removed that we need to start worrying.

Re:what's the big deal? (1)

cronius (813431) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075061)

This is very different from a wiretap. Would it be OK to have surveillance cameras secretly installed in peoples houses too, even with a warrant?

Re:what's the big deal? (3, Insightful)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075116)

I like how you said when rather than if. I wish that there were something that would stop the government from increasing its power over us, other than the fact that it might piss people off. Its a rather scary trend and I don't see it stopping any time soon, while people keep getting more comfortable with it.

Re:what's the big deal? (4, Insightful)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075028)

I was going to post the same thing, until I realised that there's a subtle distinction. Phone tap warrants [to my knowledge] don't actually do anything to the alledged criminal's property. They place the tap at the CO, and listen in. Once the info leaves the ownership of the alledged criminal it's fair game [like their trash].

Actual property search warrants [to my knowledge] require the alledged criminal to be issued the warrant, and present for the search. The info in the computer though [assuming no internet connection] stays in the computer. Placing a keylogger on the machine without informing the owner seems to be a special circumstance to get around age old search warrant law.

It'd be much better if it limited the spying to internet connections.

[disclaimer: I am not austrailian, and I am not a lawyer, some assumptions might be wrong, and render the arguement moot.]

Re:what's the big deal? (1)

dabraun (626287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075063)

Wiretaps used to be installed in or close to the actual home being tapped. It is only because the phone companies (were required to) make it easy to tap at the CO that they don't need to do this anymore.

They can still get warrants to tap homes for actual sound within the home. And they don't need to tell the person being tapped - they just need the appropriate warrant.

So the have to get a warrant (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074865)

How is this any different from a legally obtained wiretap?

Re:So the have to get a warrant (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074896)

A wiretap on your net connection won't let them see unencrypted IM or Email conversations you have. Or let them get access to files on your PC. Think "Trojan+Keyloger+FTP Server" when they say spyware. (FTP server is for access to files).

Re:So the have to get a warrant (1)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074959)

A wiretap on your net connection won't let them see unencrypted IM or Email conversations you have.

Let me add two words to my post: In principal, how is this any different from a legally obtained wiretap?

Nice (1)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074869)

Let's hope AdAware picks up those signatures real quick! :)

Re:Nice (4, Interesting)

amrust (686727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074901)

I just hope they don't get Ad-Aware and Spybot "on board with the program", to where they won't detect them.

Re:Nice (2)

jcern (247616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075069)

Well, I'd think that if this passed here in America, the law would attach the death penalty (or something equally unappropriate) to any software company that would allow users to cicumvent this. Hopefully, Australia is not that backwards yet.

Only in ... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074871)

America .... Ooops

Whats are the Australians trying to do Give America ideas ?

Quick someone stop them

Re:Only in ... (1)

Anonymous Crowhead (577505) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074892)

Whats are the Australians trying to do Give America ideas?

No, just preparing their application to become the 51st state.

Re:Only in ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074982)

They're too late to be the 51'st. Maybe 53rd or 54th. They have to get in line behind a couple of Canadian provinces.

adaware illegal??? (1)

musichead (800784) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074874)

What dire portent does this entail for the use of apps such as adaware, or other programs intended to rid a user's computer of software that snuck into there install base?

Just when (2, Insightful)

DrMyke (150908) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074877)

I may be a little off topic on this, wont Anti-Spyware like Giant and Adaware find this? and if properly configured wont they also see them being installed??

Re:Just when (2, Informative)

sagenumen (62467) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075128)

Surely, any of the commercial spyware-sniffing programs will have pressure from the governments to overlook this government-sponsored spyware. Being a commercial endeavor, they are more than likely to succumb.

