Re: Overly zealous raids [cr-95/9/10]


Sender: "Steve Eppley" <•••@••.•••>

Connie Page wrote:
>They feel that rather than have to prove to the court that the
>evidence on disk or tape is what was on the hard drive of a particular
>computer, they will simply present the entire computer system.  This way
>there are fewer problems in proof.

This evidence isn't proof.  Any cop could load a few incriminating
files onto the confiscated computer.  The cops know when they have
enough evidence to convict someone--when they lack evidence, the
temptation to "create" some is hard for some cops to resist.

Unless they make authenticatable copies of what was on the computer
at the time it was seized, there will be no proof.  So this is a
second reason to update the rules of evidence.

---Steve     (Steve Eppley    •••@••.•••)


Sender: •••@••.•••

In a message dated 95-09-08 17:37:45 EDT, you write:

> Is confiscation necessary?  If not, is there some way we can
>    intervene to change the trend?  Perhaps we can help draft some
>    guidelines for what prosecutors and police should do when someone
>    is suspected of a computer-related crime.

The problems involved in confiscation versus backing up can be summarized by
the fact that most police and/or courts do not want the equipment used to
continue operation while they determine if the equipment, in fact, *was* used
to violate copywrites, pandering obscenity, or etc. It is easier to take the
whole bunch than to leave the equipment and have the questions remain. The
issue we should be concentrating on is the return of the confiscated
equipment after the owner has been proven not guilty. I am sure we all can
think of at least one incedent in which a computer system has been
confiscated, and the owner has then been proven not guilty yet not having his
equipment returned. In most cases I can think of, the courts relase the
equipment to the auctions, and the owner is left high and dry, unless he can
muster the finacial end and buy the things back either at the auctions or
simply replacing them at thier local computer retailer.(Like Bob Emerson and
the Cincinnati Computer Connection BBS here in my home town, Censor-nati).

Hope this gives some help.
R Smith

"The urge to change that which by nature is good, only increases the sum
total of human unhappiness." -A.W. Hummel

 Posted by --  Andrew Oram  --  •••@••.••• --  Cambridge, Mass., USA
                 Moderator:  CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)

    World Wide Web:

You are encouraged to forward and cross-post messages and online materials,
pursuant to any contained copyright & redistribution restrictions.