Retraction: U.K. Police Can’t Hack Willy Nilly

by kriggins on January 6, 2009

in General, Privacy

In yesterday's Interesting Information Security Bits post, I pointed to an article that indicated that the U.K. had implemented policy changes that allow police officers to "hack" into a suspect's computer without a warrant.

According to this article. That is not true. While there have been discussions about expanding the police force's latitude in this arena, nothing has been enacted at this time.

From the article:

A spokesman for the Home Office told the Reg that UK police can already snoop - but these activities are governed by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act and the Surveillance Commissioner. He said changes had been proposed at the last Interior Ministers' meeting, but nothing has happened since.

I have pointed this out in it's own post because I dislike being responsible for spreading fud. I apologize for misleading you with my post yesterday.

Kevin

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brian Honan January 12, 2009 at 11:15 am

Kevin

As a footnote the it has been reported that German police can use Trojans to remotely hack into suspects PCs see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/3546255/German-police-get-powers-to-hack-into-home-computers.html.

There is also some interesting feedback from some of the anti-virus vendors regarding this alleged remote hacking by UK police. The AV vendors state that they have no way of telling which Trojan is a police trojan or not and therefore will scan for them should they get a sample.

I think the AV vendors have no choice but to scan for these Trojans. Yes the police could give the sample code to the AV vendors and ask them not to scan for their trojan. But invariably these samples will either get into the wrong hands or the criminals will reverse engineer the police trojans and use them for their own means confident in the knowledge that they will go undetected.

http://software.silicon.com/security/0,39024655,39373606,00.htm
http://news.zdnet.co.uk/security/0,1000000189,39589104,00.htm

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