PDA

View Full Version : Hack My Son's Computer, Please


|Zach|
05-23-2007, 06:34 PM
http://www.wired.com/politics/law/commentary/circuitcourt/2007/05/circuitcourt_0523

Hack My Son's Computer, Please
05.23.07 | 2:00 AM

Can an elderly father give police permission to search a password-protected computer kept in his adult son's bedroom, without probable cause or a warrant? In April, a three judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said yes.

This week, the son's attorney, Melissa Harrison, an assistant federal public defender in Kansas City, will ask the court to reconsider the panel's ruling. At stake is whether law enforcement will have any responsibility to respect passwords and other expressions of user privacy when searching devices which contain the most sensitive kinds of private information.

In United States v. Andrus (.pdf), agents suspected that the defendant was accessing websites containing child pornography, but after eight months of investigation still did not have sufficient probable cause to get a search warrant. Instead, they decided to drop by the defendant's house for an impromptu conversation.

The suspect was not at home. However, his 91-year-old father answered the door in his pajamas, invited the agents in, and eventually gave them permission to enter his son's bedroom and search the hard drive on his son's password-protected computer. The agents used EnCase to perform the search, a common forensic tool programmed to ignore Windows logon passwords. Agents found child pornography on the computer.

Without a judge's permission, the search depended on the father's authority to allow police access to his son's computer. On this point, the fact that the son locked his parents out of the computer with a password is critical.

The Fourth Amendment generally prohibits warrantless searches of an individual's home or possessions. There is an exception to the warrant requirement when someone consents to the search. Consent can be given by the person under investigation, or by a third party with control over or mutual access to the property being searched. Because the Fourth Amendment only prohibits "unreasonable searches and seizures," permission given by a third party who lacks the authority to consent will nevertheless legitimize a warrantless search if the consenter has "apparent authority," meaning that the police reasonably believed that the person had actual authority to control or use the property.

Under existing case law, only people with a key to a locked closet have apparent authority to consent to a search of that closet. Similarly, only people with the password to a locked computer have apparent authority to consent to a search of that device. In Andrus, the father did not have the password (or know how to use the computer) but the police say they did not have any reason to suspect this because they did not ask and did not turn the computer on. Then, they used forensic software that automatically bypassed any installed password.

The majority held that the police officers not only weren't obliged to ask whether the father used the computer, they had no obligation to check for a password before performing their forensic search. In dissent, Judge Monroe G. McKay criticized the agents' intentional blindness to the existence of password protection, when physical or digital locks are such a fundamental part of ascertaining whether a consenting person has actual or apparent authority to permit a police search. "(T)he unconstrained ability of law enforcement to use forensic software such at the EnCase program to bypass password protection without first determining whether such passwords have been enabled ... dangerously sidestep(s) the Fourth Amendment."

If the 10th Circuit rehears the case, it will have the opportunity to recalculate the balance between individuals' efforts to protect computer privacy and security, and law enforcement efforts to make searches based on mere hunches without judicial supervision.

In this case, the defendant could not have done much more to keep his computer private, other than tape a piece of paper to the monitor like a teenager might post on the door to his room (Do Not Enter Or Else!!). On the other hand, the officers could have simply asked the father whether he had permission to access his son's computer, switched the computer on to see if there was a password prompt, or used a forensic program that notifies investigators when a machine is password protected. It's as if the police entered the defendant's room with x-ray specs on and searched his bureau, closet and footlocker without needing to even ask his father whether these things were private or shared.

The Supreme Court expressly disavowed this technique in Kyllo v. United States, where it held that "obtaining by sense-enhancing technology any information regarding the interior of the home that could not otherwise have been obtained without physical 'intrusion into a constitutionally protected area,' constitutes a search -- at least where ... the technology in question is not in general public use."

If courts are going to treat computers as containers, and if owners must lock containers in order to keep them private from warrantless searches, then police should be required to look for those locks. Password protected computers and locked containers are an inexact analogy, but if that is how courts are going to do it, then its inappropriate to diminish protections for computers simply because law enforcement chooses to use software that turns a blind eye to owners' passwords.

