Aussies face the threat of Robo-Pacinos
If reporting from The Age newspaper is to be believed, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner, Mick Keelty, briefed a Parliamentary Inquiry into the future impact of organised crime that Australians would be facing the threat of part-robot humans involved in organised crime in the future.
Without access to the transcripts from the Inquiry, it is difficult to determine exactly what the Commissioner exactly did say. Taken on face value, the report has begun receiving attention from security-focused sites and blogs, not a lot of it favourable to the Commissioner's position.
So, what is it that the Commissioner might have said? If the Inquiry that is mentioned is the Inquiry into the future impact of serious and organised crime on Australian society, then there is no record of the transcript available for the session held on July 5, but there is a record of him having provided a brief to the Inquiry.
Looking at the submission that the AFP made to the above Inquiry, there are elements which suggest that the Commissioner may have used it as a springboard for his comments to the Inquiry.
Further research also turns up the transcript of the Commissioner's speech delivered to the Pearls in Policing Conference, delivered on June 11.
Combining these two sources, the seemingly outrageous claims made in the article in The Age seem to have a valid background in previous material published by the AFP.
It is accepted that organised crime groups are making efficient and effective use of technological advances to enhance their own activities. The recent spate of Mpack website infections can be linked back to suspected East European organised crime groups that have previously been active in other online criminal activity, and it is well known that many other organised crime groups maintain an active online activity base.
Whether or not viable cloning and robotic integration will take place within 20-30 years is more speculation than informed policing. There are enough dissenting voices out there that almost any position can be taken on where human cloning and robotic integration will end up, and it will appear to be a valid claim.
Unfortunately, the Commissioner seems to come across as someone whose advisors have read too many press releases and dubious whitepapers and not watched enough 'Ghost in the Shell' to recognise where their ideas have been previously cleanly laid out and elaborated in an easily digestible format (especially the concept of a digital copy of an individual's brain - wrongly attributed to Second Life). If we see the AFP renamed to Section 9, then we will know where they have been looking for inspiration.
Citing the presence of scams affecting online environments such as Second Life (it helps if the correct names and terminology are used for elements of the environment), the Commissioner suggests that some of these activities could be illegal, but difficult to track, monitor and enforce.
The answer to this is surprisingly simple, even more so than the efforts being put into trapping criminals who are active through other online communication channels. Second Life, World of Warcraft, EvE Online, and every other form of online community and virtual world can all be boiled down to the following simple facts:
- Individuals implement a persona when they become part of an online community
- Individuals may use this persona to engage in actual, attempted, or simulated criminal acts. Intent now becomes an important factor.
- It can be tracked. Information will be present on the victim's system, the perpetrator's system, and more than likely the servers providing the service. If those servers are in countries where laws and their application are different, then other existing laws can come into effect. There is precedent for applying national or state law to online services that are provided within relevant political boundaries, but it is fraught with loopholes and simple bypass mechanisms - something that law enforcement needs to be aware of, especially given that there will always exist ways around the online enforcement of legislation.
On the positive side, the Commissioner did acknowledge that the AFP is really in the position of playing catch up in a number of these technical fields. He acknowledged that the AFP does not currently maintain the technical expertise to fully understand the legal and policing ramifications of different technological activity, and will need to enhance their interaction with industry to strengthen their future position.
13 July 2007
This article originally appeared at Sûnnet Beskerming
© 2007 Sûnnet Beskerming Pty. Ltd
SûnnetBeskerming is an independent Information Security firm operating from the antipodes. Specialising in the gap between threat emergence and vendor response, Sûnnet Beskerming provides global reach with a local touch.
A wanker that cries wolf!
Sadly it is ironic , that he runs an Australian Federal Police Force , that once caught the best computer hackers that even the US Justice Department with all it's resources could not even touch.
But sadly as with all things , the top Five in this force still cannot think outside the square , let this specialized section disband and dissolve ,the dedicated staff were literally forced out to better paid civilian jobs as well , shortly after the trial.
This is the self same police force , that has criminal asset seizure laws , but no one smart enough or qualified enough to follow the money trails , or even hack the criminal gangs computers seized in various raids!
Mind you , a standing joke exists in the home town and the nations capital , where all Federal Cops are called "9 to 5 men" (you don't call all local suburban police stations of Mick Keelty's finest to report crime after hours , because all you get is an answering machine if you are lucky! , as they grossly understaffed due to extensive overseas commitments of manpower , thanks to the five cent in the dollar our current dear leader John Howard , cheap attitudes and answer to all his problems)
However , Mick Keelty , is in reality building his own new straw castle , because he is trying to hustle through numerous draconian control laws , that were part and parcel of the evil Suharto Regime in Indonesia , at it's peak of terrorizing and controlling it's own population and that of the even more unfortunate residents of East Timor(1 in 3 murdered prior to final independence and handover to the UN is the current conservative estimate , the number of original inhabitants murdered in both Aceh and West Papua remain a state secret)
Sadly , he actually has more than adequate laws at his fingertips !
Simply , put he is both a wanker and adherent of the "Peter Principle" as has neither the staff with the required expertise nor the ability to think outside the square , to draft in outside experts needed to eliminate either the deadwood within or analyse the captured computers and finally no accountants to follow the money trails of the drug gangs!
Oh well , let the blinded lead the blind! , such is life , we are doomed a new Lavrentiy Beria clone is on the rise!