Great... (1, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074878)

I'm sure this power won't ever get abused. <rolls eyes>

Re:Great... (1)

KingPunk (800195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075088)

even bank personal identification numbers and passwords. ..*ahem*, my thoughts exactly.
how many CLEAN cops are there, who wouldn't be tempted,
espically if the guy is a big drug lord or something,
with billions in the bank, and it'd all be justified as: "hes a bad guy, so im not hurting somebody innoncent"
..i call bullshit.

what? they don't wanna have to work to wiretap somebody anymore?
they think they can just drop an executeable file on a remote box,
and it works automagically?
*laughs*
... i'd like to see them get around my pf rules,
on multiple boxen, and even if they do, lets see them try to lay an exploit on my OpenBSD server,
or some of my Secure FreeBSD and Gentoo Linux boxes..
*hides his windows xp pro box, so they cant do anything to the poor thing*

anyways. times like this is why im glad im an american!
..yes, even as much as i'd kill to have an authentic "AUSSIE" accent.
(women love the accent, it melts them.) ;)
--KingPunk

I can just see it now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074880)

Look (insert officer's name here), he just typed in the password to that pron site he is always visiting; now we can get in free too.

I am powerful too. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074884)

I am He-Man, by the POWERS of Castle Grayskull. Or how about Austin (Aussie) Powers.

Wonder... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074887)

I wonder if they'll find digital finger prints of 10 year old boys and Michael Jackson on pr0n sites...

Of course... (1)

doi (584455) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074889)

...this means we'll have to install spyware on the cop's computers to make sure they're properly complying with the law.

Linux switch... (3, Funny)

PincheGab (640283) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074894)

Now this more that anything else will persuade many "normal" (ie, non-tech nerds)) people to switch to Linux...

One cannot trust a closed-source anti-government_spyware program working an a closed-source O/S, but the same perogram implemented as open source running on an open-source O/S? Yeah, much better.

Re:Linux switch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074935)

Now this more that anything else will persuade many "normal" (ie, non-tech nerds)) people to switch to Linux...

...and, as all good things seem to end, will probably persuade many law-makers to try and make Linux illegal. "Won't somebody think of the children!"

Possible scenarios (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075036)

Scenario 1:
Your honor... we obtained the warrant to install it. But we don't freaking know how to do it!
(His honor: ) Argh! Damn Linux!

Scenario 2:
OPEN THE DOOR! POLICE!
(hacker deletes everything from his computer using a three-finger hotkey)
Yes, officer? How can I help you?
We're here to install some spyware on your machine. We have a warrant.
Oh sure, come in.
(half an hour later...)
(hacker unplugs his PC. Runs anti-spyware, and reboots)
*whistles*

has reported greater than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074902)

Nice busted link, jerks. You do realize that you're called 'editors' for a reason, right?

Re:has reported greater than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11075044)

You do realize that you're called 'editors' for a reason, right?

Hey, now. W is called 'president', but that doesn't make him competent either.

uh... (0, Flamebait)

2MuchC0ffeeMan (201987) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074905)

How long until this is padded on to the next patriot act?

I can just see Bush drooling over this.

Re:uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11075031)

Ever heard of Magic Lantern?

http://www.msnbc.com/news/660096.asp?0na=x21017M 32 &cp1=1

Re:uh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11075053)

The US Government can already do this... and have.

I remember reading; they captured the PGP passwords for some "organized crime" figure several years ago.

Thoughts On Law Spyware (1)

teiresias (101481) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074908)

Of course the next question is (besides the privacy concerns) is using programs such as AdAware and Spybot S&D to remove said Federal Spyware illegal. My guess would be yes but I also suppose that the people who would be getting these "taps" on their computers won't care much about the legal reprocussions of removing them.

I also, wonder what kind of stance the Australian Law Enforcement will take towards these companies. Will they provide them with information to avoid their spyware (I doubt it)?

I'm actually more suprised this isn't a bigger issue or perhaps it's just the first legal documentation of this while it's a practice long used?

Can you say "circumvention device?" (1)

crimethinker (721591) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075113)

Of course the next question is (besides the privacy concerns) is using programs such as AdAware and Spybot S&D to remove said Federal Spyware illegal. My guess would be yes but I also suppose that the people who would be getting these "taps" on their computers won't care much about the legal reprocussions of removing them.

The real target of making it illegal to remove federal spyware would be the makers of spyware removal programs, who have a lot more to lose than someone already under heavy surveillance for illegal activities. The authors will be threatened, a la the DMCA, with "trafficking in circumvention technology" and I'll bet good money that the feds can bring enough charges to make them fold like cheap suits.

