DTNS 2747 – A Wolfram Ate My Homework

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comWhat funding fade? Justin Young reports back from the Collision Conference in New Orleans with tales to tell Tom Merritt of bots and natural language processing.

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2 thoughts on “DTNS 2747 – A Wolfram Ate My Homework”

  1. Headline
    Ars Technica reports that a former Philadelphia Police Sergeant has been jailed for seven months after refusing to decrypt two external hard drives after a District court ordered him to under the All Writs Act. A Mac pro found in the home was decrypted but no offending material was found and the suspect has never been charged with a crime. In 2000 the Supreme Court ruled a suspect cannot be forced to divulge the combination for a lock but has not ruled on decryption passwords.

    I would like to comment on the above headline. If you remember me Tom I am a detective, and digital forensics examiner, that investigates computer crimes and sex related crimes.

    This evening as I was listening to DTNS 2747 I was actually at work writing a federal search warrant for an case involving online data. This particular case involved possession of child pornography. I would like to add this is one of the worst cases I have ever worked. This type of news article obviously hits very close to home for me, this is what I do everyday.

    I think the following quote from the Ars Technica article (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/04/child-porn-suspect-jailed-for-7-months-for-refusing-to-decrypt-hard-drives/) sums up my opinion. “The defense also claims that ‘compelling the target of a criminal investigation to recall and divulge an encryption passcode transgresses the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.’ ”

    This is yet another example of law enforcement taking their authority too far. I think this case specifically is a great example of a digital combination lock. It is law enforcement’s job to find ways into something to get the evidence or to find the information else where. If you cannot find the evidence, or you cannot get the evidence, on their desktop or laptop you look on their mobile devices. If you cannot find it on their mobile devices look on the cloud. We, law enforcement professionals, need to stop bullying people into giving us the information that we want. If courts and law enforcement find ways to force us to decrypt data what is to keep them from forcing us to give statements or being indefinitely jailed. What happened to “You have the right to remain silent.” Remain silent includes what evidence there is against you, where the evidence is, and how I get the evidence.

    This saddens me that my fellow brother and sisters in blue are not more creative when doing their investigations. The FBI found a way around forcing Apple to help and law enforcement is just going to have to find ways around encrypted drives. I work with extremely professional, dedicated, caring, and intelligent police officers and detectives. We can “fight crime” without having to change the rules every time we are challenged or come up against a road block.

    People get to lock their doors, lock their cars, keep secrets, wives do not testify against husbands, priests do not divulge confessions, attorneys do not tell on clients, and people get to encrypt their data. I hope we as a country put privacy at the top of the priority list when it comes to reviewing laws and decisions that can have huge effects on the criminal justice system for years to come.

    “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”
    ― John F. Kennedy

  2. Nice job by Justin reporting on what I would’ve previously assumed was firmly in the “conference I don’t care about” category. Turned out it was a pretty interesting story. Now maybe next time we can raise a few more dollars on PayPal and send him with a working tape recorder! :p

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