police lurking in chat rooms – no place to hide

This item from Radio New Zealand confirms that social networking sites are now being used in surveillance operations by police. No surprises really, such a move was inevitable, but it highlights that cultural resources that might be used by young people as a way of gaining some privacy from the prying eyes of adults are routinely hoovered up in a surveillance society.

Police to look for predators on internet chatrooms

Posted at 4:42pm on 25 Sep 2007

Police plan to search internet chatrooms and networking sites for predators or criminals.

Crime involving electronic evidence such as mobile phones, computers and CCTV cameras has increased tenfold in the past five years.

E-crime group manager Maarten Kleintjes says an electronic crime centre will enable officers to process evidence faster.

Mr Kleintjes says e-crime chiefly involves trading of illegal drugs, fraud or harrassment.

Within the next two years, officers will be treating the internet like a public space and looking for offenders in chatroomsm, he says.

Internet safety group Netsafe says not enough is being done to stop offenders and policing needs to show more initiative.

the source for this story was a news release issued a couple of hours earlier by New Zealand police public relations.

Police Electronic Crime Strategy released

2:29pm 25 September 2007

Police Commissioner Howard Broad released the New Zealand Police E-Crime Strategy to 2010, which outlines ways Police will address the use of technology by criminals and respond to new types of electronic crime (e-crime).

Presenting the strategy at the opening of the new Police e-crime laboratory in Wellington yesterday, the Commissioner said e-crime was of increasing concern worldwide.

“In New Zealand, e-crime includes traditional offending with an electronic component, such as fraud and paedophilia, and newer forms of offending such as attacks on computers, theft and software piracy.”

Over the next three years initiatives will include more resources and tools for the Police e-crime response team and will see frontline Police staff with a range of tools to help them investigate and resolve more e-crime without specialist assistance.

Significant progress has already been made. Development of the Environment for Virtualised Evidence (EVE) has started. Project EVE will significantly increase the volume and range of items from which electronic evidence can be recovered, and moves the ability to interrogate evidence from forensic specialists to frontline investigators.

Mobile phone booths will enable frontline staff to obtain information directly from seized mobile phones without specialist intervention. The booths are expected to be in all Police Districts by the end of the year.

The Commissioner said NZ Police aimed to complement the efforts of other organisations involved in keeping New Zealand’s electronic systems and their users safe and secure. “Police are just one interested party among Government, industry groups, and others playing a role in the security and safety of the electronic environment.”

The Electronic Crime Strategy to 2010 may be downloaded from http://www.police.govt.nz/resources/2007/e-crime-strategy/

On the same day, this item from Reuters is circulating, I picked it up from The Sydney Morning Herald

Facebook predators are ‘tip of the iceberg’

September 25, 2007 – 9:42AM

New York State Attorney-General Andrew Cuomo says his office has subpoenaed Facebook, accusing the social networking site of not keeping young users safe from sexual predators and not responding to user complaints.

In a letter accompanying a subpoena for documents, Mr Cuomo said a preliminary review revealed defects in Facebook’s safety controls and in its response to complaints. He said the shortcomings contrasted with assurances made by the company.

Meanwhile, it seems that Facebook is also going to be snapped up by a media giant. It seems that Microsoft is interested in buying a $300 million stake in Facebook which would value the company at close to $10 billion.

I guess these guys don’t really care what we do with our social networking, they realise that the law agencies will take care of any problems, and that they have a captive market of affluent teens to sell to.

One Response to police lurking in chat rooms – no place to hide

  1. […] networking that are transforming our culture in many ways. Some little understood, some welcome [?], some not. Mosco argues that as bit and bytes become embedded in everyday objects and life, the […]

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