Never mind this particular story is happening in Australia; we either have done it or will soon do it here in the USA. Our federal government specializes in "conviction by overwhelming force," where they threaten so many charges that add up to twenty life sentences plug two lethal injections, the target pleads guilty to one chosen charge to avoid the gamble.

I love my country, but I fear my government. Reason magazine put it best a few months before the election: "The good news is that on Nov. 2, one of these men will lose. The bad news is that the other one will win."

-paul

Will it be illegal to remove the spyware then? (0, Redundant)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074909)

would you be breaking laws? where is this taking us? what does the spyware track?

Re:Will it be illegal to remove the spyware then? (1)

Kevitt (640555) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075024)

Does it really matter?

No matter what it would track, or where it takes us, or whether legal to block/remove, it's still a bad idea. Actually, it's just a stupid idea.

Re:Will it be illegal to remove the spyware then? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075115)

The spyware is gonna be just like all the other crap that windows computers become infested with.
Also, its gonna hold all your web form information in a handy Police branded folder, it means its doubly secure from nasty hackers ;)

If your running a Mac, or Linux I think your immune anyway, but why worry about removal, don't you validate EVERYTHING installed on your system ;)

I don't think they would ever come knocking at your door with a cd rom, so its gotta come in via one of the "normal" channels, and that means them throwing packets at a router, or some security vuln in a used email software.
I doubt they would package it with any mainstream software (privacy lawsuits from other countries), and the only other way is seripticious direct access to the machine, either by a co-worker, or family member/friend.
It sounds like an awful lot of trouble to get information thats mainly accessible from ISP monitoring anyway (server connection logs, mail headers etc, build up the relationship tree).

One side point, can keyboard sniffers "read" stuff entered from an onscreen keyboard? can they "read" hand written tablet keystrokes, or the password info inside a smart card?

How would they go after a hacker with a Tablet?

Couldn't this be used to prosecute? (1)

mobiux (118006) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074910)

Say someone who wrote a virus or trojan to capture keystrokes.
Or even spyware for that matter.

Like wiretapping without a court order?

Australia has never been the same... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074912)

...since the Nazis took over.

Whatever (4, Interesting)

the_mad_poster (640772) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074917)

Yea, OK. Because as the software companies have learned from their massively successful bout with game pirates (assuming you use "successful" to mean "it wasn't warezed before it even hit the bloody store shelf") you can effectively use a person's PC against them.

Whatever. Looks to me like the computer geek is just going to become a staple of the successful organized crime family in Kangaroo-land, that's all. You cannot put a skilled person in front of a computer and not have them figure out how to break your stupid protections and spyware and whatever else you want to try and pull over on them. If it's on my computer, and I have a reason to go looking for it, I'll find it, and I'll break it. Guaranteed. You cannot hide things from someone on their own computer.

Yet another technology that will have absolutely no effect on the big time criminals and will waste money catching the little guys that weren't really capable of getting away in the first place. In fact, I'm now taking bets on how long until someone figures out how to sniff out the signature and disable it.

Re:Whatever (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075074)

Looks to me like the computer geek is just going to become a staple of the successful organized crime family in Kangaroo-land

On the plus side there are now a lot of extra interesting and challenging jobs available for any unemployed slashdotters and organised crime is one thing that's totally safe from outsourcing!

You can't what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11075087)

You cannot hide things from someone on their own computer.

There are millions of people out there who, having achieved the technical acumen to set the time on their VCRs, never programmed them to record anything because that's hard. You could hide spyware from them on their desktops if you just give it a name they can't understand. SYSTEM TOOL THAT ONLY SMART PEOPLE UNDERSTAND.EXE might be slightly too obvious for some of them.

Maybe the Police can help me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074928)

I live in Australia, and have forgotten my password I used for my password safe database. Maybe if I commit a crime it could show up as evidence. Police force more useful than brute force.

Just getting this now? (2, Informative)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074933)

In the US we have had Carnivore for years ... meh
http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9595_22-524798.html?leg acy=zdnn/ [zdnet.com]

Re:Just getting this now? (1)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075078)

Carnivore was around long before it was called Carnivore. Its just a gussied up (or dumbed down) Ethernet sniffer

for that reason though Carnivore is more effective. It hard to detech a sniffer if placed on a point in the network your don't control. Spyware being directly on the client side machine is relatively easy to find.

so? (1)

SQLz (564901) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074942)

obtain warrants to secretly install spyware onto users computers

Notice the have to at least obtain a warrent. In the US there is no such requirement.

