Feeds

How just thinking about terrorism became illegal

What's on your hard drive could mean hard time

Remote control for virtualized desktops

"A proposal to scan suspect hard drives causes unease in [Germany]," read a recent frontpage story in the Los Angeles Times. Positioned boldly above the fold, the reporter and editors recognized the potential keen interest in anything having to do with the implementation of snooping in "My Documents".

In the United Kingdom it's no longer surprising to find that in the absence of significant physical evidence, documents, weblinks and cached pages found on suspects' hard disks are enough to send them over on terror charges.

In the conviction of Scottish student Mohammed Atif Siddique, a source recently informs that publicized terror writings on the man's computer existed as links on pages - never mounted on the web - pointing to copies of jihadi materials published on the scholarly site, Project for the Research of Islamist Movements.

The reader can immediately intuit that having a link or links somewhere in your system, no matter where they point, and being Muslim when the police arrive at the door, can be enough to get you in deep trouble.

It was not always exactly like this. During the sweep which netted the alleged ricin cell, one young man was arrested with a copy of the ricin recipe downloaded from the Temple of the Screaming Electron, which is where Google will take you if you punch in "how to make ricin" and then click the "I'm Feeling Lucky" tab. He was subsequently released.

Times have changed. Now, conviction for possession of a terror-enabling script would be more likely.

For the expansion of German law enforcement spying, the scanning for jihadi documents and plans through Trojan horse programs, the Los Angeles paper posited through statements of authorities, that the computer was a precise window on the soul.

Are these your documents, Sir?

"The laptops of one of the suspects in a bungled bombing [from 2006] contained plans, sketches and maps - a virtual road map to an attack that could have killed dozens," stated the newspaper. "What if law enforcement had been able to secretly scan the contents of the computer before the attack was carried out?"

The terrorists bungled their bomb-making. Nothing exploded. They were caught, making the argument a poor one.

However, the fear-monger - one who makes any manner of surveillance sound reasonable - is always waiting with the ultimate trump.

"A terrorist attack with nuclear weapons is certain," reported the Times, citing a statement by German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. "The question is no longer whether an attack could be carried out by terrorists, but when."

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bladerunner sequel might actually be good. Harrison Ford is in it
Go ahead, you're all clear, kid... Sorry, wrong film
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
Musicians sue UK.gov over 'zero pay' copyright fix
Everyone else in Europe compensates us - why can't you?
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Megaupload overlord Kim Dotcom: The US HAS RADICALISED ME!
Now my lawyers have bailed 'cos I'm 'OFFICIALLY' BROKE
Forget Hillary, HP's ex CARLY FIORINA 'wants to be next US Prez'
Former CEO has political ambitions again, according to Washington DC sources
prev story

Whitepapers

Free virtual appliance for wire data analytics
The ExtraHop Discovery Edition is a free virtual appliance will help you to discover the performance of your applications across the network, web, VDI, database, and storage tiers.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.