Reerun_KC
05-23-2007, 06:51 PM
GoChiefs is going down.

Douche Baggins
05-23-2007, 07:00 PM
GoChiefs is going down.

ROFL

I knew this joke was coming...just not this soon.

Douche Baggins
05-23-2007, 07:06 PM
I think this is invasion of privacy personally.

Simplex3
05-23-2007, 08:41 PM
Depends on who's home it is. If your s**t is in my house I would think that I have every right to allow the police to search it, password or not.

I don't know. It's a tough call.

Douche Baggins
05-23-2007, 08:43 PM
I'm guessing the 91-year old didn't own the house and was being taken care of. As an aside, it's gotta be weird if his son was 60-something...hey dad, we're both old codgers!

Phobia
05-23-2007, 08:47 PM
I'm guessing the 91-year old didn't own the house and was being taken care of. As an aside, it's gotta be weird if his son was 60-something...hey dad, we're both old codgers!

I'm kinda surprised this was your initial assumption given you'll likely be living with your 91 year old parents in 40 years.

Simplex3
05-23-2007, 08:47 PM
I'm guessing the 91-year old didn't own the house and was being taken care of. As an aside, it's gotta be weird if his son was 60-something...hey dad, we're both old codgers!
The perv sounds a lot like you, so history would tell us it's the parent's home.

Welcome to your future.

Douche Baggins
05-23-2007, 08:49 PM
LOL...you guys sure lay it on thick.

I have no interest in child porn.

Simplex3
05-23-2007, 08:51 PM
I have no interest in sex.
FYP

Douche Baggins
05-23-2007, 08:53 PM
You could be right. The other night I was bitching about all the porn watering down an otherwise worthwhile torrent site.

Fruit Ninja
05-23-2007, 09:01 PM
GoChiefs is going down.
I think thats everyones first reaction on this board.

sedated
05-23-2007, 09:03 PM
I don't think right to privacy is protected in the constitution.

Its the old man's house, if he gave permission to search the house, I think the kid is f*cked.

its like giving permission to search a room with a lock on it without the key. the cops can still bust the lock

If the lawyer gets this thrown out, I might need to hire her

Douche Baggins
05-23-2007, 09:06 PM
What would make this more interesting is if the 91-year old had some trophy wife with a 19-year old stepkid.

listopencil
05-23-2007, 10:06 PM
I don't think right to privacy is protected in the constitution.




The Fourth Amendment To The US Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Demonpenz
05-23-2007, 10:08 PM
this is why my dad is in a home.

Valiant
05-23-2007, 10:34 PM
The Fourth Amendment To The US Constitution:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


So they pretty much just gave a free pass to a child predator because they were to lazy to get a warrant??? If he downloads new child porn onto said computer can they go after him or can't they because they screwed up that evidence piece for future use???

listopencil
05-23-2007, 10:57 PM
So they pretty much just gave a free pass to a child predator because they were to lazy to get a warrant??? If he downloads new child porn onto said computer can they go after him or can't they because they screwed up that evidence piece for future use???


It's tricky but yes, there is a chance that he will walk. If he does and they want to go after him again then they will have to get a warrant without using the fact that they found it this time. It may not be so difficult as they were already on him this time without it.

unlurking
05-23-2007, 11:02 PM
Depends on who's home it is. If your s**t is in my house I would think that I have every right to allow the police to search it, password or not.

I don't know. It's a tough call.

According to the article, a locked container/room would need a separate warrant. I can attest to this, as my car was searched against my will because a passenger had a warrant (failure to appear speeding). Fortunately, my 2' bong was in a taped up box that they couldn't open without a warrant (high school daze).

This is a no-brainer illegal search and seizure. The stupid thing is, they could have confiscated the PC, and awaited a specific warrant (if they had enough evidence to get a warrant in the first place).

Dunit35
05-23-2007, 11:09 PM
You could be right. The other night I was bitching about all the porn watering down an otherwise worthwhile torrent site.