Thank god I live in the US of A (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074943)

Where the dingos only eat the constitution.

How will it be installed? (1, Insightful)

waynegs (521818) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074950)

How do they expect to install this software? Send you some spam and hope you click on the link?

In other news (1)

DrMyke (150908) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074951)

In other news, Steve Irwin arrested for animal cruelity after a "tip" led investigators to a web site that showed him .......... ..what is the world coming too... give me circa 90's internet...

Another useless law (1)

incog8723 (579923) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074953)

If they want to spy on their citizens like the United States, they already have the rights under law, and the equipment to do so. It's called a packet sniffer. They don't need viruses to do this kind of spying. If you're hooked up to the internet, you're wide open.

Re:Another useless law (1)

barfy (256323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075048)

Not AUL. Monitoring from the machine has two very useful purposes. First is circumvents and allows decoding of information that is about to be de/encrypted.

Second, it goes with the computer. Packet sniffers are network dependent, "spyware, or monitorware" is computer dependent

Slashdot paranoia surfaces again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074956)

What part of "with a warrant" is so hard to grasp?

How Will This Work? (1)

ronark (803478) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074963)

Several things come to mind right away.

1. How will this work on a Linux machine?
With the security that is the hallmark of a Linux box, how do law enforcement officials expect to tap into someone's computer if they are running Linux? At best they could only monitor the user account they installed the software for.

2. Will this software work around firewalls?
This probably isn't really an issue, but it came to mind.

3. What if the user removes the software?
The article only said it was illegal to publish the existence of the software, not to remove it or tell your friends about it.

4. What if the user reinstalls their operating system?
An easy way around the problem. Just remove everything, and you're good to go. If the hard drive is cleaned out completely, there would be no way for the software to survive.

Obviously they have some serious work to do engineering wise. I'm interested in how they plan on executing this. Also, I do so hope that this law doesn't catch on anywhere else, and for the sake of my Australian friends, is revoked in their country.

Re:How Will This Work? (1)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075050)

The whole point of doing this is that its not known to the user, just like a wiretap. If they left you a note day "There's government issued spyware on your computer. Go about your normal business," it wouldn't be all that effective.

Re:How Will This Work? (1)

kneeless (837507) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075095)

With the security that is the hallmark of a Linux box
I hardly consider the security that Linux has worthy of the word "hallmark". It's better than Windows, sure, but it isn't secure (by default, especially) by any means.

Re:How Will This Work? (1)

theparanoidcynic (705438) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075101)

Yes, Linux is more secure, but I wouldn't be too cocky about it. Don't think that the Federal Police can't find hackers good enough to r00t the average Linux box.

Besides, if they really want what's on your box they'll get a regular warrant and take your drives. Or, if allowed in America Jr., do a "sneek and peek", boot your system from a live CD, copy all your files to another drive, and add a special kernel module.

where are they? (1)

scubacuda (411898) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074979)

What is the best way to record what these sites are doing? I mostly use Firefox and Konquerer. In both of them there are ways to fake your browser and make it look like you have IE installed when you really don't.

What's the best way to sandbox these programs to study them later?

Anyone have any links to these sites?

Re:where are they? (1)

egregious hack (837883) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075079)

I suppose they could deliver the content in an ActiveX control, if you've not blocked that already.

Watching cookies accumulate on Firefox under Linux, I'd guess they'd have to be a bit more clever.

A sandbox could be a chroot environment on Linux/UNIX, trouble is network traffic is still going in and out.

Buy Alcoa stock now! (2, Funny)

beef curtains (792692) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074981)

I get the feeling that Reynolds Wrap sales are going to skyrocket in Australia.

I wonder how those "Crocodile Dundee"-style hats would look when covered with tinfoil....

Don't blame me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11074995)

I didn't vote for the lying rodent.

Seriously, anyone know what Canada's immigration policy is like? (Nothing personal Americans, but with a dropout running your country I don't really want to be there either)

Useful to have spyware now? (1)

trilks (794531) | more than 9 years ago | (#11074996)

In this case, would it be useful for criminals (or whoever is being tapped) to install real spyware/adware that deletes other spyware/adware, thus getting rid of the gov't-sponsored spyware? I never thought I'd see the day that I would actually WANT to install Gator...

AMD PIC - spyware free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11075030)

The AMD PIC [slashdot.org] might actually be useful in Australia! It's small, cheap, and you can't load software on it, meaning it's spyware free, Gurenteed!

This Raises Legal Questions (1)

Thunderstruck (210399) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075035)

There are a couple of legal questions I would like to pose to /. about this.

1. Normally, when your government takes or uses your property in a way that prevents you from enjoying it, you get paid. If my government is installing software on my machine, that effectively occupies a portion of my hard drive and prevents me from storing data there. Thus, property is taken, should I get paid? If so when?

2. If I remove the software, am I destroying government property?

3. If the United States were to try to adopt a similar provision, under what authority would they do so?

4. If the computer with the spyware installed gets moved to another country, can the Australian authorities still use it?

Re:This Raises Legal Questions (1)

CK2004PA (827615) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075072)

Yes nice legal questions. All of which were raised with phone wire-tapping, asked and answered years ago in court. Replace computer with phone and hard drive disk space with phone bandwidth & listening quality. Also replace uninstall with use hammer on bug. Next?

Re:This Raises Legal Questions (1)

barfy (256323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075090)

1. No
2. No
3. Under the Authority of the provision. As had been exercised in previous wiretap/patriot act/rico/conspiracy laws/
4. If they still have jurisdiction, probably yes. Undoubtably they will still use itl.

Time to put spyware on their systems... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11075042)

and find out what is going on. Oh wait, they run Windows. Now it is time to find out who has the info.

removing it by reinstalling windows is the way (1)

marika (572224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075065)

It can't be illegal to reintall your os. It makes me wanna reinstall Windows ME. A required periodical format+reinstallation of the OS can only make one safer.

Ok, here's a question... (2, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075071)

If you're an alert user, and you find this task running on your machine, and you remove it...

Are you guilty of the Australian version of Obstruction of Justice?

If so, you could commit a serious crime by simply running a spyware scanner.

Re:Ok, here's a question... (1)

barfy (256323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075112)

No you are not guilty of OJ.
It is extremely unlikely you would find this as a "task" running on your machine.

How do they get it on your PC to start with? (1)

magicRob (815117) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075081)

Subject: Update or verify your account informations


"we have detected a slight error in your billing information...

This might be due to either of the following reasons...

Please update and verify your information by clicking the link below..."


Or perhaps a link to dialer.exe

Wonder how many people would fall for that old one

- Rob

Easy fix, sort of. (2, Interesting)

Gerdia (700650) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075094)

Use a laptop... use OpenBSD... encrypt your entire drive... carry it with you everywhere, sleep with it under your pillow.

Re:Easy fix, sort of. (1)

barfy (256323) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075133)

This is precisely the need for the law. To see your stuff, while your system is running. Maybe it lives in the Bios, or the kernal... Hmmm....

Ghost (1)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075100)

I guess the easiest way to make sure you aren't being tapped is to 1) put all your data on a removable disk, 2) use IMAP for mail, 3) Fresh install your OS with all the programs you want 4) Ghost (or some other backup tool) your install 5) reinstall the backup as often as possible. (optional: 6) PROFIT.)

It might not keep the spyware out, but it will at least make it a pain in the ass for them to keep it on.

The link (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075102)

crashes the crap out of Konqueror 3.3.2

Maybe that's the Kangaroo Kops trying to install an M$ bug in everyone's browser...

You can already do this to your employees... (1)

farsideofthemoon (766786) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075109)

with DynaComm i:scan... see sig for link... I'm telling you guys this is what the world is coming to... =)

I dont care (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11075114)

I don't care! I use Debian and am only ever logged into user space.

I do not run sendmail/bind, the two must buggy and exploitable programs (on UNIX), so how does this help the police? Do the real criminals move to a platform where they can get security from the police, or are they too dumb, or confident to do this?

Would someone who runs Norton Personal Firewall who blocks this be held against the charge of obstruction?

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