What's the site? I'll see if there is too much porn on there.

sedated
05-24-2007, 12:15 PM
The Fourth Amendment To The US Constitution:

privacy and property are two different things. I agree with you, but it depends on the state, they all have different interpretations when it comes to search and seizure.

I was more responding to GoChiefs post, I should have made that more clear. because nobody has a right to privacy (merely semantics)

BIG_DADDY
05-24-2007, 12:19 PM
Why is this loser living with his 92 year old father in the first place? Serves him right for being a lazy ass leach.

SBK
05-24-2007, 12:24 PM
Why is this loser living with his 92 year old father in the first place? Serves him right for being a lazy ass leach.

He must have been blowing all his money on porn.

BIG_DADDY
05-24-2007, 12:25 PM
He must have been blowing all his money on porn.

No, apparently he was getting that free as well.

StcChief
05-24-2007, 12:28 PM
According to the article, a locked container/room would need a separate warrant. I can attest to this, as my car was searched against my will because a passenger had a warrant (failure to appear speeding). Fortunately, my 2' bong was in a taped up box that they couldn't open without a warrant (high school daze).

This is a no-brainer illegal search and seizure. The stupid thing is, they could have confiscated the PC, and awaited a specific warrant (if they had enough evidence to get a warrant in the first place).

but they are stupid cops without a good dick to know the law....

Reerun_KC
05-24-2007, 12:31 PM
but they are stupid cops without a good dick to know the law....


I wanted to be a cop at one time. But I decided to stay and finish High School. After graduation I realized I was over qualified for the position.

|Zach|
05-24-2007, 12:43 PM
I wanted to be a cop at one time. But I decided to stay and finish High School. After graduation I realized I was over qualified for the position.
Self loathing football "fan" and message board poster fit that much better.

Reerun_KC
05-24-2007, 12:44 PM
Self loathing football "fan" and message board poster fit that much better.


You sure I am not under qualified for that job description?

Cochise
05-24-2007, 01:10 PM
I don't want to side with a pedophile, obviously, I think this guy should have his toes chewed off by wolverines and be shut in an iron maiden.

But, I think this was probably not a good way to carry out a search. If the son owned the computer, I don't see how the father could give permission for police to search it. It doesn't seem to me like it should matter where the computer is located - if my car were parked on private property like a store parking lot, the store can't give police legal permission to search it, can they?

TinyEvel
05-24-2007, 01:38 PM
Dudes, they have software you can buy on the internet and download to your computer that records every keystroke (passwords, emails, etc) and/or can take a screenshot at an interval you determine, and file all that into a hidden folder in the hard drive.

So, you can get passwords, read conversations and see content of whoever was using the computer.

You can even have this file sent to a computer at a different IP address, to look at remotely.

Watch out.

JimNasium
05-24-2007, 01:42 PM
The child pornography issue need not cloud this issue. If the guy is guilty of this he needs to go to a Federal "pound me in the ass" prison for a long, long time. The more important issue is that of privacy and this is an issue that is of great importance. If you give the "state" an inch they will take a mile and I hope and pray that this type of search is determined to be unconstitutional.

Mr. Laz
05-24-2007, 01:47 PM
father owned the house
father owned the room
who owned the computer?
was the son renting the room?


btw - was there really child porn on his computer or did the police say this because there was some "young looking" girls on hit. Big difference.

crazycoffey
05-24-2007, 02:06 PM
I wanted to be a cop at one time. But I decided to stay and finish High School. After graduation I realized I was over qualified for the position.



tst tst...... 4321

Reerun_KC
05-24-2007, 02:11 PM
tst tst...... 4321


I knew that would bring you out of the woodwork....


Kidding of course...

crazycoffey
05-24-2007, 02:15 PM
I knew that would bring you out of the woodwork....


Kidding of course...


I don't understand, what do you mean, "out of the wood work"?



:p

Reerun_KC
05-24-2007, 02:19 PM
I don't understand, what do you mean, "out of the wood work"?



:p


You havent hit 10K posts yet?

Did you get carpel tunnel?